A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth. It works as a shield and helps restore dental shape, size, strength and improve its appearance. Crowns have long been a solution to restore the look and function of a damaged tooth.
Whenever a patient is suggested to have a dental crown, there are many questions they have regarding the dental procedure. Some common questions that patients have are:
- What is a dental crown?
- How much will a dental crown cost?
- Why is a dental crown important to dental health?
Consulting with your dentist can help you find one that matches both your dental needs and your budget. In this post, we will give you a complete overview of dental crown costs. Having knowledge when it comes to the cost of dental crowns will ensure you get the best service for your money.
Though we’ll not be able to provide exact figures without a thorough dental examination since every individual’s dental needs will differ, we will attempt to give general ranges and answer common questions about dental crown costs.
Factors That Determine the Cost of Dental Crowns
There are lots of things that determine the cost of a dental crown. Some of the most common factors are listed below.
- Level of Damage – The intensity of the tooth damage is the top factor that determines the dental crown cost. The higher the level of damage, the higher the cost of a crown. For example, if you require a dental crown after root canal therapy or you are choosing a dental crown to replace a missing tooth, the cost will be higher because your doctor will likely recommend a dental implant.
- Crown Manufacturing – Most dental offices are equipped with crown manufacturing units. Depending on the type of teeth a crown should be manufactured. Matching the texture and shade of your teeth is a difficult process. The shape, size, matching colors, and material used in crown manufacturing also determine the cost of a dental crown.
- Sedation – Sedation is another factor that determines the dental crown cost. In most cases, a patient doesn’t need sedation while installing a dental crown but for patients who have dental phobia might need it. In case you choose to take sedation, the cost adds to the overall cost of your treatment.
- Number of Crowns Needed – The more crowns you require, the higher the cost of a dental crown. A single crown for a tooth could cost you between $500 to $3,000. If you need two crowns the cost will be between $1000 to $6000 and so on.
- The Experience of a Dentist – The dentist that you opt for also greatly influences the dental crown cost. Choosing a specialist dentist will cost you a little more compared to a general dentist.
- Location of a Dental Clinic – Practice in a prime location, like city centers, can charge you more than the one in a distant location, simply because their rent costs are higher.
- New Crown vs Replacement Crown – If an existing crown is becoming loose, replacing it will cost you less compared to a patient who is placing a crown for the first time.
- Combining Crowns with Other Treatments – Most of the time, dental crowns are recommended after a restorative procedure. If you only need the crown, it won’t be expensive. However, if you’re receiving a crown after gum disease treatment, dental implants, or joint therapy, the total cost of your rehabilitation will be higher.
What is the Cost for a Dental Crown When Going to an In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Dentist?
First of all, let’s understand what in-network and out-of-network dentists are before we talk about the cost.
In-network dentists are those dentists who have contracted with the insurance company, whereas out-of-network dentists are those dentists who don’t have contracts with the insurance company.
If you opt for an in-network dentist, you get a discount, and a 50% cost will be covered by your insurance company. On the other hand, if you opt for an out-of-network dentist, you don’t get a discount but you’re liable for 30% – 50% cost taken care of by your insurance company.
It’s not the in or out networks that make the difference, it’s the insurance company you choose that makes the difference in your dental crown cost.
It’s wise to understand the facility provided by an insurance company before you choose one. But you shouldn’t make a healthcare decision based solely on cost. If you like your dentist, have good reviews, or come highly recommended, it might be worth paying for that added peace of mind.
Dental insurance may cover all or part of the cost of your crown. However, your plan may only cover certain kinds of crowns. Check with your insurance company to get coverage details.
The Breakdown of Costs for Different Crown Types
In general, the dental crown costs could range in price from $800 to $1,500 or even more depending on the material used and the size of the tooth. In this section, we break down the cost of a dental crown as per crown type.
- Porcelain Fused-to-Metal Crowns (PFM)
PFM is one of the oldest crowns that has been used for over 35 years. Though they are not as popular as they used to be, they are still in use. PFM crowns look natural and are strong, durable, and they have a very high rate of success in the long run.
The cost of a PFM crown could cost anywhere from $1,000 and $1,500 in the US. If you opt for porcelain fused-to-titanium alloys or gold alloys, it could cost more than metal alloy.
