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Dental Crowns & Tooth Caps: Costs, Procedure & FAQ

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 259369)

Dental Crowns Guide - Header Image

Do you think you might need a crown fitted to your tooth?

Perhaps you have already been told that you need to have one.

From explaining what a crown actually is, to what it is made of to the cost this guide covers all of the important information that you should and will likely want to know about crowns.

What is a dental crown?

A crown is a man made (artificial) covering that fits over the remaining part of a prepared natural tooth.

It is an option that exists within dentistry to restore strength and aesthetics to teeth.

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Why would I need a crown?

Custom mate for each patient a crown has a functional as well as an aesthetic purpose.

3 major reasons as to why you might need a crown are as follows:

  • To improve the way a tooth looks or feels within the mouth (cosmetic)
  • To restore a broken, damaged or decayed tooth (function)
  • To add strength to a weakened tooth (function)
  • To protect a tooth with a root filling (function)
  • To help create a fixed bridge (cosmetic and function)
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Some people decide a crown is for them if they are trying to cosmetically improve the look of their teeth and smile, but most people are advised to get a crown based on the routine inspections dentists make.

Accidents or disease can weaken or damage a tooth and require it to be capped with a crown, but dental decay or caries as it is otherwise known is often the primary reason a crown is necessary.

Cleaning and fillings can resolve some decay, but there comes a point where the decay is so great that alternative approaches are required.

In the past tooth extraction might well have been the approach, but it brings with it other implications and dentists today will always try and save the natural tooth if they can.

A procedure called root canal treatment can save the root of the tooth, but the more fragile tooth structure needs to be capped for strength and protection.

The tooth anatomy

To better understand the role of the crown it is useful to take a look at the structure or anatomy of the natural tooth.

As the image below depicts, each tooth has what is known as a crown, the top outer layer that sits primarily above the gumline.

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The natural tooth crown is what we see when we look at our own or other people’s teeth.  It is what comes into contact with food and drink we consume, and is the main surfaces we clean when brushing and flossing.

If this natural tooth crown is damaged or weakened, it cannot perform as it was designed to.

If pieces of the crown break off, the dentin and pulp inside the tooth can become exposed and then damaged or infected.  This then impacts our oral health and the way we live day to day life.

Dental treatment can overcome this and the artificial crown we detail in this guide is one option.

It essentially replaces the natural crown to restore the tooth to remain functional and visually appealing.

What is the difference between a dental crown and a cap?

There is no difference between a dental crown or a cap, they are the same thing.

A ‘dental crown’ is the more technically correct terminology whereas a ‘cap’ is a more convenient and often more understood term by the general public.

Cap or crown, they do the same thing.

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Partial crown

The dental crown will typically cover three quarters or more of the tooth, most often, all of it.

A partial crown is a much smaller artificial option that is made to cover a section of the tooth, rather than all of it.

To successfully cap a tooth, dentists do need to adapt the natural tooth structure to give them surfaces to essentially glue the crown to and restore a natural looking and functioning tooth structure.  These partial crowns however require fewer changes to the natural tooth, keeping more of it than if you had a traditional cap..

Also known as inlays, onlays or three quarter crowns they are an alternative option to a full crown.

As highlighted in the following video, a partial crown is in some cases a better alternative and technology such as CEREC (explained shortly) can really help do away with the need for the full crown.

Do NOT Crown Your Tooth! - Partial Crown (Cosmetic Dentistry)

History of dental crowns

Evidence suggests that gold and other materials were used to create crowns and bridges by the  Etruscan civilisation dating back as far as 800 BC.

However, in more modern history was in 1889 that the all-porcelain “jacket” crown (PCJ) made from porcelain was created by Charles H. Land.

After improvements by E.B. Paulding, the crown was introduced in the early 1900s and extensively used until the 1950s.

Microcracking was an issue with these crowns though.  This happened during the cooling phase of the fabrication and caused issues to the crown and the tooth and gum that sat beneath it.  Despite not lasting all that long, whilst in place it was effective.

Abraham Weinstein developed the porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crown in the late 1950s.

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Weinstein’s PFM addressed the structural issues of the PCJ but brought with it a less pleasing look than the all porcelain option as a small amount of metal was visible on the edges of the crown.

In 1965 a new version of the all porcelain crown was developed by W. McLean and T.H. Hughes and brought about a resurgence in its popularity.  It was twice as strong as the original PCJ.

