How much do dental crowns cost? / What about insurance coverage?
This page explains factors that are variables in determining the cost of a patient’s dental crown.
How much does a crown cost?
- On average, you can expect a dental crown (cap) to generally cost in the range of $700 to $1600. Some dentists do charge more but that is not the norm.
- Prices vary according to the type of crown being placed: All-ceramic ($845 to $1565), Porcelain-fused-to-metal ($755 to $1615) or All-metal/Gold ($660 to $1460).
- Other factors include the specific type of materials used (like base or precious dental alloy), and if any special techniques or services are involved (like 1-hour placement crowns Single-visit crowns.).
- Prices tend to vary according to location (region, state) and population size (city, town, rural). Also, it’s not uncommon that dental offices in the same immediate area may charge substantially different fees.
- When crowns are a covered procedure, it’s common for dental insurance to pay 1/2 the cost after the policy’s deductible has been met (additional limitations may apply too). Full insurance details.
- The fee charged for replacement crowns is usually the same as for initial placements, although insurance restrictions about procedure frequency may apply.
If you need help in understanding what each of the kinds of crowns mentioned below are, then use this link: Types of crowns. Pros, cons, applications.
a) Fees for all-metal crowns –
- All-metal dental crown / Gold dental crown (precious / high-noble metal). (Notes #2, 3 & 4)
$785.00 – $1460.00
Low fee = Small rural city or town.
High fee = Large metropolitan area.
[How we calculate our cost estimates for procedures.]
Other terms that apply- White-gold crowns
- All-metal dental crown (non-precious / base metal). (Notes #2, & 3)
$660.00 – $1370.00
b) Fees for porcelain crowns –
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crown (precious / high-noble metal). (Notes #1 & 4)
$855.00 – $1615.00
Other terms that apply- PFM, porcelain-fused-to-gold, PFG
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crown (non-precious / base metal). (Notes #1 & 4)
$755.00 – $1310.00
Other terms that apply- PFM
- All-ceramic dental crown (porcelain / ceramic substrate).
$845.00 – $1565.00
Other terms (and brand names) that apply- porcelain jacket, Procera®, Empress®, CEREC®, Obsidian®, Lava®, In-Ceram®, zirconia, BruxZir®, IPS emax®
[You’ve just learned that crowns can be expensive. You can tip the scales so you’re less likely to ever need getting another tooth capped by following our 8 precautions. Proactive steps to take.]
Notes and comments:
Note #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: 1) Precious (high noble), 2) Semi-precious (noble) or 3) Non-precious (base or non-noble). This link provides more details about dental alloys. Why the one you choose matters.)
- In general, dental alloys having higher precious metal content offer advantages during the fabrication and crown-seating process. And for this reason are considered to be the preferred choice. Advantages list.
Reasons not to choose a precious alloy are typically only based on cost, or limitations imposed by the patient’s dental insurance plan (see below).
- In terms of the patient’s experience (appearance, function, longevity), crowns made using any one of the types of alloys should be similar, although every dentist will have their own distinct opinion in regard to this matter.
Note #2: All-metal dental crowns are also classified according to the type of dental alloy from which they are fabricated (see alloys link above).
- From the standpoint of patient experience, any type of all-metal crown can be expected to provide similar service in terms of function and longevity.
- There are, however, advantages associated with precious alloys in regard 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.
Note #3: Dental alloys vary in color. For example, they can be either gold or “white” (silver-colored). Among gold alloys, the metal’s tint can range from deep-yellow to pale gold. If the appearance of your all-metal crown is important to you, you must discuss this issue with your dentist before it is made.
Note #4: Prices for crowns for front and back teeth are usually the same, but may not be. In most instances they are.
A common exception would be the case where the use of a precious dental alloy is involved, like for a gold crown or some types of PFM’s.
With these cases, since crowns made for some teeth (i.e. molars) will be larger than others, and thus more metal is required, the dentist may feel that they need to charge more.
The amount charged is typically based on the actual weight (amount) of metal used.
Fees for replacement dental crowns.
The norm is that the cost of a tooth’s replacement crown will be the same as what the dentist currently charges for new (initial placement) cases (such as those fees shown above).
While it’s true that less tooth preparation (trimming) will likely be needed this time around, overall the amount of appointment time required, and expense that the dentist incurs (like the bill from the dental laboratory that fabricates the new restoration), will be essentially the same as with an initial placement case, hence the full fee is warranted.
Dental insurance coverage for replacement crowns sometimes falls victim to policy limitations and exclusions. Replacement stipulations.