Zirconia crowns are made from zirconium dioxide, a very durable type of metal that’s related to titanium, although it’s categorized as a type of ceramic crown.
In general, the zirconia dental crown costs anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500. Please note, your geographic location can also affect the cost. Your insurance company may not cover the cost of a crown. But it’s definitely worth consulting your insurance company to find out if they cover the zirconia crown.
Gold has been used in dentistry for over 4,000 years, making it the oldest material used in the industry. A gold crown could set you back quite a bit more, perhaps between $600-$2,500 for a single tooth.
These crowns rarely chip or break. They don’t wear down easily and require minimal tooth removal to be applied. These crowns are very durable and can last for decades.
Among all the dental crowns, all-porcelain crowns are the most common ones. It’s naturally aesthetic, metal-free composition and matches your neighboring teeth in size, shape, and color. The cost could range anywhere from $800-$3,000 for a single tooth.
- E- MAX: Lithium Disilicate Crowns
The E-max crown is an all-ceramic system that is milled from a single block of lithium disilicate. This type of crown is extremely durable and highly esthetic and mainly used for restoring teeth in the anterior (front) region. E- Max dental crown cost around $1,100 – $1,600 per tooth.
Same-day CEREC crowns are also known as single sitting or one-day crowns because they can be crafted in about 2 hours. Compared to E-Max and Zirconia, CEREC crowns are less expensive. The price could range anywhere from $1000 – $1500.
All-resin crowns, also known as composite resin, are one of the cheapest dental crowns available. Though resin crowns look natural, they are not as durable as other crowns. They could undergo wear and tear with time and are vulnerable to fractures. All-resin dental crowns cost around $300.
- Partial Dental Crowns: Inlays & Onlays
Partial dental crowns only cover some surface of the tooth and full dentures cover all the teeth including the upper surface which is the roof of the tooth along with 4 walls. Partial crowns are further categorized based on the coverage of the tooth:
- Three-Quarter Crown
- Reverse 3/4th Crown
- Seven-Eighth Crown
- One-Half Crown
- Conservative Crowns
Partial metal (stainless steel) and metal-ceramic partial (stainless steel with ceramic) crowns are comparatively less expensive than porcelain or ceramic partial crowns. Ceramic inlays and Onlays could cost between $800 – $1500 and Metal inlays and Onlays cost around $700 – $1200.
- Pediatric (Children’s) Dental Crowns
Similar to other types of crowns, the pediatric dental crown cost is also greatly dependent on the material used, the tooth being fixed and of course the provider. The average cost of one pediatric dental crown ranges between $300-$500.
Stainless Steel Crowns (SSCs) are only used to restore primary (baby) teeth. And the price could range between $300-$500 per tooth.
Paying For Dental Crown With and Without Insurance
There are lots of ways by which you can drastically reduce your dental crown cost. It doesn’t always have to be the insurance company that is doing the paying. Many organizations offer discounted or free dental procedures including dental crowns.
- Insurance Friendly Dentist – One of the best ways to cut dental crown cost is to tie up with insurance-friendly dentists such as in-network dentists. Dental crowns are usually covered by insurance companies because these are necessary for maintaining good oral health such as fixing cracked or weak teeth.
- Government Programs – Each year, the government runs different programs including dental health programs. You can take advantage of such programs. Take some time to research and see if there are any upcoming government programs on dental health. Who knows, you might even get free treatment.
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) – FSA is similar to provident funds. It’s a set amount of pretax money that is taken out of your salary and set aside to be spent purely on healthcare costs. As you know, the FSA funds don’t roll over to next year, so make a wise decision by investing it on your dental crown cost by the year ends.
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA) – Health savings accounts, or HSA, has a similar feature to FSA. The only difference is HSA funds roll over to next year, but you need to have high-deductible insurance.
- Dental Schools – Dental schools are one of the best places where you can avail dental crowns and dental treatment at a cheaper rate. Every 3 to 6 months dental school runs programs that offer low-cost dental treatment. Do a little digging and see if there are any programs going on or coming up in a month or two in and around your area.
- In-House Payment Plans – If you don’t have an insurance plan, in-house payment plans can be one of the best options for you. Most dentists offer monthly payment plans so you won’t have to pay for the treatment all at once.
FAQs About Dental Crown Cost