Dental Crown Cost, Types and Procedure

Cracked or broken teeth can cause functional and cosmetic problems, and one option for repairing this damage is a crown. Crowns can restore a tooth’s size, shape and strength, improve the appearance of a smile, relieve pain, prevent further damage and increase functionality by providing proper bite alignment.

In This Guide

Average Crown Cost by Type

Cost of a Dental Crown   
TypeRangeWith InsuranceNo Insurance
Porcelain Fused to Metal$500 to $1500$650$1100
Metal (Noble or High Noble)$750 to $2400$900$1400
All Porcelain$1000 to $3000$1000$1600
  • Porcelain fused to metal crowns cost an average of $500 to $1500 per tooth, averaging $1100 without insurance and $650 with.
  • Metal (noble or high noble) crowns cost between $750 to $2400, averaging $1400 without insurance and $900 with.
  • At the higher end, all-porcelain crowns cost between $1000 to $3000, averaging $1600 without insurance and $1000 with due to the greater time and skill required to install them.

Dental insurance can cover up to 50% of the cost if it is required for medical reasons. Cosmetic procedures are typically not covered.

Factors That Affect the Cost

The fees involved for the procedure depend on several factors, including:

  • Local rates (geographic location)
  • Type/material and company that fabricated it
  • Experience and training of the dentist
  • Size, location and condition of the original tooth
  • Need for additional procedures such as root canals, bone grafts or implant screws
  • Dental insurance coverage and co-pays
  • Any additional fees such as X-rays or specialist consultations

What is a Crown?

crown illustrationA crown (“cap”) is a tooth-shaped dental restoration that is used for capping or completely encasing a single damaged tooth or dental implant. Also called “dental caps” and “porcelain jackets”, they can be made from a variety of materials and are permanently bonded to their foundation with dental cement, avoiding the need for tooth extraction, bridges, partials or dentures. They cannot be used for full-mouth restoration.

Why are Teeth Capped?

They are commonly used to:

  • Protect a tooth that is weak from wear and tear and/or decay from further damage
  • Hold a fractured or broken tooth together
  • Cover a large filling that involves half of the tooth or more
  • Support a dental bridge
  • Restore a tooth after a root canal procedure to prevent fracturing
  • Hide severely discolored or misshapen teeth when veneers cannot
  • Cap off and complete a dental implant procedure
  • Relieve the pain experienced as a result of cracked tooth syndrome

Types and Benefits

The types available are differentiated by the materials used to make them, each with its own purposes and benefits.

Stainless Steel
Stainless SteelThis type of crown is generally used as a temporary solution, most often in pediatric dentistry. Because primary teeth (baby teeth) are necessary for the positioning of permanent teeth, stainless steel ones are used to protect them from further decay until they fall out naturally.

Metal
Commonly a gold alloy, palladium, or other base-metal alloy such as chromium or nickel, metal crowns are typically used for back molars as individuals want their metallic color to be out-of-sight. They have thinner walls, so they require less tooth reshaping and removal prior to fitting. They stand up better to chewing, rarely chip, last the longest and cause very little damage to opposing teeth.

Porcelain Fused to Metal
Porcelain Fused to MetalConsisting of a metal shell with a heat-fused porcelain exterior, these crowns are used for both front and back teeth since they can be color-matched and appear more natural. They are more susceptible to chipping and can cause stress or damage to opposing teeth. Sometimes the metal underneath the porcelain can be seen as a dark line near the bottom edge of the crown. If the gum recedes, it can become even more noticeable at the gum line.

All-Ceramic
All CeramicMade from a number of natural materials including types of feldspar and zirconia, all-ceramic crowns look the most lifelike as they provide a closer color match. They are also biocompatible, making them an option for those who are allergic to metal. Similar to porcelain, they are less durable and can crack or chip.

All-Resin
These are made from composite resin, most commonly acrylic polymers mixed with silicon dioxide. They are the most affordable option. The acrylics used can be color-matched to natural teeth, but they are less durable and more susceptible to fractures.

The Procedure

First Visit – Consultation
During the first visit, a dentist will examine the tooth and its root to determine whether or not a crown is a suitable method of restoration and if additional procedures will be required to make it a success. For example, a tooth with a compromised root can cause an infection or injure the tooth’s pulp, in which case a root canal might be necessary. The examination may involve analyzing X-rays and impressions of the patient’s bite. Depending on the severity or nature of the situation, the dentist may refer the patient to a specialist such as a periodontist, oral surgeon or orthodontist for further examination. Once it has been decided that capping a tooth is the best option, the dentist will proceed with preparation.

Procedure

Preparation
The procedure begins by numbing the tooth with local anesthesia, followed by preparing the tooth so that it can support the crown. This includes reshaping the tooth by either filing down the enamel or applying a filling to build it up if it is too damaged or decayed. The amount removed or added depends on the type that will be used. A dental impression is taken and sent to a lab that uses it to design and manufacture it. An impression of the surrounding teeth is also taken to ensure that it perfectly integrates with your bite. A temporary crown made of acrylic is placed to protect the tooth until you return. It typically takes 2-3 weeks for it to be fabricated.