As these developments took place, the Corning Glass works played with different processes to produce a glass ceramic option.  Dicor crowns were introduced but ultimately were abandoned due as they were prone to failing.

It was in the 1990s that the first dependable crowns without a metal base came into existence.

Marking a turning point in crown development Nobel Biocare introduced the Procera AllCeram Core which made using computer aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) to produce crowns made of alumina and fused with glass ceramics.

Tie in the growth or the cosmetic industry and the result is the array of f ceramic restorations we have available today.

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What is a dental crown made from?

Today there is more choice than ever in materials that are used to produce a crown.

Each have their pros and cons, with some being more stronger than others whilst some materials look more natural than another.

It is about finding the material that is best for you and your individual dental health and budget.

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The most common options available are:

  • Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)/Porcelain Bonded Crown (PBC)
    • A strong metal crown is formed and then coated in layers of porcelain to give a more natural look.
    • The porcelain has a tooth coloured appearance.
    • The metal at the back means less tooth needs to be removed and so protects the natural tooth.
    • Most commonly used it is a blend between strength and the aesthetics.
  • All porcelain
    • Made entirely from porcelain these crowns give the most realistic natural tooth look and are used most often on the front teeth. They are more fragile than most other materials.
    • A significant amount of tooth needs to be removed for thick enough porcelain to be placed to reduce chance of breakage.
  • All ceramic
    • Free of metals, a crown of this type is as strong as a bonded crown, but has the appearance similar to that of a porcelain crown.  It is therefore a suitable option for use in all areas of the mouth.
    • A significant amount of tooth needs to be removed for thick enough porcelain to be placed to reduce chance of breakage.
  • All resin
    • A more cost effective alternative, resin crowns wear down and do not last as long as they are more prone to fracture.
    • Does not require a lot of removal of tooth structure.
  • All metal
    • Made completely of metal, notably nickel, cobalt and chromium this can include precious metals such as gold.  However, today gold is mixed with other metals to create an alloy as on its own it is too soft. Although made of a gold metal alloy, the crown still looks gold and can contain anything from 20-77% pure gold.
    • Subject to the metals used they have either a silver or gold look to them.
    • Hard wearing.
    • Can be used in very thin layers, so only small amount of tooth needs to be removed, protecting the natural tooth
    • They do not have the natural tooth look.
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You might well read this list and know exactly what type of crown you would want.  However, the dentist can give extra insight that might make you rethink your decision.

Which material is used for a crown will depend on where the tooth is, the amount of natural tooth remaining, and the cost of the material too.

Personal budget and personal circumstances such as your individual bite and if you suffer with known conditions like tooth grinding (bruxism), may be a factor too.

If it is the front teeth, those most visible when you smile, you will likely want the most natural looking crowns, whereas with caps on the molars, you may not be quite so concerned, going for strength over aesthetics.

Temporary crowns

Temporary crowns are artificial caps for your teeth that are made from acrylic or composite materials and are designed to be placed onto a prepared natural tooth for a few weeks. They are in place whilst a final, custom made crown is manufactured by a laboratory.

Once removed, they are no longer used.

Usually made in the dentist’s office, they are more delicate and not quite as precisely colour matched or fitted to your mouth, they serve to protect the more sensitive natural tooth and allow you to function with a certain sense of normality until such time as your final crown is ready for fitting.

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Designing a crown

Creating artificial crowns just like veneers and dentures is an art form.

How well a crown is designed and looked can have significant impacts on those who are fitted with it.

There are 2 options when it comes to designing a crown.

Dental laboratory

The traditional option in crown manufacturing is using highly trained professionals, called technicians, who painstakingly create each crown by hand.  There are different techniques for different materials, but each individual crown takes hours to make.

Technological advances may have helped speed up some steps in the creation process, but the initial stage relies on a mould sent in from the dentist being used to skilfully build a crown to the specifications of the patient’s mouth, using the materials chosen.

For the most part, dental labs can can produce the best results thanks to their expertise, attention to detail and many hours spent crafting the component.

The main downside of the lab is the time it takes to be received, designed and returned to the dentists office.  Generally it takes 2-3 weeks.

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Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramic (CEREC) is also known as same day or single day dentistry.

Making use of the very latest in computer technology, it is possible to have crowns designed, manufactured and fitted in just one visit to the dentist’s office.

