Did you know that dental crowns are one of the most common services provided by dentists from all across the US? There’s a good reason for that – crowns are one of the most effective ways to restore a tooth that has been badly damaged. But crowns serve other purposes as well. These restorations are used in dental implants and bridges to replace missing teeth. And although crowns come in a variety of materials, porcelain is one of the most popular. In this article, we explore the different types of crowns available and why porcelain is such a common choice among dental patients. We also explain what porcelain crowns might cost, so you can be better prepared should you and your dentist decide that this type of restoration is right for you.
Types of Dental Crowns
A crown is a dental restoration that is designed to cover the entire surface of a tooth, from the top right down to the gum line. Crowns come in a variety of different materials, including the following:
- Metal – Crowns made of metal are considered to be the strongest and most durable of all. Typically made from metal alloy – such as chromium and nickel-chromium, for example – metal crowns can also be made from gold. Although these crowns are more obvious and visible than other tooth-colored options, their superior strength makes them an excellent choice for molars located in the back of the mouth – the teeth that must withstand the biting pressure needed to chew food on a daily basis.
- Ceramic –Crowns made from ceramic material are not as strong as those made from metal, but they offer another advantage: they can be made to very closely match the shade of the patient’s natural teeth. This makes ceramic crowns a great choice for a tooth located in the front of the mouth, where the tooth is visible when the person smiles but doesn’t need to withstand the biting pressure of a molar.
- Porcelain – This material is one of the most popular choices for crowns and for good reason: not only can dental porcelain be made to very closely resemble the shade and shape of a natural tooth, it is also more durable than other tooth-colored materials. The beautiful appearance of dental porcelain, combined with its strength and durability, make it an excellent choice for many dental patients.
- Metal fused to another material – Crowns made from metal fused to another material are an appealing option for two reasons: 1) They are tooth-colored and less obvious than metal crowns, and; 2) they are stronger than crowns made with no metal. These crowns are typically made from a porcelain-fused-to-metal material (also referred to as “PFM”). While these crowns do offer some advantages, the metal has a tendency to show up as a dark line around the gum line after a certain amount of time.
- Zirconia – One material that has only recently begun to be used in dental crowns is zirconia (zirconium oxide), which is a type of ceramic. Although zirconia is stronger than many other materials, that may not always be an advantage. In fact, there is some concern about the material actually wearing down other teeth. The other possible downside to zirconia is that it may not be as aesthetically attractive as materials such as ceramic and porcelain.
- Resin – The least expensive type of crown available is one made from resin. Unfortunately, these crowns are also the least durable. In fact, resin crowns have a tendency to wear down quicker and are more likely to crack and chip than crowns made from other materials.
Why the Cost of Crowns Can Vary So Much
Before we talk about the cost of porcelain crowns, you should know that determining an exact cost is virtually impossible without having a one-on-one conversation with your dentist. It’s important to understand that there are many factors that play a role in that cost, including:
- The type of material the crown is made of
- The size of the crown
- Which tooth requires a crown (a molar as opposed to a front tooth, for example)
- How badly the tooth is damaged and what is required to prepare the tooth for a crown
- The fees charged by your dentist
- The region of the country where you live
- Whether or not you have a dental insurance policy that will cover a portion of the cost
When it comes to the type of material, it’s important to remember that although porcelain is generally not as expensive as gold, it is more costly than some other materials. Still, many people prefer porcelain because of its appearance, strength, and durability.
What You Can Expect to Pay for a Porcelain Crown
Taking all of the variables above into consideration, you can expect that a new porcelain crown will probably cost between $1,200 and $2,700. This cost will likely include any work the dentist has to do to prepare the tooth to receive the crown, as well as the manufacture of the restoration itself, and the dentist affixing the crown onto the tooth. Remember, if you have insurance, most policies will cover at least a portion of the cost of a crown.
So what do porcelain crowns cost? The only way to know for sure is to contact your dentist and schedule an appointment to discuss your specific situation and how much you can expect to pay for a porcelain crown. During that visit, your dentist can also give you an oral exam to determine your current state of oral health, as well as what additional work needs to be done prior to getting your new crown. While it’s true that porcelain crowns are among the most popular, they may not be the right choice for everyone. If your affected tooth is located in the back of your mouth, for example, your dentist may suggest a metal crown or a PFM (porcelain-fused-to-metal) crown to provide more strength to the molar. The only way to know for sure is to call your dentist today and schedule an appointment.