When placing just a core alone, the dentist will apply dental restorative (meaning filling material, such as dental amalgam or bonding) to the tooth, not unlike when a regular filling is placed. As a part of the process, they may also screw minute “pins” into the tooth. When the restorative is packed around them, they help to anchor the core in place.
The goal is to place enough dental restoratives that, once the tooth has been shaped for the crown, the resulting tooth/core combination is the same size and shape that it would have been if no previous tooth structure loss had occurred.
When placing a post and core, the dentist will first use their drill to create a “post space.” This space will lie in alignment with one of the root canals that was filled during the sealing portion of the tooth’s endodontic treatment. Then, a post, specifically sized (or fabricated) to match the post space, is cemented or bonded into place.
Traditionally, dental posts have been made out of metal (stainless steel, titanium, cast metal). In today’s marketplace, a dentist may choose between metal and carbon-fiber posts.
Once the post has been secured, a dental core (see above) is placed over and around the post’s exposed end. This way the dental core is anchored both by the post and surrounding tooth structure. Completing the tooth’s reconstruction. Once the core, or post and core, has been completed, a dental crown can be fabricated and placed. We outline the steps of this process here: How dental crowns are made.