Dental crown cost

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How dental insurance helps with the cost of crowns.

Dental crowns are very common procedures. Crowns are typically use to solve a number of dental problems like bridging missing teeth, helping to support weak teeth, and protecting a tooth implant¹. Dental crowns typically aren’t cheap, but if you have dental insurance your insurance should make crowns affordable to you..

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Your dentist just recommended a dental crown be put on one of your teeth. While this may not be welcome news, crowns are often recommended to protect the integrity of your tooth; delaying care today may lead to further damage costing you more in the long term, so it is best to address it as soon as possible.

Before you schedule your appointment, it is important to understand not only the purpose of a crown, but the costs involved so you can make an informed decision. Learn what crowns are, why they are needed, how much they cost, and how insurance coverage can help make crowns affordable.

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 breaking².

The dental crown procedure is typically a two-visit treatment, similar to a ceramic or porcelain treatment. During the first visit, your dentist will typically prepare your tooth by removing any decay and grinding the tooth down. Then, they will typically 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 typically place your permanent dental crown that has been custom-made in a lab³.

The average dental crown cost for 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 among other factors.

What is a dental crown?

The crown of the tooth is the visible area above the gum line, and the crowns are the part of your teeth you can see when you smile. When this is damaged, a dentist may recommend an artificial crown to act as a “cap” that protects the rest of the tooth.

A crown may be made of many types of materials such as porcelain, a composite resin, a combination of porcelain and metal, or a metal alloy.

Do you need a dental crown?

An artificial dental crown may be needed as advised by your dentist, typically if you:

  • Chip a tooth

  • Develop a cavity that a filling cannot fully cover

  • Have a filling that wears down over time, causing the cavity below it to expand

  • Have severe tooth decay that weakens the enamel

Benefits of dental crowns

A dental crown can help protect the tooth from further damage while restoring its look and functionality. For instance, if a tooth has decayed severely and the enamel is weakened, you may experience tooth sensitivity. A crown can act as a barrier, like the original enamel, and help restore the integrity of the tooth⁴.

Even if you don’t have a damaged tooth, your dentist may advise a crown to help restore the cosmetic look of your smile such as through color-matching a discolored tooth to the rest of your teeth. Dental insurance may or may not cover the cost of a crown done for aesthetic reasons, so be sure to read your policy before pursuing this option.

How to find the best dental insurance for when you need crowns

A study by the Health Policy Institute found that the average annual cost per patient for dental services was about $685 regardless if someone has insurance or not5But dental crown cost with insurance is typically more affordable than the cost of a crown without insurance. Basic services such as dental cleanings are often covered with dental insurance, reducing your out-of-pocket costs. Insurance also helps cover some or all of the costs of procedures, such as getting a dental crown.

The cost of a dental crown can vary based on a several factors such as:

  • What your insurance covers

  • The amount of your deductible

  • Additional work the dentist might need to perform

  • If there are other services you are receiving that day, such as a filling for a cavity

On average, the costs for crowns can range from $600 to $1,500 per crown⁵.

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If you’re looking for a tooth-colored crown, a porcelain crown might be the right choice for you. These are usually the most lifelike, aesthetically pleasing option. While they are durable, metal options tend to be stronger and cost less.

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 teeth⁶.

The average cost of a crown without insurance is between $1,000 to $3,500⁷. 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® top tier plans, respectively cover a percentage of the cost of dental crowns at up to 50% after a waiting period and subject to maximum benefit restrictions.

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 insurance that covers crowns

To find out what kind of dental crown insurance coverage you have, review your plan summary or talk to your insurance provider. You will have to consider your deductibles and maximums, as well as any waiting periods involved after your coverage start date. How much a dental crown costs will depend on many different factors so you should talk to your dentist about the cost of the crown then deduct the percentage that your insurance will cover.

Guardian Direct® has dental insurance plan types that can help with the cost of crowns. One plan type is called a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, and the other is called a Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plan.

Guardian Direct® PPO plans, called Guardian Dental Advantage PPO plans, can save up to 35% off dentists’ typical charges for in-network services thanks to Guardian® 's negotiated rates. There are no waiting periods for preventive care, meaning you can have cleanings, X-rays, and exams done as soon as you become a member.

DMHO plans under Guardian® are called Guardian Managed DentalGuard® plans and are currently only available on the Exchange. Guardian Managed DentalGuard® plans also come with different coverages. For instance, DHMO plans have no waiting periods and there is no maximum dollar payout for each benefit year. Services, percentages covered, and waiting periods vary, so the best way to know what is covered is to contact Guardian Direct® with your questions.

If your current dental insurance plan does not offer the coverage you need to cover the cost of a dental crown, you may still receive a preferred rate on services from in-network providers. However, when you are shopping for dental insurance, you should be thinking of long-term needs. If a crown is something you may need and your current coverage is lacking, it may be time to find a comprehensive dental insurance plan.

Average cost of a dental crown

How much does a dental crown cost? The types of dental crowns and costs vary from dentist to dentist and place to place, so it’s difficult to come up with a nationwide average cost. But without insurance in most places a single porcelain fused to metal crown cost anywhere from $500-$1500⁸. With an insurance plan from a provider like Guardian Direct you could pay up to 50% of that cost depending on the plan that you choose.

How much dental crowns cost without insurance & Insights

At Guardian Direct we know that people worry about the cost of dental care and often put off the care they need because of the cost. But insurance can make crowns affordable even if you have a tight budget. Learn more about how insurance can help pay for dental crowns. Also take a look through our library of other dental care topics to find insights on why good dental health is important for your overall health, what dental care you may need, and the benefits of dental insurance so that you can make an informed choice when it comes to choosing dental insurance.


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