Dental crowns are the most preferred solution when looking to restore the functionality and appearance of your teeth. Also known as dental caps, crowns are fitted on the chipped, broken, discolored, and decayed tooth to restore their functions or replace a missing crown. If, after a dental examination, your dentist concludes you need crowns, you will have questions about which crown type is best and cost-friendly. Particular materials reinforce the teeth; others are aesthetically appealing or cost-friendly. This blog explores these tooth crowns and their costs to help you make an informed choice.

Dental Crown Candidacy

Before you think about the dental crowns that are right for you, you must find out if you are an eligible candidate. It would help if you visited the dentist for a dental examination. If your teeth are decayed, discolored, or cracked so that conservative treatment options like veneers or composite bonding are not viable, your dental expert will recommend crowns. The common reasons you need crowns are:

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth cavities
  • Damaged or cracked tooth
  • A posterior tooth or one that has undergone root canal therapy
  • For beauty reasons
  • To protect a dental implant
  • To reinforce a dental bridge

Crowns Treatment Planning

When you walk into a dental clinic for a first examination, the dentist will conduct an x-ray to check the extent of damage in the tooth. After establishing that dental crowns can fix the problem, they will take an imprint of the impacted tooth or teeth to estimate the size and shape of the tooth that requires a crown. The impression will then be sent to a dental lab technician who uses it to model a crown that will align with the existing teeth and create functional and flawless teeth.

How Treatment Works

Typically, dental crown placement happens on your second visit to the dentist. The first visit is for diagnosis and treatment planning which involves an x-ray of the affected tooth and jawbone. After ascertaining that teeth are healthy for crowns, they take an impression and send it to the dental lab for fabrication. Note that if you gave an impression to be used to fabricate the crowns on your first visit to the dentist, another impression would not be necessary.

While you await the crown, the dentist shapes the teeth in question to create space for mounting the dental cap once it is ready. The shaping of the teeth depends on the damage done to them and the kind of crown you want to place.

Once the fabrication is ready, it will be mounted on the tooth in question and attached using dental cement. The dentist will then check for imperfections in the mouth that could impair the beauty and functionality of the teeth and remove them to attain a favorable outcome. The longevity of your crowns depends on how they are mounted. With a dentist keen on details, they will correct all imperfections and ensure the crowns fit perfectly with no room for bacteria growth causing infections.

Again, when you have an underlying tooth condition like gum disease or a weak jaw bone, the dentist should address the problem first. Doing so prevents gum recession, exposing the crown margins and denying you the desired outcome of having aesthetically appealing teeth.

When looking for a dental clinic or dentist for the dental crown procedure, it is wise to find out if they adopt superior technology for the treatment. A dentist with the latest CEREC or CAD/CAM tech device can reduce your visits to the dentist. The technology enables them to fabricate permanent crowns on a single visit by displaying a 3-D image of the teeth, promoting precise results that reduce fabrication time and treatment duration. When your dentist uses this kind of technology, you will not need temporary crowns unless a root canal has been performed and there is a need for healing before mounting the caps. Additionally, you will not need another appointment to cement the caps.

If you must put on temporary caps to protect your teeth until you have healed or the permanent restoration is ready, your dentist must give instructions to care for the teeth. Typically, you will be advised to steer clear of sticky or hard foods because they can cause the crowns to crack. You only need to wear the temporary crowns for a week, and the permanent fabrications will be ready for cementation.

Recovery and Aftercare

Once the permanent crowns are cemented, your dentist must give tips on caring for the teeth to prolong their life. Generally, you are required to adopt healthy oral hygiene and habits. You should brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes or more. Doing so will ensure plaque does not accumulate in the mouth, causing tartar which allows bacteria to grow, causing tooth decay and infection.

Furthermore, you should avoid hard foods because they can crack the crown. Teeth grinding is also discouraged because it significantly shortens the crown's lifespan. If you clench your teeth at night, put on a mouth guard when going to bed. 

