Covering up a root canal treatment, a missing filling, or a cracked tooth can be surprisingly expensive. Dental crowns cost $1,300 on average. And that excludes additional procedures you might be required to pay for out-of-pocket.
So what drives the cost so high and when can you expect insurance to help out?Creative Commons
Dental crown cost
The cost of a dental crown depends first and foremost on the materials it is made from.
|Dental crown type||Average cost||Cost range|
|All-ceramic or zirconia||$1,300||$1,000-$2,500|
|Porcelain fused to metal||$1,100||$800-$2,400|
Have a look at the calculator below. Change things around. An estimate will appear, giving you an idea how much you might pay.
All-ceramic or zirconia dental crowns
A porcelain crown (aka all-ceramic) costs $1,300 on average, and the prices range from $1,000 up to $2,500.
Nowadays it is the most popular type. Despite being the most expensive, this material is less durable than metal crowns.
Zirconia crowns combine the strength of metal crowns and the appearance of porcelain. A highly translucent type of zirconia is gaining in popularity recently.
Dr. Henry Hackney
There are two main factors in determining the price of crowns: the material used and the tooth position. If the tooth you want to crown is in the front, you should expect to pay a higher price.
These types of crowns will not stand out or attract attention. They provide the most aesthetically pleasing look; almost exactly like a natural tooth (sometimes better, whiter!).
Those with metal allergies can also consider this type, however, due to their strength, they tend to wear down the teeth they bite down on.
Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns (PFM)
The cheapest PFM crowns across the US cost $800, while the most expensive ones go up to $2,400. This gives an average of $1,100.
This type can be less expensive than an all-porcelain crown, but it does have its drawbacks. The biggest issue is that sometimes the barrier in the form of a gray line between the tooth and gum is visible.
It is prone to chipping and damaging your natural teeth, especially if you habitually clench. The shape, size, and color of the surrounding teeth can be mimicked for aesthetic purposes, but the crown cannot be completed in one visit.
Due to the metal structure, these crowns are among the strongest and most durable. Porcelain covers the top portion, and that makes them blend in with natural teeth.
All-metal crowns cost $1,300 on average. The prices range from $900 to $2,500 across the US.
This type is the strongest and most durable, but not very aesthetically pleasing. The shape and size of the surrounding teeth can be mimicked. They are usually used for posterior restorations.
The biggest downside is that they can cause allergic reactions. No crown is pure gold, as that metal is too soft by itself. The actual amount of gold in the crown can range from 20% to 77%.
This type of crown also cannot be completed in one visit.
The average price for a provisional crown is $450 across the US. You may come across quotes as low as $200, but not higher than $700.
A provisional crown is made outside the mouth. It is not permanently attached to the tooth which allows for removing it later, when the proper crown is complete.
It is made from temporary materials and is not meant for long-term use. The period for wearing that is recommended by dental professionals is a few months to a year at most.
Provisional crowns are often included in the cost of the crown that will be installed eventually. This is a necessary step in crowns made over periods longer than a day.
Some of the procedures below might be required.
|Procedure||Average cost||Cost range|
|Cone beam CT||$330||$150-$750|
|Post and core||$350||$250-$650|
Your dentist will inform you which of them are necessary.
You will usually have a reason for getting a tooth cap, whether it be root canal treatment or a large filling that has fallen out. During the dental exam, the dentist will address the existing issues in your mouth and determine whether you are a good candidate for a crown.
You will discuss the materials that will be used. It is worth weighing all options to make sure you are getting the type of crown you want.
Every step of the procedure will be made clear and the costs of the crown and additional treatments should be quoted at this time. The costs for a dental exam start at $50.
The total bill for a crown placement can include the cost of an X-ray. The dental professional might need to see the whole tooth, from the very top to the very root. It could be beneficial to have a look at the spaces between the teeth as well.
The most common types of radiographs needed for this procedure are a periapical and a bitewing. You can learn more about them in our article about dental X-rays.
A diagnostic cast is a guide for the dental professional. It can mimic the movement of your jaw to help visualize how the teeth work together. It is sometimes referred to as a study model.
You will have to bite down on a depressor for a few minutes to relax your jaw. It will be moved to a central position. A silicone or wax mold will be made and then turned into a cast of dental stone at the lab.
If too much of the top portion of your tooth (the coronal structure) has worn down or been otherwise lost, you may need core buildup. It is necessary for holding up the crown.
The dental professional will add resin materials to the remainder of your tooth to make it big enough to support the tooth cap.
Post and core
This procedure is not recommended for teeth with short roots. If the roots are long enough and there is a need for a core buildup this procedure might be the right choice.
A prefabricated post is inserted into a root canal and supported by cement. It will protrude from the tooth and a crown can be placed on top.
A post can only be installed in teeth that have had a root canal treatment.
This is a temporary solution protecting the tooth for later restoration. A filling is bonded directly to the tooth. It will prevent further deterioration and can relieve pain as well as promote healing.
Does insurance cover dental crown costs?
If the crown is medically necessary, and not just a cosmetic treatment, then around 50% can probably be covered by insurance. Make sure to check with your provider.
Sometimes getting a crown is not yet needed but still performed as a preventative treatment. This could also be (in part) covered by insurance. Those instances include covering a root canal or repairing a broken tooth.
Have a look at this table comparing three popular insurance plans:
|Features||Dental Blue for Individuals: Core Plan||Cigna Dental 1000||Renaissance Dental: MAX Choice Plus Plan|
|Fee per person per month||$35.95 (if you’re under 65)||$30 or more||$89.49|
|Crown placement||50% (50% coinsurance)||50% (50% coinsurance)||20% (80% coinsurance)**|
|Waiting period||12 months||12 months*||No waiting period|
*If you’ve not had dental insurance for the past 12 consecutive months. Waiting periods are waived at Cigna if you’ve had valid dental insurance for a year.
** First year.
Please note that a waiting period is common; around six months to a year after the policy is active is the norm. If you don’t feel like insurance is the right pick for you, you can find some other options down below.
How to save money on dental crowns?
If you need a crown placed quickly your best bet might be a dental plan. There is no waiting period, no paperwork, and there are no yearly limits. Discount plans work sort of like memberships, there is a regular fee (monthly, quarterly, or annual) and all dental procedures are reduced.
A dental school might also be a good option. The procedure will be cheaper but longer, as each step has to be graded. A licensed dental professional will, of course, oversee the whole thing, so you don’t need to worry about the students’ expertise.
Dental tourism is another idea. Prices of care are highly dependant on the location. If you can’t find a good deal in your area, you might consider traveling. You must remember about the costs associated with that, of course, like flights and accommodation. This option comes with a bit of a risk, though, as you will have no legal recourse if the crown falls off or breaks. You will have to return to the place where you’ve had it done.
What is your experience?
Dental crowns have been popular for a while now. They can be a great way to cover up other treatments, but also work beautifully as a cosmetic procedure. Bringing back a Hollywood smile, or perhaps getting it for the first time, can turn out to be very pricey.
Let us know if you ever had a crown placed. Was it cosmetic or related to another procedure? Did insurance cover the cost?