You can avoid candy or sugary sodas for as long as you want, but sometimes it feels like cavities and tooth decay are inevitable. The bad news is that cavities can lead to a whole load of health problems down the line. Luckily, the good news is that they can be quickly fixed with root canals, fillings, and dental crowns.
Dental crowns are one of the most common dental treatments that are used to correct tooth decay and other damage to the mouth with ease. However, they can run a high price tag — especially without insurance.
So how much do dental crowns cost without insurance? And what are some ways that you can save some money on procedures in the future?
Here’s everything you need to know:
What Are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are caps placed on the top of damaged teeth. You can think of them as little hats that go on top of your teeth to protect, cover, and restore the shape of a tooth when fillings aren’t enough.
If you get a damaged tooth because of decay or trauma, a dentist might reshape your tooth to fit a replacement crown. Then, the crown is placed over the reshaped tooth to cover the visible portion.
You might need a crown to protect a weak tooth from breaking further or covering a tooth that needs a large filling. Crowns can also fix a broken tooth, keep a dental bridge in place, and cover a dental implant or root canal.
Poor oral health from lack of brushing or flossing can lead to a build-up of plaque on the tooth. This can decrease the durability of a tooth and lead to infections of the nerve if they aren’t treated in time. In order to treat decay, the infected portion of the tooth must be removed, which leaves the inner portions of the tooth susceptible to damage. A crown covers this portion of the tooth to prevent further damage.
What Are Crowns Made Of?
Crowns can be made of many different materials. One of the most common materials is metal, including metal alloys like gold, palladium, chromium, or metal. These are extremely long-lasting and rarely break, allowing you to withstand biting and chewing force.
The main drawback is that they are metallic in color so they don’t look like teeth. These are best for molars that cannot be seen.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns have a more natural tooth color while still being super strong and durable. With that said, the underlying metal can sometimes be seen, and the porcelain over top might chip to reveal the crown underneath.
All-resin crowns are the most affordable, but they are also the most likely to break. All ceramic or porcelain crown options are available too. While they aren’t as strong as metal ones, these are the closest to a natural tooth color while also still being a little more durable than resin crowns.
What To Expect When Getting a Dental Crown
To get a crown, you might need to visit a dentist for multiple appointments. During the first session, the tooth receiving the crown is examined and prepared. X-rays are taken of the teeth and jawbone surrounding it, and a root canal or filling procedure is done before the crown is placed.
A tooth receiving a crown will be filed down on all sides, regardless of how minor or severe the damage is. This makes space for the crown itself, but the amount of tooth that needs to get filed away depends on the type of crown itself. Fillings can be used to build up enough of the tooth to fit a crown in situations where decay is severe.
Next, a putty is used to make a copy or impression of the tooth that’s receiving the crown. This is done to ensure that your crown won’t affect the way you bite down. During this visit, a temporary crown will be used to cover and protect the filed-down tooth until your permanent crown is placed.
During your second visit, the real crown is placed on your tooth after the temporary crown is removed. Sometimes, a local anesthetic is applied to numb the area before the permanent crown is fused.
What Do Dental Crowns Cost?
The cost of a dental crown is reliant on a wide range of factors like the type of material, size of the crown, and placement in the mouth. Not to mention, if you need to get root canals or fillings before the crown is placed, it can rack up a higher price tag.
Dental insurance companies can cover a portion of the cost of dental crown procedures. However, a dental insurance policy is a monthly charge even if you don’t get treatment, and it is a separate plan from traditional health insurance coverage. Even then, your insurance plan usually only pays for about $400-$500 worth of the type of dental crown that you get.
For those reasons, over 33% of American adults do not have dental benefits, leaving a large number of individuals without access to the care they need.
But the out-of-pocket costs of dental crowns can be just as unattainable. The average cost of a single crown can be anywhere between $1,100 and $1,300. This price range varies depending on the materials used.
How To Afford Dental Crowns Without Insurance
If you don’t have insurance, you don’t need to be without the care you want or need. A tooth crown can save you from needing a tooth extraction or dentures in the future. The good news is that there are a few options for people without insurance to be able to have access to dental crowns.
Not having dental insurance is stressful enough on its own, but you shouldn’t need to let the price of care prevent you from gaining access to the dental services you need. Especially when it comes to dental crowns, you should never need to pay more than you have to.
Flossy is a pay-as-you-go service that can save you up to 50% on common dental treatments, from crowns to a dental bridge, root canal, or extraction. No membership fees. No annual premiums. And no monthly fees. So the price you see is the price you pay.
