Types of Dental Crowns: A 2023 Guide To Costs, Procedure & Treatment

Dental health is an integral part of our overall well-being, and sometimes, maintaining that health requires restorative treatments like dental crowns. Dental crowns act as a protective cover for a damaged tooth, restoring the tooth’s function and enhancing its aesthetics. 

Here’s our 2023 comprehensive guide to the different types of dental crowns, their costs, the procedures involved, and how to care for them post-treatment. With this information, you can confidently discuss your options with your dentist and make an informed decision that best suits your oral health needs.

Understanding Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps placed over damaged or decayed teeth to restore their shape, size, and strength and improve their appearance. They encase the entire weak tooth and are a great option for people who want a natural-looking and cost-effective way to save their natural teeth. 

You may need a dental crown if you have:

  • weakened teeth due to poor dental hygiene or severe tooth decay
  • a worn-down or broken tooth
  • a badly discolored tooth that can’t be fixed with whitening
  • misshapen teeth

Types of Dental Crowns

You have a variety of options when it comes to dental crowns; each type made from different materials, and each with its unique advantages and disadvantages. We’ll break down the different types of crowns and their average cost so you can budget and prepare for your dental crown procedure.

1. Metal Crowns

Average cost: $800 – $2500 per tooth

Metal crowns are a traditional choice, often composed of different types of metal with a high content of gold alloy or platinum, or base-metal alloys like cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium.

Pros: The metal structure is extremely durable and can withstand biting and chewing forces very well, yet they are thinner than porcelain or other types of crowns. They are an excellent option for molars.

Cons: Their metallic color makes them more visible than porcelain or ceramic crowns, so they are typically only used on molars that aren’t visible when smiling. They can be more expensive than other types of crowns due to the cost of precious metals. Some people with metal allergies may experience an allergic reaction to metal crowns.

2. Stainless Steel Crowns

Average cost: $300 – $500 per tooth

Stainless steel crowns are typically used on baby teeth primarily as a temporary measure and are most commonly used in pediatric dentistry. In adults, a stainless steel crown is often used as a temporary crown while a permanent crown is fabricated.

Pros: These crowns are cost-effective and can be placed in one visit, saving time and reducing the need for multiple appointments. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it.

Cons: Because of their metallic color, they are easily noticeable and therefore not usually used for front teeth. In some cases, they might also cause gum irritation.

3. Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) Crowns

Average cost: $500 – $1500 per tooth

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) crowns are a popular option that combines both porcelain material and metal in its structure. These crowns are designed to offer the strength of metal with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain, giving you the best of both worlds.

Pros: One of the main advantages of PFM crowns is their balance of durability and aesthetics. They are stronger than all-porcelain crowns and more natural-looking than metal crowns. This makes them a popular choice for both front and back teeth restorations.

Cons: The crown’s porcelain layer can sometimes become visible as a dark line near the gum line, especially if your gums recede. The porcelain part can also chip or break off, and though this is less common, it can compromise the aesthetics.

4. All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain Crowns

Average cost: $800 – $3000 per tooth

These crowns, also known as zirconia crowns, provide the best natural color match of any crown type and are a more suitable option for patients with metal allergies. These crowns have gained popularity due to their superior strength, longevity, and aesthetics.

Pros: They are naturally white and translucent, closely mimicking a natural tooth color. They are resistant to cracking and can withstand significant chewing forces, making them ideal for restoring back teeth. 

5. Composite Resin Crowns

Average cost: $400 – $1000 per tooth

Composite resin crowns are a type of dental crown made from a blend of plastic material and fine glass particles, providing a balance of strength and aesthetic appeal. These are often the crown of choice for people who need a dental restoration on a budget.

Pros: Since the crown materials can be tailored to the precise color of your natural teeth, these crowns can be an excellent choice for front teeth restorations where aesthetic appearance is of primary concern. Composite resin crowns typically require the least amount of tooth preparation compared to other types of crowns. They are also typically the most affordable type of custom crown.

Cons: They aren’t as strong as other more durable crowns, such as porcelain or metal, and are more prone to fractures, especially when used on back teeth that bear a significant amount of chewing force.

The Dental Crown Procedure

The procedure is usually done in two dental visits. In your initial visit, your dentist will inspect the tooth and take X-rays to ensure it can hold a crown. If issues like decay or infection are found, additional procedures may be required. Your dentist will then numb the tooth and surrounding area and reshape the natural tooth structure to accommodate the crown. If necessary, the tooth may be built up using filling material. A dental impression is made and sent to a dental laboratory for crown fabrication. Meanwhile, a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth to protect it.

In your second office visit, your dentist will replace the temporary crown with the permanent one, ensuring it fits perfectly and matches your teeth color. After numbing the tooth again, the crown is cemented into place. Some sensitivity and soreness may follow but should subside in a few days. Contact your dentist if discomfort persists.

Learn More About Dental Crowns at Children’s Dentistry of Manatee

Choosing the right dental crown is a balance between cost, durability, and aesthetics. Dental insurance often covers a portion of the cost, but this can vary greatly depending on the insurance company and the specific policy. If you’d like to learn more about your crown options, contact our dental office today! You’re on the right path to a beautiful smile!