How much do Dental Crowns Cost in the United States?
In modern dentistry, there are numerous options to partially – or completely – replace diseased or damaged teeth.
Depending on the customers’ needs and wishes, partial and full crowns made of various materials may be utilized. Patients often ask questions about the costs of different options when selecting a suitable solution.
Dental Crown Cost Drivers
Many patients believe that the cost of a dental crown is substantially influenced by one of two factors:
- the size of the tooth in question
- the material selected
However, these two factors don’t account for the majority of costs. One must not forget that there are additional costs that contribute to the overall price involved in crowns, aside from the material and type of crown chosen; these are beyond the patient’s control. The lion’s share of costs go toward treatment itself, lab and production costs for the crown, aftercare and the like.
The following data was compiled through a phone survey of various dentists in selected cities and states. The prices and conditions given represent calculated average values and thus, should only be interpreted as general guidelines. In addition, final costs depend on treatment and lab costs, etc.
Metal - Compared to Europe, crowns made of metal are offered much less frequently in the U.S. When metals are employed, more expensive materials such as titanium are usually used. Consequently, metal crowns made in the United States are only slightly cheaper than ceramic or metal-ceramic solutions. Cheap metal crowns are rare and start at US$600; most cost between US$800 – US$1,000.
Ceramic - Ceramic crowns are the most recommended crown material in the United States and are used more than any other option. They cost slightly more than metal crowns, ranging on average between US$900 – US$1,300 USD. In special cases, a crown may cost up to 1,700 USD.
Metal-ceramic - Metal-ceramic crowns are in a similar price range as the two other materials. Costs can usually be expected to fall between US$900 and US$1,500.
There are slight price differences among different U.S. cities. In general, however, the costs for artificial teeth in the United States are very homogenous – more homogenous than in Europe.
Obtaining Information by Phone
Discussing dental issues over the phone can be fraught with difficulties. In general, the respective contact personnel (dental assistants, receptionists...) in the United States are very friendly and competent regarding telephone inquiries. Except for price information, questions regarding treatment conditions and the like are answered fully and quickly.
Almost everyone is willing to conduct phone calls, even for an extended period of time. Contact personnel rarely lose patience, even if the caller asks questions repeatedly. Usually, general information concerning crowns and their technical aspects are not a problem and can be answered satisfactorily in one call in most cases. But it’s a different situation when it comes to questions of costs.
If a caller requests more detailed information about prices, these are often quoted in rather vague terms and with reservation. In most cases, only approximate price ranges are given and thus, price comparisons between different options are hardly possible and of limited use. An accurate diagnosis and a reliable cost forecast are only possible during a personal appointment at the dentists’ practice.
In order obtain exact and comprehensive information during a telephone inquiry, it’s recommended that the caller prepare and find out several important details and data in advance.
First of all, the tooth that requires treatment should be clarified; this allows for a better determination of the material requirements and the amount of work necessary, even though these factors generate the smallest portion of the costs. It’s more important to determine the condition of the tooth, what the damage is, and what treatments have been performed in the past. In order to avoid unnecessary questions, it helps to articulate the customer’s wishes as precisely as possible: What’s the preferred type of crown, the preferred material, etc. Since there is a great reluctance to provide exact price information over the phone, one is often forced to ask repeatedly. However, one should persevere and not be discouraged since repeated inquiries and pressing or pleading will – in most cases – yield at least a rough estimate. Often, one will even receive surprisingly accurate answers.
In addition, it’s a good idea to contact the insurance company prior to calling the dentist (primarily concerning questions regarding cost issues), or to use other means to find out which costs and services might possibly be paid for by the insurance company, which allowances are possible, and how high a possible deductible might be.
An extremely cost-effective alternative to treatment by U.S.-based dentists can be found in its southern neighbor, Mexico. Mexican dentists are very prepared for dental tourism and numerous deals can be found, especially on web pages. The biggest advantages for the customer are as follows:
Information - Information regarding dental costs is provided much more generously in Mexico than in the United States. Quotes for dental treatments and interventions with precise information regarding treatment methods, materials, and especially regarding implant systems can be found on many web pages. Furthermore, toll-free hotlines providing this information are available in English.
Costs - as one would expect, low costs serve primarily as a sales argument and are advertised openly; in many cases, precise price differences are even provided. The cost for all products is roughly 60-70 % lower than in the United States.
Aside from lower prices and more easily obtained information, many Mexican providers come up with various additional offers. In many cases, Mexican providers are specialized in dental tourism and offer service packages including transport, accommodation, or even a complete vacation package (in addition to the dental work); arranging for a pick up from the nearest U.S. airport is rarely a problem. In many cases, shuttle service from the United States/Mexico border is offered, even for minor treatments.
Providers know exactly why they offer transportation and accommodation as part of their dental packages: It’s these very bonuses that generate costs for the customers, and not just in terms of money, but in terms of time as well. And this is also the disadvantage of so-called “discounters;” in many cases, necessary intermediate medical steps are not carried out in order to save on treatment intervals. Treatments are shortened and treatment intervals are not properly observed. The emphasis is not on the medical procedure, but on the customer’s wishes (namely, getting everything “done” quickly and cheaply), which are only addressed indirectly. However, in many cases, this just postpones your dental issues for a while rather than solving them. Good dental medicine is hardly possible on such a long-distance basis!
General Survey Information:
- Survey Period: January 1, 2011 – February 28, 2011
- Surveyed Dentists: 400 (375 in the U.S., 25 in Mexico)
- Performed by: checkdent.com
- Miscellaneous: Only dentists with their own website were considered