Our dentists are vetted against a rigorous set of criteria, including degrees from accredited dental programs, excellent patient reviews, and superior knowledge of their craft. So you can rest assured that you’re getting top-quality care from the moment you sign on.
No insurance? Perfect. Book your appointment today to give yourself a reason to smile.
Another great way to save some money on dental care is by going to a nearby university, college, or dentistry clinic with a dental office open to the public. Dentists need to practice their profession somewhere, and these places are where they can gain real-world experience with real patients.
The reason that dental schools can offer such low prices is that the students themselves don’t make any money on their services. This means that in most circumstances, you only actually pay for the cost of materials.
And while you run the risk of low-quality care since the students are still practicing, don’t worry — the students are supervised by medical professionals. The overseeing licensed professional will ensure you’re still getting high-quality care.
Discount Dental Plans
You might also be able to get some discount dental payment plans at your local provider. With these, you’ll receive a card that you can show each time you receive a treatment to receive discounts on care. In exchange, you’ll pay a monthly fee.
It’s sort of like insurance, but the main difference is that you can only go to the provider in-network. Often, this means that you can only visit one specific dentist in order to get discounts on your care.
Medicare or Medicaid
Medicare is a federal healthcare insurance program for people over the age of 65. With that said, Medicare does not cover most dental care, including crowns. The only exception is that Medicare Part A will pay for dental services that are necessary within a hospital as a part of your stay, even though it doesn’t technically cover dental care.
Medicaid is a health insurance resource for children and adults with limited income or resources. While services vary by state, most allow children to receive comprehensive dental care, including crowns.
Unfortunately, only about half of the states allow adults to receive comprehensive care. Either way, it’s always worth seeing if either of these plans might be able to benefit you in regards to getting the low-cost dental care that you need.
Are Dental Crowns Worth the Investment?
Dental crowns fix damaged teeth and prevent further damage, which can avoid infections and other complications. For this reason, they are important procedures when applicable. That’s reason enough to invest in a crown, but they are also very durable and long-lasting procedures.
On average, crowns can last between five and 15 years, depending on the material used. It’s vital to continue brushing and flossing your crowns, as this will extend the lifespan of your piece.
Other habits that can affect the length of your crown’s life include:
- Chewing ice or hard foods
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Biting your fingernails
- Trauma to the tooth
Caring for Dental Crowns
While crowns themselves do not necessarily need any special attention, the gums underneath them still do in order to gain protection from gum disease or gingivitis. Flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash are still necessary, even when you have crowns.
Are There Risks To Getting a Crown?
Dental crowns are a common procedure with more benefits than risks. With that said, there are possible side effects that are important to note before getting the procedure completed.
Loose or Broken Crowns
Sometimes, it is possible for the cement holding a crown in place to wash out under the crown and loosen it. Not only does this cause tons of discomfort, but it also allows bacteria to leak in and cause decay to the tooth that remains.
Crowns can also chip or crack, especially if they are made of resin or porcelain. Small chips can usually be rectified and remain in the mouth, but dental crowns may need to be replaced if the chip is too large to be corrected.
A newly placed crown has the potential to be a bit sensitive after the anesthesia starts to wear off. If the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it, it’s possible that you’ll experience a heightened sense of hot or cold from iced or warm beverages. This is common and usually subsides over time. Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help.
If you feel sensitivity from biting down, this is likely due to the crown being placed too high on the tooth. This can be easily fixed; let your dental professional know.
Crown Falls Off
Because of improper fit or a lack of cement, it is possible for a crown to actually fall off. You’ll want to visit your dentist’s office immediately to get it replaced, and they’ll also be able to give you specific instructions for what to do in the meantime.
If you get a metal crown, it’s possible that you’ll have an allergic reaction. This is most common if you have a nickel allergy. Allergic reactions to dental crowns can also occur from porcelain pieces.
Dark Line at Gumline
You might notice a dark line appearing at the bottom of the crown where it meets the gums. This happens if you get a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown: What you see is the metal poking out from under the white part of the tooth.
Dental crowns are a common treatment for damaged or decayed teeth that act as caps on the tooth to protect and fix underlying problems. Caps can be made of a wide range of different materials, varying in price depending on durability and quality.
Insurance can cover a major portion of the cost of crowns, but without insurance, these procedures can cost over a thousand dollars. With that said, these are necessary procedures to prevent further damage and infection.
Don’t let the price of care prevent you from getting the assistance you need. Flossy is a pay-as-you-go service that lets you save up to 50% on common dental treatments with no membership fees, annual premiums, or hidden transactions. You only pay for the services that you get.
Book an appointment with top dentists in your area today to give yourself a reason to smile brighter than ever before.