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Cost Summary of Dental Crowns
The prices for dental crowns range from $500 to $2,500 per crown and are dependent upon the materials used, location of tooth and geographic location. The average cost of a crown is $825, with or without dental insurance coverage. The cheapest cost of a dental crown is $500 for a simple metal crown.
Dental crowns are specifically shaped shells that fit over damaged or broken teeth for either cosmetic or structural purposes. Crowns come in various forms, from basic gold crowns to all porcelain. Regardless of the reason, crowns can extend the life of natural teeth and improve both one’s smile and quality of life.
Dental crowns, or caps as they used to be called, not only provide cosmetic benefits in the case of yellowed or chipped teeth, but they also can be used to improve bite function of the mouth and decrease the effects of TMJ (temporal mandibular joint syndrome). Given that every mouth is unique, each crown must be custom made to match the color and bite pattern of the surround teeth.
Generally, it takes two office visits to create and place a crown. During the first visit, which takes about an hour, the tooth is prepared. The dentist will remove any damaged or decayed areas of the tooth and some healthy sections so the crown can be placed. Then a mold of the tooth is made and sent to a dental laboratory to be custom made. The dentist then places a temporary crown made of stainless steel or an acrylic material over the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is ready for placement.
While the temporary crown is in place, patients must avoid sticky or chewy foods such as gum and caramel as well as hard, crunchy foods like hard candies or raw vegetables. These types of foods can cause the temporary crown to either dislodge or break. Care must also be taken while flossing since a downward motion must be used rather than a side to side to avoid moving the crown.
Once the permanent crown is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary one and place the new crown on the existing tooth using a strong dental adhesive. Any rough spots that affect the bite or cause mouth irritation will be smoothed down. Patients must continue to avoid sticky foods even with a permanent crown and continue to floss from front to back, rather than up and down. With proper care, crowns can last 8 to 10 years or longer.
Costs with and without Insurance
Most dental insurance plans will cover a portion crown’s cost. Typically they have an annual limit of $1,000 to $1,500 annually. If more than one crown is needed, many people will schedule one for late in the plan year, and then have another put on early the next plan year to minimize time between procedures while maximizing their benefits. Insurance generally covers crowns at 50%.
- Metal crowns made of gold alloy or of base-metal alloys and generally cost $600 to $2,500 per tooth depending on the metal and the size of the tooth. People with insurance typically paid $520 – $1,140 out of pocket with an average of $882 per crown. Those without insurance generally paid between $830 and $2,465 per crown with an average cost of $1,350.
- Porcelain-fused–to-metal crowns are the most popular type of crown. Costs run from $500 to $1,500 or more per tooth. Patients with insurance generally had copays of $280 to $1,000 per crown with an average payment of $620. Those without coverage paid $875 to $1,400 per tooth with an average cost of nearly $1,100.
- All-porcelain crowns are the most delicate, most lifelike and most expensive and the cost reflects this. These types of crowns cost from $800 to over $3,000. Insurance copays for all-porcelain crowns range from $530 – $1,875, with an average out of pocket cost of $950 per crown. Those without insurance are generally charged $860 to $3,000 per crown with an average cost of $1,425.
Dental Implant Crown Costs
One alternative to false teeth or bridges is to undergo reconstruction with dental implants. These are also used in the event there is not enough of the natural tooth to place a standard crown. In this case, the tooth is removed and a small screw-like cylinder is implanted directly into the jaw bone under general anesthesia. The surgeon can either stitch over the screw to allow the area to heal or immediately place a crown over the post to give the appearance of a natural tooth.
Because of the surgery involved, implant crowns are considerably more expensive. However, they can last a lifetime since they are permanently anchored into the jaw. Generally the cost for the implant alone is $1,000 to $3,000 given the location of the implant. The crown costs an additional $500 to $3,000, again dependent on the size and type of crown placed. The average cost for a single implant crown is $4,250.
Gold Crown Costs
Gold, or high-noble metal, crowns are generally used for molars although some individuals like the appearance of gold on visible teeth. Gold crowns are durable and require less of the natural tooth to be removed than other types of crowns. They are less expensive than all-porcelain crowns, but more than the porcelain-over-metal crowns. The average cost of a gold crown is $900, but the prices vary if the patient has insurance.
In summary, dental crowns are an alternative to false teeth or bridges and can improve both the appearance of the smile as well as improving a patient’s bite and overall mouth health.