What is the typical cost of a dental crown?
A big difficulty with estimating dental fees even within immediate geographical areas is that the fees charged by dentists can vary significantly.
When comparing the cost of dental crowns, two things must be precisely established:
What type of crown is being referred to: the fees for different types of crowns (gold, all ceramics, etc.) typically vary substantially.
What is the geographic area the procedure is performed: the cost of a dental treatment can greatly vary depending on the country where the procedure is performed and even areas of the same country may show dissimilar prices.
Many factors can further influence the cost of a dental crown. To get a precise estimate it is best to ask your dentist.
Types of dental crowns and price considerations
Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crown
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can be fabricated using a number of different dental alloys. Based on their composition, these metal alloys are categorized as being noble alloys (gold, palladium) or base metal alloys (titanium, nickel, chromium etc.).
In general, dental alloys having higher noble metal content offer advantages during the fabrication and crown-seating process and for this reason are preferred. They also have a better prognosis and usually a longer lifespan.
Porcelain fused to gold and titanium crowns are more expensive. Therefore, reasons not to choose them are typically based only on their cost.
All ceramic crown
All ceramic crowns are made entirely of porcelain without any metal frame. Because they are metal-free, all ceramic crowns are usually indicated in the front part of the mouth cavity (incisors especially) where aesthetic demands are very high.
All ceramic crowns require a sophisticated technology and special ceramics (that are extremely expensive) and for these reasons, they are normally more expensive than any type of porcelain fused to metal crowns.
full porcelain crown
full porcelain crowns
on both upper incisors
Zirconium or zirconia is a very hard ceramic that is used as a strong base material in porcelain restorations. When aesthetic demands are high, the zirconia core structure is layered with aesthetic porcelain to create the final color and shape of the tooth.
porcelain fused to zirconium bridge
Zirconium is an expensive material. Moreover, zirconium is processed with computerized systems (CAD/CAM systems) which themselves are very expensive to acquire.
Zirconium crowns and porcelain fused to zirconium crowns are excellent solutions. They have great strength and durability and superior aesthetics, as they are metal-free.
Zirconia restorations are still quite expensive. Usually, a zirconia crown is more expensive than a porcelain-fused-to gold (or titanium) crown.
All-metal dental crown
All-metal crowns are classified according to the type of dental alloy from which they are fabricated (gold, titanium, nickel, chromium, tin etc.)
From the standpoint of the patient, each type of all-metal dental crown can be expected to be essentially identical in function and longevity. However, there are some advantages associated with noble alloys (such as gold) and titanium in regards to crown fabrication, placement, and longevity and for these reasons are typically considered to be the preferred choice.
Full gold and titanium crown are more expensive. A decision against these types of crowns is usually based on cost or limitations dictated by the patient's insurance plan.
full gold crown
full metal crown (base metal alloy)
Dental composite crown
Generally, dental composite crowns have a metal shell on which composite is fused. In many cases, they are manufactured with a partial veneer that covers only the visible aspects of the crown.
metal composite crowns
with partial veneer and fully covered
Composite crowns are not as durable as gold, zirconia or porcelain crowns and do need to be replaced more often. Moreover, porcelain crowns are color stable and better aesthetically.
Composite crowns are cheaper than porcelain crowns and are normally indicated as temporary solutions or when patients cannot afford more expensive types of crowns.
Although acrylic crowns are still used in certain parts of the world as permanent restorations, their main indication is for temporary crowns.
Acrylic and metal-acrylic crowns are very cheap but they have poor aesthetics and they wear off in a short time.
metal acrylic dental crown
A temporary crown is a provisional, short-term restoration usually cemented in place with a soft temporary dental cement until the permanent restoration is completed.
Temporary crowns can be fabricated from various materials: composite resins, acrylic, stainless steel or aluminum. A temporary crown can be manufactured by the dentist in a clinical setting or by the dental technician at the dental lab.
Temporary crowns cost is not very high but you should keep in mind that the price is added to the cost of the permanent restoration.
Implant supported crown
A dental implant is a metal device that is surgically inserted into the jawbone in order to replace one or more teeth. Dental implants can support a variety of dental prosthesis such as: crowns, bridges, dentures, facial prosthesis or they can act as orthodontic anchors.
When an implant-supported crown is designed, patients should understand that high precision and accuracy is demanded. Usually, an implant-supported crown entails a higher cost than the same type of crown designed to cover a natural tooth.
implant-supported crown before and after
Patients should understand that sometimes, before the preparation for the dental crown can begin, other procedures may still be required (such as decay treatment, treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease, professional teeth cleaning etc).
Other price considerations
By now, you probably realized that the cost of getting a dental crown can vary widely depending on many factors. Although there is no general rule to determine the exact price of a crown, some of these factors are listed below:
The materials used
Porcelain (particularly all-ceramics) crowns and zirconia crowns have superior qualities but they are much more expensive. The cost of getting these materials and the processing equipment (porcelain furnaces, CAD / CAM systems) will add to the final cost.
The expertise of the medical staff can vary from dental office to dental office. Dentists and dental technicians may have different degrees of training, qualifications and expertise.
each doctor may have different
professional degrees and different prices
Dentist's cost of operation
The wide discrepancy in prices charged by dentists must also be linked with the dentist's cost of operation. This includes items such as office space costs, equipment costs and the number of office employees and their comparative salaries.
For procedures like crowns, bridges, dentures, and other indirect restorations, the fabrication costs (lab costs) that the dentist must pay might also explain why fees are different between various dentists.
The price greatly depends on the geographic area where the procedure is performed. First, different areas of the same country may show dissimilar prices.
In addition, the cost of a dental treatment can greatly vary depending on the country where the procedure is performed. For example, the cost of a porcelain fused to metal crown can range from 80$ in some countries to 3000$ in others (such as USA or Germany).
In some countries, dental insurance will cover a part (or all) of the crown's cost. The amount of the price covered by the insurance company depends on the country and the individual dental plan.
The best advice is to take your dentist's recommendation. If your dentist feels the construction or appearance of one type of crown will create a better looking, better fitting or more durable final restoration, it is probably a great idea to follow his/her recommendation.
Last review and update: June 2018