Crowns are widely used, versatile dental restorations. Most people will get at least one crown during their lifetime. But how much can you expect to pay? Do dental crowns deliver the desired results? And are they worth the expense?
Keep reading to learn more about dental crowns.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" placed over a tooth—encasing the tooth to restore its strength, shape, and size and improve its appearance.
Crowns are frequently used to restore the function and appearance of a tooth following restorative procedures such as root canal therapy. When dental decay has progressed to the point that significant portions of a tooth must be removed, crowns are frequently used to reconstruct the tooth.
Crowns can be used when an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated, to attach bridges, cover implants, or prevent a cracked tooth from worsening. When applied over a discolored or stained tooth, crowns can also serve a wholly aesthetic purpose.
Why might I need a crown?
Your dentist may recommend a crown in the following situations:
- When a large cavity threatens the health of the tooth
- To prevent a weak tooth from breaking or to hold cracked tooth fragments together
- To restore a tooth that has already been broken or significantly worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when little tooth material remains
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant or as part of a dental implant
How much does a dental crown typically cost?
The cost of a dental crown will vary depending on the type of crown chosen, the tooth being treated, and the dentist you choose to perform the treatment.
The average cost is $600–$1,500, depending on the lab and materials used.
The out-of-pocket costs depend on your insurance coverage and your dentist's pricing policies. Dental practices may charge a flat rate that includes the materials, laboratory fees, and installation. Alternatively, they may itemize their fees for services such as tooth preparation ($50-$300), impressions ($50-$150), a temporary crown ($50-$200), and final crown installation ($250-$1,200).
In general, porcelain crowns will cost more than other crowns because they require more time and skill to fabricate. Crowns for molars, which require more material and time, will cost more than crowns for front teeth.
Ceramic or Porcelain Crowns: $800-$2,000
Because they’re made from materials that retain the look of your natural teeth, ceramic and porcelain crowns are often used for teeth that are visible when smiling.
Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns: $600-$1,500
These crowns are known for their durability, strength, and ability to provide a natural-looking restoration.
Gold Alloy or Base Metal Alloy Crowns: $600-$1,500
Gold or base metal alloy crowns may be used when optimum strength is required, especially for patients who grind their teeth at night. These materials are strong, corrosion-resistant, and often used when there’s less existing tooth structure to support the crown restoration.
Does insurance cover dental crowns?
Crowns are typically covered by insurance. However, if the crown is being placed for cosmetic reasons only, it may not be covered. The details depend on your plan, so you should check with your insurance provider.
If your insurance covers crowns, they’ll likely cost anywhere between $600 and $2,000. This figure will vary based on the material used and whether you need a root canal performed beforehand.
If your insurance doesn't cover crowns or if you don't have dental insurance, other payment options may be available. Some dentists offer discounts to uninsured patients, or payment plans may be available. Other practices may work with third-party financing companies that provide competitive or interest-free rates.
Regardless of how you pay for it, a dental crown is a significant investment in your oral health. While the up-front cost may be high, a crown can last up to fifteen years and eliminate the need for more expensive procedures later.
Is the cost of a dental crown worth it?
Don’t let the cost alone deter you from getting the dental work your smile needs. These are three reasons why the cost of a dental crown is well worth it:
- Crowns protect against further damage by covering cracked or broken teeth and preventing them from cracking further.
- Crowns help maintain overall oral health.
- Crowns help strengthen teeth and keep them intact and healthy.
With proper care, a dental crown can last 10 to 15 years. Good care includes brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once daily, and having regular dental checkups to monitor the crown's condition.
Learn More About Dental Crowns
Is a dental crown the right choice for you? Our dental professionals will help select the type of crown best suited to your particular needs.