All About Cores


           A core in dentistry (technically referred to as a core build-up, crown build-up or post & core) is a procedure whereby restorative material is added to your tooth prior to crown placement to provide the bulk necessary to support the crown. Core build-ups, also called crown build-ups, are used for your vital teeth (those that have not been root canalled and still have a nerve in them) and a post & core is used when your tooth has had a root canal.



           A tooth fractured to the extent that it cannot be crowned... ...built up with a resin core so that it can be .

           Cores usually consist of some type of filling material (silver amalgam or composite resin) or sometimes a cement is used as the core material. Dr. McArdle prefers to use composite resin (often called "bonding") because of its superior handling properties and because its adhesion to your tooth can laminate it together and strengthen it. This is particularly true if your tooth suffers from a condition known as "cracked tooth syndrome" (CTS) .

           If your tooth is vital, a crown build-up is usually needed when decay, fracture or defects in large fillings render significant portions of that tooth unsuitable as the foundation for a crown. The core material added to your tooth substitutes for tooth structure lost through fracture, decay removal or the elimination of unstable fillings placed prior to crown preparation. Once the crown build-up has been completed, the core material can be shaped just like natural tooth structure to the contours necessary for crown placement.

           If your tooth has been root canalled, a post will need to be cemented into your tooth prior to core build-up. This is because during the root canal procedure (technically known as endodontics), so much tooth structure is typically lost in the process of removing decay and diseased nerve tissue that post placement is necessary to retain the core material. In many instances, when your tooth has been endodontically treated, it will have less than half of its original tooth structure left above the gum line.

           Core placement is essential to proper crown retention where your remaining tooth structure may be inadequate for appropriate preparation form. Tooth preparations that do not have sufficient mass are poor foundations for crowns. If your crown is cemented on a deficiently contoured tooth, it will tend to function improperly, be compromised esthetically and become decemented prematurely. If you have any questions about the placement of cores or the underlying principles behind these procedures, please ask Dr. McArdle.


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Dr. Barry F. McArdle, D.M.D. ~ 118 Maplewood Avenue, The Captain Moses House, Suite B-7, Portsmouth, NH 03801

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