Types of Dental Crowns and Cost: What You Need to Know Before

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In the world of dentistry, dental crowns have become a popular solution for various dental issues. Whether it’s to protect a weak tooth, restore a broken tooth, or improve the appearance of discolored teeth, dental crowns have proven to be quite beneficial. But before you decide to get a dental crown, it’s important to understand the different types of dental crowns and their costs.

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What are Dental Crowns

Dental crowns, often referred to as “caps,” are prosthetic devices that are cemented onto existing teeth or implants. They are used to cover a damaged tooth to restore its size, shape, strength, and improve its appearance. Once installed, a crown fully encases the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line, effectively becoming the tooth’s new outer surface.

Types of Dental Crowns

There are different types of dental crowns, each made from different materials. The type of crown used can depend on the specific needs and requirements of the patient. Here are some of the most common types:

1. Ceramic Dental Crowns

Ceramic dental crowns are made from a porcelain-based material. They are known for their ability to blend in with your natural teeth. They are often used for restoring front teeth due to their great aesthetic appeal. Ceramic crowns provide the best and most convincing cosmetic results as they can be made to match the color of the surrounding teeth. They also provide a more natural look compared to metal crowns.

2. Metal Dental Crowns

Metal dental crowns, including alloys with a high content of gold or platinum, or base-metal alloys like cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium, are extremely durable. They can withstand biting and chewing forces well and last longer than other types of crowns. They rarely chip or break, and the amount of the tooth that needs to be removed for their placement is less than other types of crowns. However, their metallic color makes them more noticeable and thus, they are usually used for out-of-sight molars.

3. Gold Dental Crowns

Gold dental crowns are a classic option that offers durability and requires less removal of the natural tooth than other types of crowns. They are resistant to wear and corrosion and are a good choice for out-of-sight molars. Gold crowns have a long history in dentistry. The use of gold in dental crowns dates back as far as 4,000 years ago in Southeast Asia.

4. Zirconia Dental Crowns

Zirconia dental crowns are made from zirconium dioxide, a very durable type of metal related to titanium, although it’s categorized as a ceramic crown. These crowns are strong, durable, and resistant to chipping, cracking, and wear. They can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

5. E-Max (Lithium Disilicate) Dental Crowns

E-Max dental crowns are a type of all-ceramic crown that provides the best natural look and has an appealing translucent color combined with extra strength and durability. These crowns are made from a single block of lithium disilicate ceramic, which is a top-grade material known for its toughness, durability, and opaque qualities which makes it a highly prized crown.

6. Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Dental Crowns

Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns offer a nice balance between durability and aesthetics. They have a metal structure for strength and are covered with porcelain for a natural appearance. These crowns can be color-matched to the adjacent teeth. However, sometimes the metal under the crown’s porcelain cap can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede.

Dental Crown Costs

The cost of dental crowns can vary significantly based on the type of crown selected, the specific rates of your dentist, and your geographic location. Typically, the cost can range from $500 to $3,000 per crown. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the costs for different types of dental crowns:

Type of Dental CrownAverage Cost Range
Ceramic Dental Crowns$500 – $3,000
Metal Dental Crowns$600 – $2,500
Gold Dental Crowns$800 – $2,500
Zirconia Dental Crowns$1,000 – $2,500
E-Max (Lithium Disilicate) Dental Crowns$1,200 – $1,800
Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Dental Crowns$500 – $1,500

Is a Dental Crown For Me

Determining whether a dental crown is the right solution for you depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • Condition of Your Tooth: If your tooth is severely damaged, decayed, or has a large filling, a crown may be the best option to restore its function and appearance. A crown can provide a protective shell around the damaged tooth, preventing further decay and strengthening the overall structure.
  • Overall Oral Health: If you have good oral health and practice regular dental hygiene, a crown can be a long-lasting solution. However, if you have gum disease or other oral health issues, these conditions may need to be addressed before a crown can be successfully placed.
  • Personal Preferences: Some people prefer crowns for their durability and low maintenance, while others may prefer less invasive options like veneers or bonding, which preserve more of the natural tooth structure.
  • Cosmetic Considerations: If the tooth is healthy and the issue is purely cosmetic, less invasive options like veneers or bonding might be more suitable. However, if the tooth is discolored or misshapen, a crown can provide a more dramatic transformation.
  • Cost and Insurance Coverage: Dental crowns can be quite expensive, so it’s important to consider your budget and what your dental insurance will cover. Some insurance plans may cover a portion of the cost for crowns, but this varies greatly by provider and plan.