Many practices within the US are adopting this technology to deliver you and I as customers the best experience and results.

Speed is the big advantage here.

It is possible to have crowns designed, manufactured and fitted in just one visit to the dentist’s office.

State of the art CAD/CAM technology is used,  starting with a digital scanner to scan the teeth in your mouth.  his is uploaded to a computer and CAD/CAM technology is used y your dentist to design the crown to fit your tooth, taking into consideration all data gained from their hands on assessment and x-rays.

With more traditional methods, it can take a long time to perfect and adjust a crown, but computer technology speeds this process up and gives extra tools and visualisations that can limit any errors and reduce the chances of design error whilst also producing smaller crowns.

Once designed by the dentist, it is sent to an in office milling machine that can manufacture the crown in just 10 minutes.

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Different materials are used within these machines, it can include porcelain, but is often ceramics.

The process is quick and the resulting crown is aesthetically better than the porcelain fused to metal.

A CEREC manufactured crown could be a great option for teeth at the back of the mouth, but for the very best look, you may want to consider porcelain veneers for the front teeth.

Creating a crown is an art.  However, with the right skills and experience, the dentist can design some excellent crowns. You may wish to see examples from other cases.

Getting a dental crown – the process

The process of getting a crown is made up of 2 key stages, the preparation and the fitting stage.

These 2 stages take place over 2 separate visits a few weeks apart from each other.

Prior to these stages will likely be the consultation or checkup that discovers you need a crown and explains what is involved, the cost and ultimately seeks your approval to go ahead with the treatment.

Assuming you fully understand why it is you need a crown, you understand all the associated information and commit to the cost, the surgical elements of the procedure are as follows.

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Visit 1 – Preparation

This is the stage where your natural tooth is made ready to accept the crown that will be designed specifically for you.

Before any work is undertaken on the tooth, the dentist first needs to prepare and make sure you can have a crown with no health implications.  This will often be done prior to this visit and will involve an x-ray and performing a clinical assessment of the teeth.

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Prior to the dentist using specialist tools to grind down the surface of the tooth, the area around the tooth will normally be given a local anaesthetic, which means it will be numbed and you should not feel any sensitivity or pain. If the tooth has already had a root filling, there is no nerve left, and this step may not be necessary.

If there are loose or missing metal fillings the dentist may need to actually ‘build up’ the tooth to restore some height , structure and shape – this is called a core. They can then go on and create space for the crown.

There needs to be at least 2mm of natural tooth all the way around the tooth for the crown to stick on, known as a chamfer. Without this, the crown is only stuck on to the filling, and it will snap off under pressure.

To give the strength to crowns, most materials need to be 1-2mm thick.  This gives enough depth to the crown to last several years in the mouth and endure the pressures that it will be exposed to without the material cracking under pressure.

As a consequence, the existing natural tooth needs to be thinned by the same amount for fitting.

This thinning is usually 1-2mm to ensure that the cap is designed to replace the natural crown of the tooth and will fit snugly.

Just a couple of mm may not sound all that much, but this is quite invasive when you actually consider the thickness of a tooth and the process involves removing the majority of, if not all of the enamel on the exterior of the tooth.

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As it is removed, a process of shaping is performed to provide an ideal surface onto which the artificial tooth crown can be fitted. The tooth surfaces are straight, or very slightly tapered (thinner towards the biting surface of the tooth), this helps prevent the crown slipping off when it has been stuck down.

As mentioned previously a root canal treatment is one such example of a procedure that may well have to be completed.  A point to note here is that with such treatment a post may well be put into the tooth root to help support the the tooth and crown, to the surface of the tooth may will be manipulated differently.

When the dentist is complete with the shaping, the impressions or digital scans (if using CEREC) will be taken.

The dentist needs to take an impression of both upper and lower arches.

Although you may need a crown on the bottom row of teeth, the crown needs to be made to fit in with your bite.  When the upper and lower jaw close on each other, there needs not to be an awkward alignment of the teeth, which would be possible if the other impression was not taken.

It is at this point too, the color of your teeth will be assessed and recorded to ensure the crown matches (if a color matched crown is being used).

These moulds are then sent off to the lab for the crown to be made.  In the meantime you will be fitted with a temporary crown and sent home before returning in a few weeks time.

If you have chosen to use a dental professional that is using CEREC the scans will be fed into a computer and the dentist will there and then design the crown.