Crown Types

When your dentist recommends dental crowns to resolve your oral problem, you immediately begin figuring out the type of crown that is right for you and the cost. This is because there are multiple material options for crowns with varying prices depending on your needs. The standard dental crowns today are:

  1. Gold Crowns

Pure gold is not strong enough to protect your teeth, so dental labs rely on the gold alloy to make crowns. Although these restorations are uncommon because of their color and appearance, your dentist will recommend them because they are highly resistant to cracking and chipping, which is suitable for individuals with a habit of grinding or clenching teeth.

The advantage of this conventional restorative material is that it is malleable and does not need to be thick enough to offer proper anchorage. This is good for the adjacent teeth because they will not be impacted. Additionally, your dentist does not need to remove a large portion of your enamel to allow the restoration to fit correctly.

Another advantage of the material is that it is highly durable with proper care and wears down slowly. It is less abrasive to the opposing teeth, like your natural tooth enamel. Because of their strength and high resistance, gold crowns are perfect for back teeth or second molars.

The downside of these restorations is that they do not look like natural teeth, denying you a beautiful smile. Additionally, the gold alloy can sometimes cause allergic reactions and swelling in the mouth.

  1. All Porcelain or All Ceramic Caps

When looking for cosmetic restorations, all porcelain or ceramic crowns are the best options because they mimic the look of natural teeth. The choice of material in these restorations is zirconia, as it offers a metal-free aesthetic option.

The benefit of using this material is that it works well for teeth in confined spaces. The material lacks an anchoring metal core, which enables crowns to be fabricated with a finite thickness. Additionally, because there is no metal core, the crown is transparent in design, allowing light to pass through and improving aesthetics.

Compared to gold crowns, all-porcelain restorations do not cause allergic reactions because they are biocompatible, making them toxin-free. Their esthetic appearance makes these crown types perfect for front teeth restoration.

Nonetheless, even as these crowns advance in strength and durability, be cautious about where you place them. Using them as posterior teeth restorations will not serve you long because they are heavy function areas where you use force to chew, exposing them to chipping and cracking.

  1. Metal Fused Porcelain

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, also known as PFM or full-cast crowns, are made using a cap with two metal layers, typically gold on the lower side and porcelain on the upper layer. The concept of fusing the metal layer with ceramic brings together strength and aesthetics. The material is highly durable and can last up to fifty years with proper care.

However, PFM crowns have their drawbacks. First, the underlying gold layer can cause gum discoloration, making it appear grayish, denying the beauty you could have obtained if all porcelain crowns were administered. Therefore, you can use these restorations in the short term and replace them when the gums begin to recede. Also, if you have a habit of grinding or clenching teeth and do not want gold crowns, these restorations are abrasive to the opposing teeth and thus wear out fast. 

  1. Zirconia Tooth Cap

Zirconium is a new material introduced to solve the challenges caused by gold and porcelain crowns. These crowns have characteristics of ceramic material and are made of metal zirconia. Zirconia teeth caps are highly durable and can be fabricated to look like natural teeth.

A dental lab technician is not necessary for the fabrication of these crowns, in addition to their strength and beauty. Your dentist can cut and shape them in the office, making the treatment possible with a single visit to the dentist. Again, because zirconium is metal-free, there is no chance of an allergic reaction or swelling because zirconium is biocompatible.

On the downside, zirconia crowns, especially solid ones, can be challenging to adjust. Additionally, due to their strength, the natural teeth on either side could become worn down, leading to additional oral health issues.

  1. E-Max Crowns

The latest crown type in the dental market is the E-max. Lithium disilicate, a light and thin material that gives your mouth a gorgeous appearance is used to create the crown. The restorations are perfect for front and posterior teeth because of their esthetics and robust nature.

Nonetheless, the restorations are costly, primarily for the dentist, who passes the cost on to the patient. Some dentists have reported failures in crowns made using this material, especially for the back teeth with heavy chewing forces.

Regardless of your choice of a dental crown, you can obtain the desired benefits with proper oral hygiene and habits.

