Cost of Dental Crowns With & Without Insurance
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Table of Contents
- Dental Crowns
- Cost of Dental Crowns
- Cost Breakdown
- Are Molar Crowns More Affordable vs. Front Teeth Crowns?
- Aftercare Costs
- Cheap Crowns
- Insurance Coverage
- Consider a Dental School
The cost of a crown will depend on the material you choose, but it will likely fall within the range of $500 to $2,500 per crown. The procedure usually requires additional fees for exams, x-rays, procedural costs, and any needed prep work before the crown is put on.
If you have a medical reason for a dental crown, also known as a cap, your dental insurance should cover part of the procedure and device itself. If you want dental crowns for entirely cosmetic reasons, your insurance is not likely to cover the procedure.
If you don’t have dental insurance, you’ll need to pay for dental crowns out of pocket. Some dentists may offer a slightly discounted rate for customers who don’t have any dental insurance.
What are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown or cap is a device that covers an existing tooth or part of an existing tooth, to recreate the shape of the original tooth and keep your mouth healthy. If you need to have a root canal, have a tooth removed, or have a dental bridge put in your mouth, your dentist may use a cap to strengthen the tooth or the place where your tooth was.
There are several uses for teeth capping, which can be made from a range of materials. There are pros and cons to each type and use of dental crowns. One of the factors you and your dentist must consider is the cost.
Why Do Dental Crowns Cost so Much?
Crowns can vary greatly in price. Some common reasons a cap may be more expensive include the following:
- The general cost of living in your area
- The shape, size, and location of the tooth you need replaced
- The material used to make the crown
- The skill of the artist who makes the crown
- Other procedures you need leading up to the crown’s placement
- Your dentist’s skill and experience
Before you get a crown to replace or cover a tooth, you will typically need two separate dental visits. The first visit is the diagnosis, during which your dentist looks at the affected tooth and creates a treatment plan. They will examine the structure of your tooth to make sure it can support a crown, and they may begin shaving the tooth down so the crown can be installed.
If the tooth is severely damaged, it may need to be removed. You will then need a dental implant at a future visit, so the cap has something to attach to. The timeline of getting an implant will vary somewhat, depending on the specifics of your case.
Your dentist will take an impression of the tooth, so a crown sculptor can create the right size and shape for your mouth. Then, on your second visit, your dentist will install the crown.
Breaking Down the Cost of Dental Crowns
Ask your dentist about specific costs associated with your cap. They will be able to tell you specifics about the implant sculptor they work with, how they charge for the procedure, and what you can expect for treatment leading up to, and after, the procedure.
Estimates of dental crown cost break down based on materials. A particular option might work best for you based on cost and how the material will look cosmetically once it is implanted.
You may need to cover additional costs associated with teeth capping. For example, your dentist will need x-rays to examine your teeth and jaw, which may cost $20 to $250, depending on whether you have them at your initial consultation or not. If you need a root canal, the expense of that procedure can be as high as $2,000. Your dentist may need to build up the bone around the area where the tooth once was, which can cost $250 per tooth.
If you need to reduce your overall bill, there are some dentists that provide services on a sliding scale or offer low-cost office visits. Research local dentists, and inquire about costs and possible discounts.
This is one of the more natural and durable combinations for a crown.
Costs range from $500 to $1,500 per tooth. Without insurance, your average cost will be about $1,093. With insurance, you may pay as little as $282 or as much as $1,000.
These are now rarely used. Since metal is very durable, some dentists still recommend using all-metal crowns for customers who clench their jaws or grind their teeth frequently.
The price ranges from $600 to $2,500 per tooth without insurance, with an average cost of about $1,353. If you have dental insurance that covers the crown, you may pay between $519 and $1,140.
These require a higher level of skill to craft, but they typically look more like natural, permanent teeth than other options. Because there is not a metallic base, they do not last as long, so you will pay more to maintain this type of crown over time.
Cost ranges from $800 to $3,000, with most people paying $1,430 on average. Dental insurance coverage offsets some of the cost, but you are still likely to pay between $530 and $1,875.
Are Molar Crowns More Affordable than Front Teeth Crowns?
Again, when it comes to crowns, the most important factor in cost is the material used. Molar crowns may be considered more affordable because more people are willing to use the least expensive crowns available on these less visible teeth.
However, it’s also important to consider the additional fees that could be involved with a molar crown if there are problems like decay, infection, or tooth damage.
People are more likely to have decay in their back teeth. There are lots of grooves and “hiding spots” for decay, and people might pay less attention (or not be able to see or reach) their molars when cleaning their teeth. Procedures like root canals may be necessary in these areas.
Many people choose durable metal crowns for back teeth rather than the most expensive (and more fragile) porcelain crowns:
|Material||Average cost without insurance (per tooth, crown only, not including procedure costs)||Average cost with insurance (per tooth, crown only, not including procedure costs)|
|Metal or gold alloy crowns||$1,353||$519–$1,140|
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.
Insurance Coverage Helps a Little
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.
Many dental plans have a maximum annual coverage limit of between $1,000 and $1,500. Your insurance will typically cover about half the cost of your crown if it is medically necessary and not cosmetic. If you choose an expensive crown, the additional cost may not be covered by your insurance, and you will have to pay it out of pocket.
The average cost of a crown without insurance will range from $1,093 to $1,430. With insurance, the average out-of-pocket cost will range from $282 to $1,875.
Many dentists offer payment plans, so you don’t have to pay the full cost of dental crowns up front. Talk to your dentist about what financing options they offer patients.
Consider a Dental School for Affordable Dental Crowns
Your best bet for a cheaper crown option may be a dental school. Many dental schools offer services that include crowns.
Some may have a faculty member performing services as students watch. Others may have senior students performing the procedures under the guidance of their professor.
Depending on what you’re comfortable with, you may wish to contact dental programs in your area and inquire about their clinic services.
Treatment Recommendations for Single-Unit Crowns: Findings from The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. (November 2016). Journal of the American Dental Association.
How Much Does a Dental Crown Cost? CostHelper.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Crowns? (November 2018). Investopedia.
Cavities/Tooth Decay. Mayo Clinic.
Crowns and Extra-Coronal Restorations: Materials Selection. (February 2002). British Dental Journal.