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Making the crown on site saves time and does away with the need for temporary crowns and no need for a 2nd visit.

However, the extra benefit here is that CEREC and CAD/CAM technology allows for crowns or more notably partial crowns to be created in such a way that more of the natural tooth can be retained, with less need for a traditional approach to tooth preparation

Assuming it is preparation for the crown only and no other dental work required, from start, expect the process to take 30-60 minutes.

Fitting – 2nd visit

Several weeks on from the preparation stage you will be booked into the dental office to get the crown fitted, once it is back from the dental lab.

This is a much quicker and less involved process, but still very important as the crown needs to be positioned correctly to stay in place for the years to come.

It does require local anaesthetic again to make the area numb whilst the dentist does what they need to do.

The temporary crown will be removed and the natural tooth that is below cleaned up in preparation for the new and final crown.

Before it is cemented in place the dentist will position the crown to check the fit of the crown. the alignment with other teeth as well as assessing your bite.  They will also check you are happy with the colour if the tooth is easily seen.

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It is possible that the dentist will have to make some small adjustments to the crown or to your tooth stump. In the worst case scenarios, which are rare, it will have to be stopped because the crown simply does not fit right.  If this happens, new moulds will be taken and the temporary crown re-placed.

Providing they are happy, the dental cement (glue) will be placed inside the crown and the crown will be positioned over the prepared tooth.

Pressure will be applied to help form a seal and push out any excess cement, which will of course be removed.

This is the fitting complete.

This stage of the process should take on average 20-40 minutes to complete.

If opting for CEREC based treatment, this fitting would take place the same day as the tooth was prepared.


Compared to root canal treatment as an example there is little or no recovery time associated with a crown.

Rarely will pain or serious discomfort be felt.

That said you do need to be aware of a few things as part of the treatment.

Because the crowning process is carried out over 2 visits and a local anaesthetic is used each time there are theoretically 2 different recovery periods.

In both instances you can expect the numbness to last for up to a few hours after the dental visit. There may be mild sensitivity to hot and cold for a couple of days because of the drilling on the tooth. This will subside and you should not have any pain thereafter.

The temporary crown that is placed after the first visit is not as strong so you need to take some precautions.

It is in place to reduce the chances of sensitivity in the natural tooth and also give a better look to the tooth in between the stages of treatment.

Whilst wearing the temporary crown avoid chewy or sticky foods and some harder foods like carrots and apples.  It can be useful to bite more on the opposite side of the mouth to the crown.

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If you face any problems, pain or the crown comes loose, be sure to contact your dentist as soon as possible.

Another thing to be aware of is that when you floss you should be careful as the floss can catch on the side of the crown.  Slide the floss out sideways rather than pulling up and out like normal. It is important that you continue to clean between the teeth as the gum needs to be as healthy as possible when fitting the permanent crown.

Once the final crown has been fitted for the first few days avoid hard or sticky foods as the crown settles and secures into place.

As you might expect, post treatment and fitting the new crown may feel a bit strange and it may well take a couple of weeks to get completely used to it.  Although it will have been precision designed it will feel different to what you were used to.

If you have concerns post treatment, you should consult the dentist.

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How long do dental crowns last for?

There are several different factors that can affect and influence how long a crown lasts for.

2 of the biggest influences are you mouth condition and the care that you give to your mouth after having the crown fitted.

Good oral hygiene and a well aligned bite will aid with longevity, whilst decay, teeth grinding and  a misaligned bite will wear the crown more rapidly.

As a general rule dentists will suggest 5-15 years as an average for crowns.  Whilst they have not been designed to last a lifetime, they can last several decades.

With all crown preparations in teeth which have not been root treated, there is a risk (up to 25%) that the tooth will die off in the following 20 years.

How long do dental crowns last?

Research conducted in 2007 by a team at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium found there was no statistically significant difference in the long-term survival of complete crowns on vital abutments versus post-and-core complete crowns.

More recently in 2013, a study by the University of Sydney found that upon assessing 2,340 gold based metal-ceramic crowns, 97% were still in place at 10 years and 85% at 25 years.

By the very material makeup, ceramic crowns are more vulnerable to breaking or damage and will likely not last as long as metal alternatives.

