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 could 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 more affordable.
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.1
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 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 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 restore the integrity of the tooth.
Even if you don’t have a damaged tooth, you may want a crown to 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.
What do crowns cost?
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 not.2 Basic services such as dental cleanings are often covered with dental insurance, reducing your out-of-pocket costs. Insurance also covers 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 can range from $600 to $1,500 per crown.3
Will my insurance cover dental 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.
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 Gold, Silver, and Bronze 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 only available in some states. 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 discount 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 better dental insurance plan.