How much does your dentist pay for your crown?
In the vast majority of cases, a dentist doesn’t actually make the crowns they place. Instead, they send the impression Crown procedure steps. of their patient’s tooth to a dental laboratory where it’s restoration is then custom fabricated by a technician.
While your dentist’s actual cost for your crown may seem small when compared to the amount you end up paying, keep in mind that it only comprises a portion of their total expenses when performing this procedure for you.
Estimates of dental laboratory fees for dental crowns: (Your dentist’s cost.)
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (precious metal) - $135.00 to $175.00
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (non-precious metal) - $80.00 to $140.00
- All-metal (precious metal/gold alloy) - $145.00 to $180.00
- All-metal (non-precious metal) - $85.00 to $135.00
- All-ceramic (e.g. IPS e.max, zirconia) - $100.00 to $170.00
Dental laboratories typically charge the same fee for restorations for front or back teeth.
Selling old dental crowns.
Old dental restorations frequently have precious-metal content, and if they do they have value. Any dental work that’s taken out of your mouth is yours and it should be given to you.
This link provides information about selling scrap dental restorations. Pitfalls to watch out for.
Does dental insurance cover crowns?
Your plan very well may provide benefits for dental crown placement but you’ll have to check your policy to know for sure. “Lesser” plans may not.
We now have an entire page dedicated to the issue of dental insurance coverage for crowns. Benefits. | Stipulations.
Page references sources:
LMTmag.com Removable Prosthetic Fees.
Because the procedure estimates we show are developed by different means, you may find the survey of dental fees published by DentistryIQ an interesting independent source: DentistryIQ – 2017 dental fee analysis by region and CDT procedure code
All reference sources for topic Dental Crowns.
This section contains comments submitted in previous years. Many have been edited so to limit their scope to subjects discussed on this page.
Cost for two gold crowns.
How much will it be I have delta blue dental insurance.
Here’s an example calculation for the cost of two crowns.
For your calculation you’ll simply need to insert:
1) Your dentist’s actual fee for each crown. (If you don’t know, here’s an estimated range for gold crowns.)
2) Your policy’s deductible amount.
3) The specfic level of reimbursement your policy provides.
4) Your policy’s maximum benefits amount.
None of these 4 figures are standard/generic items, they are all specific to your policy and your dentist.
dental cost breakdown
Hi. My dentist told me that I need the following treatment for one tooth:
1 gold crown for tooth #15
Gingivectomy on tooth #15
` have no dental insurance and live in a fairly large Midwest city. Could you possibly give me an “estimate” of what the cost may be?
As very ballpark estimates, we would think you could expect costs in the following neighborhoods:
Dental core – $250.
Crown lengthening (single tooth) – $400
Replacement crown discount?
I had a crown made for a tooth that broke. After about a year it came off. I kept the crown but my dentist says it no longer fits (?). Now he wants me to pay full price again for another one. Is this possible/normal/right?
We understand your point, but see considerations on your dentist’s side too. Considering their hard stance, we’re assuming the following:
A common scenario would be one where the patient’s crown came off, they delayed in getting into their dentist’s office to have it recemented (typically a pretty simple straightforward procedure), in the mean time their teeth shifted, and now the crown no longer fits and must be remade. (We have a page with instructions about how to prevent that scenario: What to do if your crown comes off.)
If that’s the case:
Unless you contacted your dentist’s office promptly but were not offered a timely appointment, the responsibility for the delay generally lies with the patient.
Your dentist’s expenses for the work will be the exact same as the first time around, hence no discount on the replacement crown’s price has been offered.
My dentist wants 250$ more for each zirconia crown . says insurance only pays for porcelain on metal. seems like a lot extra.
Generally speaking, the procedure (the dentist’s “chair time”) for placing either type of crown (PFM or zirconia) would be fairly identical. So, the main difference between the two (in terms of your dentist’s costs) would be the fee charged by the dental laboratory that fabricates the crown.
We Googled “lab fee zirconia crown” and found a company website that stated that their lab fee for a PFM crown was around $145. Their fee for a porcelain-fused-to-zirconia crown was about $225. However the cost of a full-contour (monolithic) zirconia crown (a crown ground out of a single block of ceramic by a CAD-CAM milling machine) was about $165.
So it does matter what type of zirconia crown is being placed. But beyond that, we’ve got nothing to say about the added cost.
As a second scenario, your case might involve the situation where your dentist plans to place the zirconia crown in just one office visit (making the crown using CAD-CAM equipment in their own office) (pfm crowns are never placed in a single day, it takes time to have a dental lab make them). With this scenario, one would assume that the extra cost is a premium being charged for this same-day service.
