Dental crown costs: factors that contribute to the costs

Dental crowns have long been a solution to restore the look and function of a damaged tooth. These tooth-shaped caps help restore your teeth and improve your smile.

When your dentist suggests you need a dental crown, two questions may come up to your mind: What type of dental crown is best for me?  And, what is the cost of it?

This brief guide will help you understand the different types of dental crowns and cost.

But First, Do You Really Need a Crown?

Before looking into the different types of dental crowns and cost, how can you know for sure if you need a crown, an inlay, an onlay, or just a filling?

Well, after a thorough examination during your first office visit, your dentist will evaluate your particular case, and guide you on possible treatments.  Generally, some of the most common causes of getting a dental crown are:

  • A weakened tooth after severe decay or cavity
  • To cover an implant
  • To replace a large filling
  • A natural tooth that is damaged or cracked
  • A tooth that has undergone a root canal (especially posterior teeth)
  • To align your bite
  • For aesthetics purposes: to achieve a more beautiful smile by leveling the size, shape, and color of your teeth.

Factors affecting the costs of dental crown

In most cases, if you need a custom-made crown, be ready to visit your dentist a couple of times. It is not something a dentist can do in only one appointment and the costs will increase because of the number of the visits to the dentist you need. Other than the number of visits to the dentist you need for dental crowns there are other factors affecting and contributing to the costs of dental crowns.

The type of the crown

The type of the crown

You have an option to choose from several types of crowns. Full ceramic, resin, porcelain fused to metal, and full metallic: stainless steel / a combination of alloys are a few of those. The price of your dental crown varies based on the option you choose.

  • Resin Crown: A resin crown is one of the cheaper types of dental crowns. It looks like your tooth but may wear out easily.
  • Full ceramic crown: A full ceramic crown is tooth-colored and is great for the anterior/front teeth. A full ceramic crown made of zirconia will last really long but they are the higher end price of ceramic crown. However, it may wear out the opposing tooth as it’s a strong material.
  • Full metal crowns: As the name suggests full metal crowns are metallic and they are very strong and durable. They are great for posterior/back teeth, which exert chewing forces. Your doctor may cement that over your prepared tooth while waiting for a crown from the lab. The waiting period can be between a few days and a few weeks. These stainless-steel crowns are durable and protect your tooth till the final crown is ready. These crowns are not recommended for long term use. A metal crown made of alloys are cheaper than ceramic crown but they aren’t as esthetically pleasing as ceramic ones. If you want a combination of alloys, the price varies accordingly.
  • Gold crowns: While esthetically not pleasing, many dentists like gold crowns. Gold is a great material, gold crowns are long-lasting and require only a small amount of your tooth to be removed before fitting. Even though gold crowns are expensive, they still might be a good choice for molar teeth.
  • Porcelain fused to metal: Porcelain fused to metal crowns or PFM crowns have a metal base and porcelain on top of it. They are stronger than full ceramic crowns and bond better with your tooth. However, they look slightly opaque compared to full ceramic crowns. Depending on the quality, the costs of PFM vary greatly.
  • Same-day crowns: Same day CEREC crowns are more affordable than lab-made ceramic crowns. If your dentist offers same-day crowns, this is definitely an option to consider.

Full metallic crowns and crowns made of pure zirconia are the ideal choices, as they last longer.

If you opt for an economical crown you may feel that you are saving money, but you may need a replacement sooner.

Though a crown lasts for 5-15 years on average, full metallic and ceramic crowns may need fewer to no replacements.

The treatments which are done before placing a dental crown

The treatments which are done before placing a dental crown

You may need several dental procedures before placing a dental crown. It may include root canal treatment, implants, restoration/ fillings, scaling / tooth cleaning procedures, and consultation charges.

Restorations are fillings. You need them after your doctor cleans your decayed tooth. Few complex restorations need a crown to sustain.

Root canal treatment is a procedure wherein your doctor thoroughly cleans your tooth from within. The dentist removes the pain causing vital tissue. A root canal treated tooth needs to be covered with a dental crown to prevent the fracture of tooth.

An implant is like your tooth root. It is made of titanium or zirconia. A crown is placed on the implant to make the tooth restoration complete. If multiple teeth are missing, implants can support bridges or dentures.

Your doctor may charge:

  • for the consultation
  • for X-rays
  • for RCT of each tooth
  • for each implant

Aftercare Costs

Aftercare Costs

Generally, there won’t be aftercare costs associated with dental crown placement. Most often, aftercare consists of the following:

  • Wait at least one hour to eat following the procedure.
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods for a few days.
  • Maintain normal dental hygiene habits, such as regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.

If you experience severe pain following the procedure, contact your dentist immediately. They may have you come in for a follow-up visit to confirm that everything looks as it should. In most instances, the cost of this visit will be included in the overall price of the procedure.

Why ‘cheap’ crowns aren’t worth it?

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to dental crowns.

Most professional dentists will use porcelain-infused metal crowns, metal or gold alloy crowns, or all-porcelain crowns. These are all durable materials that are commonly used. Metal crowns will give you the cheapest option, but they might not look as good as porcelain crowns.

If a dentist is offering an incredibly low price for a crown, inquire about the material used. It isn’t worth it to choose cheap alloys, which can bend easily, cast poorly, or corrode early.


Does insurance cover the costs of dental crown?

If you need to have a tooth reconstructed with a crown, you may assume that your dental insurance will cover at least part of the teeth capping cost. This may not necessarily be true. Basic dental insurance covers annual cleanings, x-rays, and fillings. It may not cover much else except emergency dental procedures, and cosmetic dentistry is definitely not covered.

Usually, dental insurance covers 50% of the price of your dental crown. However, insurance companies often have a cap of $1,000 to $1,500 per year.

What Materials Are Used in Dental Crowns?

There are different types materials used in dental crowns. The most commonly used materials are porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, gold and the new material called zirconium. They all vary in price and serve different purposes and budgets.

What Are the Most Common Dental Crown Problems?

A dental crown is a long term restoration that provides a solution for many dental problems such as tooth decay, broken teeth, sensitivity, infections, etc. Once you get the dental crown, you should take good care of it and have it checked regularly to avoid problems such as getting cavities underneath the crown, having your crown chipped or broken, or feeling strong discomfort in that area. If you have these issues or any allergic reaction, you should book an appointment with your dentist immediately.