Dental crowns are preferred for protecting and restoring weak or damaged teeth. They are custom-made for each patient and placed over the teeth to cover large fillings, cover implants, align the bite or prevent severely weakened teeth from pain and irritation.

Here is some information on what getting a dental crown involves and how your dental insurance plan can help cover costs.

What are dental crowns?

A dental crown is a cap or covering placed on top of a damaged tooth. Some of the materials used to make crowns are:

  • Porcelain
  • Resin
  • Metal
  • Ceramic
  • Stainless steel
  • Silver or gold
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM)

If you are getting a root canal or dental implant, a crown will be used to cap the artificial tooth. Crowns are typically custom made to fit the shape and size of the tooth, and then cemented to remain in place.

How much do dental crowns cost per tooth?

Depending on the material used, a dental crown can cost anywhere between $5001 and $3,500 per tooth.2

Metal and stainless steel crowns are the cheapest, but they have the least durability of other options and do not look as natural.

Porcelain and ceramic crowns appear the most natural and have the best longevity, but their cost can be as high as $3,500 per tooth.3

The dental crown cost will also depend on the clinic, type of restorative work required and location of the tooth. Generally, crowns for front teeth are more expensive because during installation they require more time to achieve a natural appearance.

Dental crowns can be costly, but your dental insurance coverage can help pay some expenses.

How much does dental insurance typically pay for crowns?

A full-coverage dental plan with coinsurance may pay as much as 50% of the total cost of any major restorative care, including crowns, while the patient pays the rest.4 However, the total cost will depend on your plan and your specific case.

Depending on the dental insurance plan you use, there may also be a deductible. If you join a new dental plan, you may face a dental waiting period for major care like crowns.

To understand how much your dental plan will cover when installing crowns, speak directly with your insurance carrier.

Which types of dental plans cover crowns?

In most cases, dental crowns may only be covered by insurance plans that offer major restorative dental care.

Many dental plans limit coverage to preventive care and basic procedures, such as dental fillings and tooth extractions.

Coverage for major dental procedures, like dental crowns, will likely be a maximum of 50% of the total cost.5 To understand the cost of your crown installation, speak with your insurance carrier to understand plan options.

Dental plans can be divided into 3 broad categories:

  • Preferred provider organization (PPO): A PPO dental plan comes with a list of in-network dentists that accept the plan, and if you choose a dentist that is not in the network, you have to pay more out of pocket.
  • Dental health maintenance organization (DHMO): A DHMO plan also offers a network of dentists that will usually cover a percentage of the cost of restorative care like crowns, but you may have to be referred by your primary care dentist.
  • Discount or referral dental plan: While a dental discount plan itself will not pay for the costs of a crown, the group of dentists that accept this plan may give you a discount on the services.

How much do dental crowns cost without insurance?

The cost of installing a single tooth crown (not considering insurance coverage) will vary based on the material of the crown.

The prices will vary between dental clinics and will be determined by the extent of work required to install the crown.

What to expect when you insert crowns and caps

The process of getting a dental crown often involves 2 visits to the dentist’s office, although some dentists can provide same-day crown installations.

First, the tooth will undergo inspection and X-rays, and a mold of the tooth may also be taken. Then the dentist will file down the tooth and remove some of the outer layer, depending on how severe the damage is. Next, an impression is made of your tooth and the neighboring teeth. Then a temporary crown will be placed over the tooth until the actual crown is made.

You will need to return to the dentist to have the crown cemented to your tooth.

If the dentist has the technology for same-day procedures, it might take only a few hours for the crown to be in place. A same-day crown uses digital pictures and scans of the mouth to build the crown in the office as the patient waits. Although more convenient, this procedure is not offered everywhere and may also be more expensive than traditional crowns.

Find a dental plan with dental crown coverage

Everyone wants to save money on dental care, and Humana is here to help. Our range of dental plans not only have different levels of coverage but also affordable monthly premiums.

To learn more about some of the plans that cover caps and crowns, head over to our dental insurance page.

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Sources:

  1. “Dental Crown To Replace Teeth: Costs, Materials, Types, and More,” Dentaly.org, last accessed April 27, 2022, https://www.dentaly.org/us/dental-crown-information/.
  2. “Dental Crowns: Preserving Damaged Teeth,” Consumer Guide to Dentistry, last accessed April 27, 2022, https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/crowns/.
  3. “Dental Crowns: Preserving Damaged Teeth.”
  4. “Best Full Coverage Dental Insurance,” Consumersadvocate.org, last accessed April 27, 2022, https://www.consumersadvocate.org/dental-insurance/saved/full-coverage.
  5. “Best Full Coverage Dental Insurance.”