Dental Crowns Cost

After reviewing the different types of dental crowns you can buy, it is equally important to discuss their price. The cost of treatment varies based on the material used and the technical requirements of the procedure. For instance, when you opt for all porcelain crowns, you will part with more than the metal caps.

Your dentist's location, education, and familiarity with dental technology are additional factors that affect treatment costs. Besides, your case’s circumstances will affect the cost of treatment.

For example, you could require procedures like dental implants or root canals that you must pay for in addition to the dental crowns when you need to treat an underlying oral condition to ensure the teeth anchor the crown properly. The cost of crowns when you need multiple other procedures will be higher than that of a person with healthy teeth that only needs reshaping to mount the crowns. 

In general, the price of a dental crown ranges from $1,000 to $3,500. When you spend this money, the crowns can serve you for fifteen or even more years without requiring replacement. If your objective is to improve your smile, you can ask to see a gallery of before-and-after images of previous clients to have a better idea of the knowledge and experience of the dental team performing your crown procedure.

The price will vary based on your health insurance policy and the type of policy that covers the treatment. However, you still have options even if the treatment is not covered under your health policy or you are uninsured. Talk to your dentist about the various third-party financing options like Capital One to finance the treatment. If you are eligible for the financing, you can work with the company in question to develop a monthly payment plan that suits your earnings.

Note that a crown can only be covered by insurance if it is medically necessary and not entirely cosmetic. Even when the treatment is covered, the insurer will only pay half of the total cost of treatment. The remaining balance you will pay out of pocket. Also, your insurance will pay part of the money when the crown is a preventative procedure and not medically necessary. However, the cost of treatment will be very high if the entire procedure is done for cosmetic reasons because you will be responsible for paying the bill without the aid of your insurance provider.

Similarly, the waiting period for the policy is six to twenty-four months before you can undergo a major dental procedure. As a result, if you need dental crowns right away, you should choose a dental discount plan that lets you visit an in-network dentist and receive the necessary care at a 10% to 60% discount. With a dental plan, you can save money on crowns without proving that they are medically necessary. Your regular contributions to the program make the treatment cheaper.

Average Dental Crown Cost

On average, you will pay the following prices for the various types of crowns, according to Authority Dental:

  • $1,000 to $2,500, and an average cost of $1,300 for all porcelain
  • $800 to $2,400, and an average price of $1,100 for porcelain fused to metal
  • $900 to $2,500 and an average of $1,300 for gold crowns

The cost of E-max and zirconia crowns is roughly equal to that of porcelain crowns.

Tooth Crowns Cost in In-Network Vs. Out-of-Network Dentist

Dental crown prices will vary greatly depending on whether you select an in-network dentist or an out-of-network dentist. Because they have agreed to specific negotiated rates for dental services, insurance companies appoint dentists who are in their network. Therefore, when you decide to work with one, you will not drain your accounts as you are paying for a fee that your insurer has already negotiated. The prices are usually lower, and they offer more coverage for the treatment.

The downside of an in-network dentist is that your options are limited, and the few on the list might not suit your dental needs. The insurer will only pay a portion of the total cost, not the full amount, meaning you will have to dig into your pockets.

On the other hand, out-of-network dental experts are not contracted by insurers, and their prices are not fixed by insurers, meaning you will pay more for your dental crowns. Nevertheless, the professionals are the best for complex dental procedures like tooth crowns. With these professionals, your list is unlimited, and you can pick the dentist of your choice, achieving the desired goal. When an insurer selects a dentist, there is a chance that you will receive low-quality crowns because the ideal dentist for the procedure could not be on the insurer's list of suggested dentists.

As much as you want to lower the cost of your treatment, your decision should not only hinge on the price of the services. You should research more about the dentist you are interested in working with, and if they are reputable for the treatment, you can hire them regardless of the cost.

Find an Experienced Tooth Crown Dentist Near Me

Your decision regarding dental crowns will depend on their features, which come in various materials and costs. After a thorough examination, your dentist can recommend a particular type of crown. If you want pocket-friendly and efficient crown treatment in Los Angeles, Carson, Torrance & Lomita, visit Washington Dental or call us for a free consultation.