However other factors that can influence just how long the crown lasts include:

  • Location of the tooth in the jaw
  • How well the crown was fitted
  • Habits such as chewing ice, fingernails, pens and removing bottle caps with teeth
  • Full or partial crown
  • Periodontal health (gum disease)
  • External trauma (accidents)

As well as the previously mentioned factors:

  • Condition of the supporting tooth
  • Oral hygiene and care of the crowned tooth
  • The teeth and jaw alignment when biting
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Materials used (gold, zirconia, porcelain fused to metal)
  • Proper manufacture and installation of the crown
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General wear and tear, can mean that PFM/PBC crowns will become chipped and the metal layer below becomes exposed.  This is not a major issue and the crown remains functional

If you suffer with receding gums, the metal edge of a PFM crown may become exposed over time. Keeping your gums as healthy as possible will reduce the risk of gum disease and gum recession.

Should any crown crack, chip or come off entirely, you need to consult your dentist as soon as possible.  Chips can be filled as a temporary solution, but ultimately the crown will need to be replaced.

Loose crowns might well be re-fitted, subject to the condition and reason for it coming loose in the first place.

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Replacing a crown

If a tooth has been crowned, when the existing crown fails, it will need to be crowned again, if there is enough tooth remaining.

Because the tooth is prepared for a crown before there are no other options, aside from extraction, which is more than likely not necessary and brings with it additional complications.

When fitting a crown for the 2nd time, the first stage of preparation that involves removing enamel is much easier and normally only involves minor adjustments.  A new impression will be taken to create the new crown.

The main reasons for replacement are:

  • Cracked, chipped or damaged crowns.
  • The crown is itself worn or has worn down other teeth.
  • The underlying tooth is experiencing decay.
  • The cosmetic appearance of the crown is changing.

If the crown is being replaced because of decay underneath the crown, there is a risk that when the decay is removed, there is not enough tooth remaining to hold a crown in the future. In this case, an extraction will most likely be recommended.

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Caring for crowns

Just because the top of the tooth has essentially been replaced, it does not mean that you need to forgo a proper oral healthcare routine.

In many respects there may well be an argument that you need to take even more care, particularly if decay was the reason that the crown was required in the first place.

Twice daily brushing is an absolute must, as is flossing.  Using a fluoride-containing toothpaste also provides protection against decay.

As the crown sits on the natural tooth which is fixed into the jaw and gum, it is still susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Depending on the design, the very edge of the crown will normally sit below the gumline slightly and not actually be visible.  However, when it comes to flossing, as the floss passes into and under the gum, it might well be that the floss catches on the very edge of the crown.

In this instance you may want to use interdental brushes, if you do not already.  Or you can look to use a water flosser, which is another very popular alternative, that does not rely on the physical contact.

It is advisable to seek regular professional cleanings by trained hygienists who can make use of their specialist skills and tools to ensure your teeth and crowns remain in optimum condition.

Of course, regular dental checkups is a must too. The training and expertise of the dentist will pick up on any issues with your dental health or the crown itself.

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How much does a crown cost?

The price you are expected to pay for a crown can vary quite a lot.

This article has already highlighted some of the reasons as to why this variation may exist, but another major factor is the dental office you go to.

If you are attending the most desirable and well regarded office in the city then expect to pay a higher price than perhaps an equally capable, but a lesser known dental in the suburbs.

But you want to know how much a crown will actually cost you, so here is a list of approximate costs for the different types of crowns.

  • Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)/Porcelain Bonded Crown (PCB) – $600-1800
  • All Porcelain Crown – $800-2000
  • All Ceramic Crown – $800-2000
  • All Resin Crown  – $300-700
  • All Metal Crown – $500-1500
  • CEREC Crown – $700-2000

If you need to have multiple crowns fitted as part of your treatment, there may well be a bit of cost saving, but do not expect a big discount as most of the cost comes in the production of the crown.

Whilst the crown is one cost, there will likely be other associated costs such as the consultation fee, x-rays and the charges for any other work that may have been done before fitting the crown.

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Are crowns covered by dental insurance?

Yes and no.

Sadly it is not a straightforward answer here and very much depends on your dental insurance plan.

Some policies will cover crowns, because they provide a function in the restoration of teeth and in many cases are necessary.  But, this may only apply when getting a particular type of crown, such as a PFM as opposed to a ceramic one.

Other policies will have limits or restrictions in place.  For example, it is common that an insurance policy will pay up to an amount (i.e $1000) or up to a percentage (i.e 50%).