Dentist lab made mistake on color, but tells me I am stuck
I had the 6 front teeth crowned and my dentist ordered a color I had used before (M2) on other crowns. When he put them in, it seemed strange he didn’t have me look at them but acted like he had to get on to the next patient. When I got to my car and saw the color, it looked much more dull/yellow compared to my orginal teeth. But he said that is the same color ordered in the past for other crowns further back in my mouth. I never liked them and I know my own teeth, and they were whiter. A year goes by and he suggest I get the 4 front lower teeth crowned, again ordering the same color (M2). When I went to have them put in I said “wait just one minuet, these new ones are the right color which just proves the lab made a mistake on the color of the upper teeth. He had the lab person come into an appointment the next week to check the color and he said he would need to make the new lower teeth another shade darker to match the top crowns… 10 days later I went in and he placed the darker shade teeth in to match my upper teeth. But before doing so, he for the first time EVER, made me sign that I am accepting the teeth once cemented in (or put back on the temporary’s he put in 5 weeks prior and I could go somewhere else. So under pressure of needing to get something permanent in, I signed it telling them I totally don’t agree with this and they look terrible. Shouldn’t he be responsible for the mistake the lab made on my upper teeth and replace the 6 upper and 4 lower front teeth with the whiter shade? He was always a good dentist, but after this experience I need to shop around for someone with a better moral standard. Would it be any good to try and sue him in small claims court on two separate cases – 1 case for the upper teeth and 1 case for the lower teeth – allowing me to sue for $10,000 each case?
Much of your post involves legal issues, and as such are beyond any response we are qualified to give.
We get your point about how the first set of crowns for the lower teeth should have matched the upper ones pretty closely if the same shade of porcelain had been used.
There might be some technical issues involved with the color mismatches you’ve experienced (differing porcelain thickness, differing types of crown construction, etc…). But everyone involved should have known that the overall goal was a unified, pleasing appearance. with your dentist primarily in charge of achieving that.
In passing we’ll mention that:
Every time a restoration was made for you, the shade chosen would have been documented in your chart.
The dentist’s instructions to the lab to make the restoration(s) are in the form of a written prescription, and the shade chosen will be on that prescription. Your dentist is almost certainly legally require to retain his copy of the prescription for a certain period of time (this would vary state by state). The prescription blanks are typically pre-printed and numbered sequentially in a bound book.
The fact that the lower crowns were remade (as in the dentist acknowledged that some mismatch existed) will be documented in your chart, at least by the fact that completing your case took more than the usual number of visits. We’re not sure a second lab prescription would be required for the remake.
Other than legal recourse, another alternative that should exist for you is a complaint to your state’s dental board. This page on the website Dental Watch explains things pretty well.
What’s good about the dental board option is that your situation is considered by multiple dentists, and probably a “consumer/general public” member too, who together determine if the treatment you’ve received seems reasonable.
Porcelain crowns on molars and fepvip metlife coverage.
Does anyone know if this plan has restrictions on Porcelain crowns?
We’re assuming you’ve seen this fepvip policy document
However, we wouldn’t know for certain if this information is applicable to your situation.
In determining if a crown will be covered by a dental plan, there can be so many issues at hand that by far the best approach is that once your tooth’s need for a procedure has been determined by your dentist, that you let their office submit a pre-certification/ pre-determination of benefits. That way you’ll have a firm response from the insurance company. (The linked document above suggests that this should be done.)
In our brief review of the document linked above, we noticed:
“D2740 Crown – porcelain/ceramic substrate – Limited to 1 per tooth every 60 months “, implying to us that all-ceramic crowns are a covered procedure (we didn’t notice any restrictions about on which kinds of teeth), although replacements are limited to every 5 years.
In case you don’t already know, a monolithic construction zirconia crown would typically be considered the strongest type of all-creamic crown (and therefore possibly better suited for applications like molars).
Crowns Way Over Priced.
Why are crowns so expensive; it’s just a piece of metal with a thin porcelain layer over it. Why can’t we just have a solely metal bridge; like that guy in the James Bond movies. That would be cool and cheap.
We’re not trying to justify the current state of affairs in dental pricing but…
This page gives you an idea of what a dentist pays a dental lab for making a crown (materials, labor). As you can see, as compared to what the patient pays, this expense isn’t all that great of a factor. The difference between a base metal crown like you suggest vs. the most expensive type of porcelain crown is on the order of $100 or so.