Dental crowns : Costs / Fees
How much do dental crowns cost? - This page provides an estimate of the price you might pay to have a dental crown made for a tooth. It also outlines common dental insurance issues associated with this procedure.
As you can see from our list, there are a several different types of crowns (gold, porcelain, etc...) that can be placed.
Take your dentist's recommendation.
Notice that the comparative cost of each type of crown does not vary drastically. So if your dentist feels the construction or appearance of one type will create a better looking, better fitting or more durable final restoration, then for the relatively small cost difference involved, it's probably a great idea to follow their recommendation.
Ask your dentist about selling your old dental crowns.
Old dental restorations often have precious-metal content and for that reason can have value. Quiz your dentist about any restorations that your new crowns are replacing. If it's likely that they may be worth something, have them return them to you. This link provides information about selling scrap dental restorations.
Footnotes and comments:
1) Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be fabricated using any one of a number of different dental alloys. Based on their composition, these metals are categorized as being precious (high noble), semi-precious (noble) or non-precious (base or non-noble). (Use this link for more information about the classification system that's used.)
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns fabricated using any one of these alloys, for the most part, can be expected to provide the same patient experience (appearance, function, longevity), although every dentist will have their own distinct opinion regarding this matter.
In general, dental alloys having higher precious metal content offer advantages during the fabrication and crown-seating process. And for this reason are preferred. Reasons not to choose a precious alloy are typically only based on cost, or limitations imposed by the patient's dental insurance plan.
2) All-metal dental crowns are also classified according to the type of dental alloy from which they are fabricated (the same classification system linked to above in footnote #1).
From the standpoint of the dental patient's experience, each type of all-metal dental crown can be expected to be essentially identical in function and longevity. There are, however, advantages associated with precious alloys in regards to crown fabrication and placement (see link above) and for this reason are typically considered to be the preferred choice. A decision against a noble alloy is usually based on cost or limitations dictated by a patient's dental plan.
3) Dental alloys vary in color. For example, they can be either gold or "white" (silver-colored). Among the gold alloys, the metal's precise tint can range between deep-yellow and pale gold. If the look of your crown is important to you, you must discuss this issue with your dentist before the crown is made.
Does dental insurance cover dental crowns?
Your plan very well may provide benefits for crown placement but you'll have to check your policy to know for sure. "Lesser" plans may not.
To receive full benefits, the policy's deductible must have been met. Your plan may also have a maximum amount of benefits that will be paid (typically on a per year basis).
Possible policy restrictions.
A dental plan may have some limitations associated with this procedure.
- Types of crowns allowed - A plan may place a restriction on the type of crown placed. For example, they may limit the type of material used in the crown's construction (i.e. precious metal crowns, see above). Or they may not provide coverage for the placement of all-ceramic crowns on back teeth.
- Placement must be justified - Your dentist may have to submit documentation (x-rays, clinical notes) demonstrating why a crown is needed. This way the insurance company has evidence that another (likely less expensive) procedure wouldn't have sufficed (i.e. a dental filling). They also want to know that the crown wasn't opted for just for cosmetic reasons.
- Wait periods - New policy holders may find that they have a wait period before crowns are covered. For example, there may not be coverage for the plan's first 12 months.
- Age restrictions - Benefits for this procedure may be limited to persons age 16 years and over. It's common that a dentist will want to wait until this age or later before placing a permanent crown anyway, due to age-related growth issues.
- Replacement intervals. - For replacement crowns, an insurance plan may not provide coverage for a new crown if it had previously provided benefits for the existing crown within a certain time period. 5 years is a common time frame, although it may be longer.
Preauthorizing a procedure is the process where the dentist collects all relevant information, and then submits it to the insurance company so to let them know what treatment is planned. The company then reviews the information and responds by stating what they expect they will provide as coverage.
Ask your dentist's office if this step is needed. It isn't always. But in situations where plan questions exist and a significant cost is involved, doing so can help to avoid surprises.
Policy maximum benefits limitations.
It's common for a dental plan to have a clause that outlines the maximum benefits paid per policy year. And with multiple dental crown placement, which is a comparatively expensive procedure, costs can add up quickly.
Ask your dentist about the timing of your policy year and how your treatment can be planned around it. For example, you might have crowns placed in late December and early January. Doing so might satisfy the conditions of your policy, yet all of your work is still completed within a compact time frame.