Dental Impression

Temporary Care
Between visits it is important to take care of the temporary cap in order to protect the prep work performed underneath it. The design of the permanent crown is based on the size, shape and condition of the tooth before the temporary crown is placed, so it is important to take a few precautions. This includes avoiding sticky, chewy or hard foods that may dislodge the temporary crown, pulling floss out rather than up during cleaning to avoid pulling the crown off and chewing on the opposite side of the mouth.

Second Visit
During the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary cap and a local anesthetic may or may not be administered. After removal, the dentist will check the fit and color before permanently cementing it in place. This is done with precision, as any gaps between the crown and the tooth can allow bacteria to grow, causing further decay and increasing the likelihood of a fracture.

The process may take more than 2 visits or require longer sessions if your situation requires special procedures such as a root canal, orthodontic treatment or gum treatment.

Recovery and Post-Procedure Care

After the procedure, patients may experience some sensitivity to hot and cold. This can be alleviated by brushing with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If you experience pain or discomfort when biting down, it may not be aligned properly and another trip to the dentist is necessary. Unfortunately, crowned teeth are not decay-proof. They susceptible to fracture and gum disease just like any other tooth. Proper and consistent dental care is the best way to maintain the crown, including brushing, flossing and a healthy diet. They usually last between 5 and 15 years. The primary factors that affect how long they last are your oral hygiene and any mouth-related habits including clenching/grinding, biting fingernails and chewing ice.

Potential Problems

After the procedure, a number of problems can occur that require returning to the dentist for repairs or replacement restorations. Crowns can chip, become loose and even fall off. Usually seen in all-porcelain crowns, chipping can be repaired with composite resin. A replacement may be necessary if the damage is extensive. A crown can become loose or detach due to improper placement, a lack of cement or cement washing out from under it. These issues can usually be fixed by re-cementing it in place. If not, a new crown will be made. If the problem is ignored for too long, the underlying tooth may experience further damage, in which case the procedure must be redone.

They can take some getting used to, but crowns eventually look, feel and function just like normal teeth. If you have any concerns or questions after the procedure, contact your dentist.

References

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Over to You

Have you had a tooth crowned? Has your dentist recommended you get one? Share your experience by leaving a comment!

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16 thoughts on “Dental Crown Cost, Types and Procedure

  1. Am I getting a fair deal with my dentists? For $3481 I received full mouth x-rays, scaling for 4 quadrants, 2 rear teeth needing crowns, because of cavities, plus 1 more cavity in another tooth that was filled. I asked about implants instead, but they didn’t want to do an estimate for that. Later, the permanent crowns came in, but didn’t fit, I had a different dentist this time & everything was redone & crowns were sent back. My second pair of temporaries fell out, so I had to go back & get that redone. This time one of the temporaries is metal & I haven’t been feeling well since then. I’m waiting for my second pair of crowns to come in, which should be this week sometime 2/23 to 2/27/15. My share of the cost is $1681, Ins is $1800. I had checked out 4 other dentists before coming to this one. I guess with all dentists you have to sign up to see what you’re going to get. I’ve chosen the wrong one. One of the other 4 seems like a good candidate, so after I get my permanent crowns, I hope I can take my x-rays there.

    • Barry, It seems like a good deal to me. I got on this website by asking about if my dentist was or was not ripping me. I’m getting about the same amount done and it is total 2500. My insurance is picking up 600., so it’s kind of a weak policy, but it’s cheap. My co-pay is 1900. so it seems as though you might want to shop around. Or does anyone know of a better deal? I think one must also consider how good is your doctor/dentist. Is he/her gentle, kind, good attitude, good with sharp objects and how good is his hygienist/assistant ? I wouldn’t be surprised if there are dentists out there making 10 times those amounts because of their skills and personality…or, they are just professional scammers who just happen to have learned dentistry along the way. With my suspicious mind, I kind of look at all professions as potentially dishonest…that goes for doctors, dentists and especially lawyers, politicians and car salesmen. It just depends on the character of the professional and his allegiances. I’m glad you commented Barry, I learned a lot from your observations.

  2. My 15 month old had to get crowns over his front two teeth because of decay. When it was done, the caps are huge! It makes him look like he has false teeth! I am very upset!!! Did I make a mistake by letting them do this? Can It be changed to look more natural?

    • a 15 month old? are those not just milk teeth? should you not have waited for the second permanent set to come in?

