If your dentist just told you to schedule an appointment to get a crown, you may have a lot of questions running through your head. You might be wondering what the process will be like, or what you should expect before, during, and after having this major dental procedure done. And on top of all of that, you’re probably already starting to think about the cost of dental crowns, whether you already have dental insurance or not.
While dental crowns can be very expensive, a dental insurance plan can help you save hundreds of dollars on the cost of treatment. It can also help cover the cost of similar restorative dental treatment, such as dental bridges, dentures, and partial dentures.
Cost of dental crowns with insurance
A dental crown is a type of restorative dental treatment that covers a tooth and typically restores it to its normal shape, size, and function. It can help make your tooth stronger, improve its appearance, and protect a weak tooth from breaking.
Your dentist may suggest you need a crown if you¹:
Have a cavity that doesn’t have enough original tooth to support a filling
Have a missing tooth and need a dental bridge
Need to cover a dental implant
Have a tooth that is cracked or weakened
Just received root canal treatment
Would like to cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth to improve your smile
The dental crown procedure is typically a two-visit treatment, similar to a ceramic or porcelain treatment. During the first visit, your dentist will prepare your tooth by removing any decay and grinding the tooth down. Then, they will fit you for your dental crown by taking an impression of your tooth and insert a temporary dental crown that should last until your second visit. During your second visit, they will place your permanent dental crown that has been custom-made in a lab².
The average cost of a crown on a molar will typically depend on where you live, the dentist you visit, the tooth that requires a crown, and the materials used.
If you’re looking for a tooth-colored crown, a porcelain crown might be your best bet. These are usually the most lifelike, aesthetically pleasing option. While they are durable, metal options tend to be stronger and cost less³.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective and durable crown and you aren’t so concerned about your crown blending in with the rest of your smile, metal crowns might be a good way to go. Porcelain fused to metal crowns, also known as silver crowns, are a budget-friendly option for front or back teeth⁴.
The average cost of a crown without insurance is between $1,000 to $3,500⁵. Metal crowns usually may cost less than ceramic or porcelain tooth-colored crowns. This estimate doesn’t typically include any additional procedures that may need to be done, such as root canal treatment or anesthesia. It also doesn’t typically include the cost of replacing your crowns after 10 to 15 years though results vary depending upon your unique consideration.
Dental insurance can help you cover the cost of dental crown treatment. Dental crowns are typically categorized as a major procedure. Many dental insurance plans, such as Guardian Direct® Achiever and Core plans, respectively cover a percentage of the cost of dental crowns at up to 50% after a waiting period and subject to maximum premium requirements. This puts the average cost of a dental crown with insurance closer to $500 to $1,750.
Be sure to review your insurance plan carefully, as some types of dental crowns may not be covered by your dental insurance. Dental insurance also usually does not cover elective or cosmetic procedures. If you’re looking to get a crown on a tooth that does not need it simply to improve your smile, or if you choose to get a certain type of crown that your dental insurance doesn’t cover, you may be responsible to pay the full cost of treatment even if you have dental insurance.
Dental bridge cost estimate
A dental bridge is a restoration that fits into space where one or more teeth are missing. It only replaces the visible portion of the tooth above the gum line. Dental bridges don’t just serve an aesthetic purpose – they also help restore your bite, keep the natural shape of your face, and help ensure that the rest of your healthy teeth stay strong and in place⁶.
Getting a dental bridge usually takes multiple dental visits. On the first visit, your dentist will typically prepare the teeth on either side of the gap to be fitted with crowns. The bridge will later be attached to those teeth. Your dentist will then fit you for your dental crown and insert a temporary bridge that will last until your next visit. Then, your dentist will fix or cement the custom-made permanent bridge to the prepared teeth. You may have to return to the dentist for one or more follow-up visits to adjust the bridge⁷.
The average cost of a dental bridge typically varies depending on your location, the dentist you visit, how many teeth need replacing, and the materials used to make them. There are three common materials used to make dental bridges⁸:
Porcelain - Porcelain dental bridges are made up of tooth-colored porcelain. They are the most natural-looking but typically not the most durable, making them ideal for front teeth.
Porcelain and metal - Porcelain and metal bridges are made of porcelain-covered metal. They’re an ideal choice for back teeth since they’re stronger yet still look relatively natural.
Metal - All-metal dental bridges do not look natural, but they are typically affordable and durable. They’re usually used on back teeth.
Dental bridges can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,500 per tooth⁹. All-porcelain crowns tend to cost the most, followed by porcelain and metal crowns and all-metal crowns. How much you actually end up paying out-of-pocket will depend on your location and the coverage provided by your dental insurance among other factors.
How much does a dental bridge cost with insurance?
Many dental insurance plans, such as Guardian Direct Core and Guardian Direct Achiever dental insurance plans, cover up to 50% of dental bridge costs after a waiting period. This puts the average dental bridge cost with insurance at around $350 to $750 per tooth, compared to $700 to $1,500 per tooth without insurance¹⁰.
Your dental insurance coverage, location, and bridge materials used aren’t a few of the factors you’ll have to consider before getting a dental bridge. Your dentist will also be able to help you choose which type of dental bridge is the right option for your needs. There are four main types of dental bridges¹¹:
Traditional bridge - This consists of artificial teeth being held in place by tooth crowns.
Cantilever - Similar to a traditional bridge, but it only requires one natural tooth next to the missing tooth gap.
Maryland - Similar to traditional bridges but they require two natural teeth on each side of the gap. Unlike a traditional bridge that uses crowns on top of your natural teeth, Maryland bridges use metal or porcelain bonded to the back of your natural teeth.
Implant-supported bridge - This bridge is ideal if multiple teeth are missing as it requires tooth implants for placement.
Be sure to review your dental insurance plan carefully so you know what types of dental bridges and what materials are covered in your plan.
How much do dentures cost without insurance?
Dentures are another common option for replacing missing teeth. They are a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues, that may be ideal if you’re missing all or most of your teeth. The cost of full dentures varies a great deal depending on where you live, the materials used, the size of the denture, whether you require any extractions, and whether you choose to get removable dentures or have your dentures implanted in the jaw.
Full dentures ranging from low-cost, mid-priced and premium dentures, can cost anywhere from $600 to $50,000 without insurance¹².
How much do partial dentures cost without insurance?
Partial dentures are typically ideal if you’re missing some but not all of your teeth. Like full dentures, they are a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding dentures. The cost of partial dentures depends on where you live, what materials are used, how many teeth need replacing, and whether you choose to get removable dentures or have your partial dentures implanted in the jaw.
The cost of removable partial dentures ranges from $1,000 to $1,500, while the cost of fixed partial dentures ranges from $1,300 to $3,000 or more without insurance¹³.
How much do major dental procedures cost? – Insights
Dental insurance can help you not only take better care of your smile and save on the cost of routine dental care but also help you take care of any more serious problems that might arise. Learn more about the average cost of dental care like crowns, dental bridges, and dentures.
How much does dental insurance cost? Learn about premium and out-of-pocket costs of dental insurance.
Not sure how you’ll cover the cost of a dental crown? Learn how dental insurance helps with the cost of crowns.
Missing teeth don't just affect your smile. Learn how missing teeth can hurt your oral health.
Interested in purchasing dental insurance, but not sure where to start? Ask yourself these four questions first.
Does dental insurance cover dental implants? Learn how dental insurance may help you cover those costs.
Does dental insurance cover dentures? Learn how dental insurance may help you cover those costs.
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.
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https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Crowns.pdf, accessed January 2021
https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Crowns.pdf, accessed January 2021