Why are crowns so expensive?

porcelain crowns

If you are about to have a dental crown placed, you may be asking, “Why are crowns so expensive?” The cost of dental crowns can range in price from $1000 to $3000 based on quality. Quality is measured by longevity and how well it replicates the former tooth it replaced. Let’s review the cost factors and how they vary.

Why are crowns expensive – Cost Factors for different types of dental crowns

Common base materials for different types of crowns include:


Your crown will be made from medical grade ceramics. Also known as porcelain, the science of fabricating ceramics has been honed over decades. Today, fake ceramic teeth are incredibly natural looking and durable. Ceramic crowns look like natural teeth. 

Porcelain is not a raw material that is dug up from inside the earth. To make porcelain, a complex process known as heat pressing is used. Silica and small amounts of alumina are pressed in a mold. The results are incredibly strong long term. 

Metal and Metal Alloys 

Dental restorations have a lot of roles to fill. The prosthetics have to bear the pressure and weight of chewing. Biting, chewing, or grinding can place 700 pounds of pressure per square inch on teeth. The majority of crowns today still are made with metal alloys for strength. Some crowns are all metal and some have a metal base with porcelain over them.

While most pfm crowns today use a metal structure made of cheap non precious metal alloys, higher quality crowns employ precious gold alloys. Precious gold crowns fit better and are less likely to decay. The warm color of gold makes them easier to blend with the natural teeth. Using gold costs more than non-precious alloys.

Metal showing at the margin or edge of a crown can cause a cosmetic failure. Dental labs charge the dentist extra to mask the metal. the majority of dentists will not pay extra for this service but instead, bury the metal under the gum line.

Why are crowns expensive depends on the fabrication process

Fabricating your crown is a complicated procedure that must be handled by a ceramist. While some dentists fabricate crowns in house, our office prefers to trust outside experts who have undergone training in order to manufacture crowns to exacting standards.

Quality comes with costs. Part of your treatment cost includes paying the lab technicians for their service. Like any business, the lab techs have to pay for overhead, and the cost of your crown is factored in.  

Why are crowns expensive?

Prior to the placement of these porcelain fused to metal crowns, this smile was filled with ugly large fillings.

Other Cost Factors

When you pay for a cap, you are paying for the overall treatment and not simply the material cost of the crown itself. In order to create the materials that are used to fabricate the crown, and have it placed requires the work of lab techs, staff, and a dentist. A dental implant crown often has very expensive components that add to the fee.

There’s also the time and labor needed to prepare your tooth. For your restoration to fit properly, the outer layer of your tooth will need to be removed. This treatment may require costs associated with anesthesia, sedation, and staff related costs.  You will be fitted with temporary crowns while you wait. 

Will insurance cover any crown costs? 

Caps are considered restorative in nature, so some insurance companies may cover part of the cost associated with the treatment. If you are unsure if your dental insurance will cover part of the treatment cost, a member of our dental team will be glad to assist you. A member of our team will contact your insurance provider for coverage details. 

Making the Most Out of Your Crowns

Once your dentistry is placed, you can save money by getting the most mileage from your new restoration. Just like teeth, dentistry can become chipped or prematurely worn. While expensive, the overall cost to crowns goes down the longer it lasts. To ensure that your crown lasts over 10 years, follow these simple steps. 

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Habits

The tooth beneath your crown can suffer from tooth decay. To ensure that your porcelain cap maintains a strong bond, remember to brush your teeth twice a day. Flossing daily can remove food particles from beneath your crown. A quality mouthwash can also prevent decay and damage to the tooth that supports your crown.

Preventing gum disease is another benefit of oral hygiene. Gum disease can lead to gum recession that can leave the base of your crown exposed near the gum line. 

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Regular checkups in our office can ensure that your crown is strong. Your dentist will check the strength of the cement that holds the crown in place during cleanings and exams. Twice-a-year visits for different types of dental treatments can preserve the life of your restoration. Your dentist may recommend even more frequent visits. 

Be Careful About What You Bite

Hard candies, nutshells, and other objects can loosen or dislodge a crown. Crowns can even become damaged when used to bite a hard object. You should never use your crown to pry open an object or to tear open a package.  

Wear a Mouthguard

To prevent injury to your crown, a protective mouth guard should be used when you are playing active sports. Accidents and trauma are common reasons why a crown may come dislodged. If your crown does become loose, let your doctor know immediately. The crown is cemented, but it can still come loose.

Often, the crown can be reattached. The underlying tooth is very vulnerable to decay and damage.  

Why Crowns Are Expensive but Worth the Cost

Crowns restore your bite and your confidence. Poor oral function can lead to jaw pain and poorly chewed food. If you have a tooth that is severely decayed, you are likely in oral pain. Untreated decay puts you at risk of complications like an abscess or root canal infection.

Crowns relieve discomfort and allow you to eat the foods you love. While there is an investment of time and money, those costs will soon pay off when you enjoy a restored smile. 

Tooth loss can leave you looking years older than you actually are. If your crown is used with an implant, it can replace a missing tooth. If you are missing multiple teeth, we can have you fitted with a dental bridge.  

Let us help answer why are crowns expensive

Now that you know why dental crowns are so expensive, take the next step and contact our office for your dental care. They can replace front teeth, and the procedure is straightforward. 

You can reach us by calling (847) 234-0517.