Where there are limits you will be expected to pay the extra costs associated with the treatment.

Your policy may too have particular clauses in the document wording.  That this means, is a policy might well cover the cost of a crown, but you have to have had the policy for a certain period of time before they will pay out.

You need to consult your individual policy and find out what is or is not covered.

If you are not sure, it is best to speak to your insurance provider and ask.

What you can be pretty certain of, is that almost all policies will not cover crowns that are for cosmetic purposes only.  If there is nothing too wrong with your teeth but you want crowns to make them look better or straighter, or whiter, do not expect your insurance company to support you here.

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Overseas dental care

Book yourself into a dental practice in Mexico, Brazil or Costa Rica and there are some savings to be had.

A PFM crown can be $250-600 each, instead of the $600-1800 in the USA.

If you need multiple crowns, there can be some clear benefits to travelling as you can save a lot of money even with the travel and accommodation costs.

Although saving money can be helpful, if you insurance provider will contribute they will unlikely contribute to dental offices in other countries.

Consider when going abroad, it is more difficult to makes changes or get repairs completed. A US dentist may not have the same materials available, and it may even cost you more than your original trip. Also be wary about how the dental care is regulated abroad, and know where to go to if something goes wrong.

It will be up to you to weigh up the pros and cons of going overseas to complete such treatment, but if you decide it is the right choice for you, make sure you have done lots of research before coming to this conclusion.

Choosing a dentist

Whilst you may have a general dentist you visit for your routine checkups, it is not essential that you get a crown from that dental office.

There are thousands of trained dental professionals, some of which are specialists in certain fields of dental health.

Whilst a crowns primary purpose is one of function, it is really needs to look good and there are specialist cosmetic dentists who are excellent when it comes to creating that perfect crown.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has a tool available here that can help find a dentist in your area.

There are too those dental offices that can offer CEREC crowns where some others cannot.

If you want the convenience that comes with this, then you need to find professional and office that can offer such.

Whether it is your insurance company or you paying for the crown, a lot of money is being spent and you want to know the result will look good, your tooth will function normally and last for many years.

It does not hurt to get a 2nd opinion, or maybe a 3rd to understand your choices, but learn whether the dentist is right for you.

It is important you trust them, that they have a good reputation and experience.

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Alternative treatments

The alternative treatments available very much depends on the reasons why you think or have been told you need a crown in the first place.

If you already have a crown, then its a fairly straightforward process, there are no alternatives, another crown is your only option.

If however, the crown has been suggested because of damage or decay to the tooth, whilst a crown may be a obvious solutions it might well be that rather than a full crown a partial crown may be possible.

If a dentist suggests a crown it is important you ask questions in order to really understand why a crown is the best option.  That dentist may well be operating within the confines of their skills, and there may be other options available elsewhere.

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Some of the best results and alternative options come from those investing in modern technology like CEREC.  Such approaches can save more of your tooth and use less artificial products to restore your smile.

Ultimately you want a solution that is the least invasive, retains most of your natural tooth and is hopefully fairly cost effective, that always helps!

Dental crowns compared – summary

To help conclude all of the information presented within this guide the following table gives a quick summary of your choices when it comes to dental crowns and should hopefully help you on your path to making a decision as to what is right for you.

Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)/Porcelain Bonded Crown (PCB)All Porcelain CrownAll Ceramic CrownAll Resin CrownAll Metal CrownCEREC Crown
DescriptionA balance between strength and looks.Most natural looking crown, but weaker. Ideally suited to front teeth.Very close to natural look with good strength. Suited to all teeth.Cost-effective option that wear more easily and are prone to fracture.Incredibly strong, but gold or silver color can be less appealing. Best suited to rear teeth.Fast production and fitting retaining more or the natural tooth.
Expected lifetime (average)10-20+ years5-10+years5-10+years5 years10-20+ years10-20+ years


Dental crowns server 2 purposes, the first is functional, protecting your natural tooth, giving it extra strength and allowing you to live life normally.

The second function is the way it looks in your mouth and when you smile.

The specially crafted cap can last many years when looked after and can really help improve your life and confidence.

An expensive investment you need to consider your material options and the pros and cons associated with each and how you will pay for the treatment.

Cared for correctly, they can last for many years and be an investment you are proud of.