Advantages of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns can be an effective solution for a variety of dental issues including:

  • Restoration of tooth function: Dental crowns restore the shape, size, and function of damaged teeth, allowing you to eat and speak normally.
  • Aesthetic improvement: Crowns can greatly improve the appearance of discolored, cracked, or misshapen teeth.
  • Long-lasting solution: With proper care, dental crowns can last for many years, making them a long-term solution for damaged teeth.
  • Protection for the tooth: A dental crown provides a protective cover for a damaged or decayed tooth, reducing the risk of further damage.
  • Comfort: Unlike removable dentures, dental crowns stay in place, providing a comfortable and convenient solution for tooth restoration

Disadvantages of Dental Crowns

While dental crowns can be an effective solution for a variety of dental issues, they do come with some disadvantages:

  • Cost: Dental crowns can be quite expensive, especially if you opt for a more aesthetically pleasing material like porcelain or zirconia.
  • Time-consuming process: The process of getting a crown often requires multiple visits to the dentist, which can be inconvenient.
  • Potential for discomfort or sensitivity: Some patients may experience discomfort or sensitivity following the procedure. This is usually temporary, but it can be uncomfortable.
  • Risk of loosening or falling out: Over time, a crown can become loose or even fall out, requiring a visit to the dentist to have it repaired or replaced.
  • Damage or discoloration: While crowns are durable, they are not invincible and can still become damaged or discolored over time. This can require replacement, adding to the overall cost.
  • Requires modification of the natural tooth: To place a crown, the natural tooth must be filed down. This is a permanent change and the tooth will always need to be protected with a crown or other restoration.

Dental Crown Alternatives

Dental crowns are a widely used solution for a range of dental issues. However, they are not the only option available. Depending on the specific condition of your teeth and your personal needs, there might be other suitable alternatives. Here are some of them:

  1. Inlays and Onlays: These are often used when the tooth damage is not severe enough to use a crown but too significant for a filling. Inlays and onlays are made in a dental laboratory from composite resin material and attached to the teeth with adhesive dental cement. They provide support to strengthen the teeth, restore their shape, and avoid any further decay or deterioration.
  2. Veneers: If the primary concern is cosmetic, such as in the case of discolored or chipped teeth, dental veneers might be an excellent alternative. Veneers are thin shells made from porcelain or resin composite materials, designed to cover the front surface of the teeth to improve your appearance.
  3. Dental Implants: If a tooth is severely damaged or decayed, it might be necessary to remove it entirely. In such cases, dental implants, which involve replacing the tooth root with a metal rod and attaching a synthetic tooth, can be a viable option.
  4. Dental Bonding: In dental bonding, a tooth-colored, putty-like resin, which is a durable plastic material, is applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, bonding the material to the tooth. Your dentist then trims, shapes, and polishes it.
  5. Dental Bridge: If you’re missing one or more teeth, you might be a candidate for a bridge. A bridge is a fixed oral appliance that is an excellent way to fill the gap created by missing teeth.

Where to Get a Dental Crown

Dental crowns are typically provided by dentists or prosthodontists, professionals who specialize in restorative dentistry. Here are some places where you can get a dental crown:

  1. Local Dental Clinics: Your local dental clinic is the most common place to get a dental crown. Dentists at these clinics can assess your condition and recommend the best type of crown for your needs.
  2. Dental Schools: Dental schools often offer dental services, including crowns, at a reduced cost. These services are performed by dental students under the supervision of experienced faculty members.
  3. Specialty Dental Practices: Some dental practices specialize in prosthodontics, the branch of dentistry that focuses on dental prosthetics, including crowns. These practices may offer more types of crowns and advanced treatment options.
  4. Dental Chains: There are national and regional chains of dental clinics that offer a wide range of services, including dental crowns. These chains often have standardized pricing and accept a variety of insurance plans.
  5. Online Dental Services: Some online platforms connect patients with dentists and other dental service providers. You can consult with a dentist virtually and then be referred to a local provider for treatment.

Remember, the cost, quality, and type of dental crowns can vary greatly depending on where you go. It’s important to do your research, understand your options, and consult with a dental professional before making a decision.


Choosing the right type of dental crown and understanding its cost is crucial for maintaining your dental health. Always consult with your dentist to determine the best option for your specific needs. Remember, the goal is to ensure you have a healthy and beautiful smile!

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