  3. Barry: yes, that’s a very good price. I hope you chose all-ceramic crowns which contain no metal, are more natural-looking, and cost only $25-35 more than the metal-fused crowns. I hope you’re happy with the work performed by the 2nd dentist. Take it from me, you don’t want to select a dentist based on the lowest quoted price. (My history includes 30 years of dental issues. Finally had full mouth reconstruction with ceramic crowns 6 months ago. Including a couple of root canals, I paid $26k. I carefully researched my dentist and am extremely happy with the results)

  4. Tamika, I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard of such a young child having crowns. I’m guessing the decay was so bad, he required them in order to eat properly and to hold place while the teeth around those develop. Unless you have $1500 or more for new crowns, he’ll probably have to live with them a few years. Eventually, he’ll grow into them or they will require replacement. The important thing is that he received the dental care he needed. Your job as a responsible Mom is to help him avoid further problems by not allowing him sugary drinks or sweets, and to get him off the bottle if he isn’t already. Hang in there!

  5. I’m gonna get crowns for my front tooth that is discolored. Is it possible that they might get a different color?

  6. I got an upper back tooth cap/crown replacement for about $80 and I was quoted an upper front cap/crown for about $300. I have two dental insurances (myself and spouse). I wonder why there is such a price difference?

    • Go on eBay/ Amazon they have the same teeth purchase after you get your size and have your dentist input it. It’s cheaper and some office send out the order for someone else to make it. Dental cost in the U.S.A is outrageous , also look on YouTube you will lean a lot. I’m not a dentest but after I lost my insurance and needed them I said I can’t believe I’ve paid this over the years, you don’t think sometime when you have insurance. I just let them swipe my card pay my portion but now I look and they/ Dentist make a fortune. Good luck

  7. Quick question. If a crown is needed in the back of the mouth, top, not very visible, is it better to go with a high end alloy (white gold)? Research says these last much longer, less wear on surrounding teeth. As its in a rear location cosmetics not important. Are have ceramics reached a quality and durability to match?

  8. I need to have to have a re-alignment done on upper implant device. I am not sure how to phrase a different way. What the should the average cost for this procedure be. It would take about 2 hours to get it to the lab and have it done. I have a quote for $950.00, which I think is too high. Anyone know how much this costs?

  9. I had lower cracked half tooth filled with pin holding filling in to repair tooth still pain over a year hot cold bite now temp crown made on tooth still pain 900.00 i payed 500.00 down i just want tooth out put parchel tooth in both bottom teeth one pulled can’t bite food eather side now no tooth to use do not want root canal not much tooth left pain too much

  10. About to undertake $35,000 restoration job. It will be 18 crowns, porcelain/ceramic
    and two veneers and a bridge etc etc. I did a long two day consultation and this seems
    like the right thing. It comes to crowns for 1500 with 200 more for the temporary. so
    really, crowns for 1700. My teeth are crooked and have had a lot of work in different
    colors. I am 67. I think this is the right thing to do, the whole mouth, save for four bottom
    front teeth which are okay. But $35,ooo. I do hope I haven’t lost my mind. I hope this new mouth will last as long as I do.
    Anyone have any comments to make? I start work in 3 weeks.

  11. There is possibly slight error in the types of crowns listed here based on what I’ve read at other places. My dentist recommended a zirconia crown. It is a white metal and is currently the strongest available material. Some people do consider it more ceramic than metal, but it is not weak and liable to chip like other ceramics.

  12. I decided to only do the top teeth,(see previous post – 2/23/16), for “only” $19,000. The first day of the procedures, dentist was putting in temporary teeth, some thin translucent stuff I was to wear a couple months to see how I liked the fit. After “gluing” it in, he asked me to bite together. The teeth were not aligned. Dentist said “I set it wrong”. You what? Then he repeated this statement,
    “I set it wrong.” He proceded to remove it, with chiseling, drilling, and prying, with me in great discomfort. When I could talk, I said “You set it wrong?” Then I said how many times do you have to try to get it right?
    I was not happy. First procedure, and he does it “wrong”? He did not say “It did not set right.” He said, three times, “I set it wrong.”
    WTF.
    This showed me my discomfort with the whole plan and dentist.
    I decided to leave.
    I have gone back to my old dentist.
    Think twice about cosmetic dentistry.

  13. Nowadays, a lot of people in the USA fly elsewhere for what is increasingly popular, known as dental tourism. Thailand, India, Mexico are just some of the places you can go, where you can save massive amounts of money on great dental care.

    I had one tooth crack, and now need one crown. For a little while, before I went to the dentist, I was worried I’d need a lot done. If I did, I’d already be reserving flights to Cancun, where they have a few great dental offices that are known for dental tourism with incredibly good rates, a location near the major tourist hotels, dentists that all speak fluent English, filtered water in their plumbing systems for Americans, etc. You can fly to Cancun, stay in a great hotel, enjoy a holiday (when you’re not recovering from dental office time), and still save boatloads of money on dental work.

    Fortunately, I only need one crown, so I’ll get it done near home. For me the break-even would have been around 2 to 3 crowns. And if the price is the same, hell, I’m goin’ to Cancun!

    If I needed an entire mouth’s worth… I’d probably fly to Goa, India (a beach town) and get it all done there for ~15-20c on the dollar.

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