Whilst you have to make the right decision for yourself based on your circumstances and budget, we hope this guide has given you some extra insight and awareness of what is involved to allow you to make a more informed decision as part of your own research and consultations with dental professionals.


Dental crown vs cap

There is no difference between a dental crown or a cap, they are the same thing.

Does a dental crown hurt?

No, there should be no pain associated with getting a dental crown nor should it hurt.

This said, the grinding down of the tooth structure ready for the crown can result in the tooth becoming a little sensitive, particularly to hot and cold food stuffs.

Between the preparation and fitting stages of the procedure a temporary crown will be provided to help reduce the chances of sensitivity.

If an anaesthetic is used, you may feel a little discomfort as the numbing agent wears off, but the tooth nor crown should not really hurt, although it may feel slightly odd for a few days as you get used to it.

If you do experience pain you should contact the dentist for instruction on what to do.

Dental crown problems

When completed correctly, there should be no problems or complications with a dental crown.

However, there always remains the potential for problems to arise, this is more likely to be very soon after the fitting.

Whilst not all that common, possible issues with dental crowns may include:

  • Tooth pain – Ache, throbbing, pain when biting.
  • Sensitivity – Hot or cold foods or cool air.
  • Bite issues – Irregular bite, tenderness when biting.

Causes tend to be the crown not having been properly fitted, too much or not enough bonding agent may miss-align the crown with other teeth and cause an uneven or unnatural bite.  Whilst the dentist will have done what they can to check this when fitting, the numbing of the area may make it difficult for any patient to assess their bite until normal sensation is restored.

As the enamel of the tooth has to be worn away it has the potential to expose the softer, more delicate dentin and even pulp that sits under it and as such reactions to food drink and even cool air can exist.

The cause will need investigation by the dentist and if you are having problems or are concerned about a crown, you should seek their assistance.

Your comments and opinions

If you should have any questions, comments or opinions you would like to add to this guide, please do so, by commenting below.

Should you have or be going through the process of a dental crown yourself, why not share some feedback for others to take advantage of.


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About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise.

Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them.

Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s.

After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

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12 thoughts on “Dental Crowns & Tooth Caps: Costs, Procedure & FAQ”

  1. I am considering having 27 porcelain/ceramic (D2730) placed to correct excessively worn down teeth and will need one extraction with an implant and one possible 2 root canals. I live in central North Carolina and would like to know about what price to expect for the entire process which will include an MRI bone sturdy and full bite wing x-rays.
    Any ideas of cost this may entail. I am 74 yrs old and my dental insurance will not cover this.

    • Hi Steven,

      Thanks for the comment. We don’t offer prices for full mouth restorations/makeovers like this. Whilst it will be fairly expensive, you will likely save money per crown due to the number you are having.
      There are quite some variables here. I recommend getting a couple of quotes locally to compare and get personalized feedback on what you are considering.

  2. Hello and thank you very much. This information was so helpful and interesting too. You are doing a great and much needed service to the public Jon. Greatly appreciated out here!!!!!

  3. Can a dentist office who has a fee agreement with an HMO as a single fee for a crown tack on an additional MISC lab fee without a CDT code when the plan calls for the office to charge a specified amount?

    • Hi Janet.

      Sorry I cannot advise on this matter. I believe you are best directing this question to the insurance provider.

  4. Is there additional cost for colour matching crowns to veneers when
    your having both veneers and crowns done at the same time, or is the
    price usually included in the price.

    Thank you

    • Hi Katherine.

      If you are having new crowns and veneers fitted at the same time, the color matching will be included in the price.

  5. Hello,

    I wanted to ask you if it is possible to have one’s teeth restored using an amalgam filling in lieu of using a ceramic crown or veneer on one’s premolars and molars like is done on the biting teeth or if this is not something that can be done?

    If it is not done, might you be able to tell me why this cannot be done and if it is, if you can tell me how I may be able to get more information on this type of tooth restorative procedure either through your office or though another outside source?

    Thank you for your help to me on this matter of interest of mine.

    • Hi David.

      Thanks for the question.

      As far as I am aware, what you are wanting is not possible.

      The different products are designed to different jobs and the materials used are therefore different to support the use case scenario.

      We are not a dental office ourselves. I think it might be best you consult with your local dentist over what it is you want as the dentist can then make an assessment of your teeth and advise based on what they can see and know needs to be done.

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