Are All Dental Crowns Created Equal?

Dental CrownsHave you ever wondered why the cost of a dental crown can vary by hundreds of dollars from one office to another?  You may have asked yourself, “Will I get a quality replica of my former tooth if I take the cheapest quote?”  “You get what you pay for,” is often true in dentistry.  Find out what factors to consider when choosing your dental crown.

There are two main factors that determine how much a crown will cost.

  • First is the material the crown is made of.
  • Second is the workmanship and time put into the crown.  Lets look at crown materials first.

There are a variety of materials that can be used in a crown.  You should take part in deciding which material is right for you. All-resin dental crowns are the least expensive, but they are also the least resistant to wear.  They would need to be replaced within 5-10 years and are prone to fractures.

  • All metal crowns, such as gold, are usually one of the least expensive materials.  Although they may be king on strength, they can also be unsightly.  Often a dentist may suggest a gold crown on the back molars that are out of sight.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are slightly more expensive, but provide the benefit of the strength of metal and aesthetics of tooth-colored porcelain.  However, the metal can block the luminescence of natural teeth and the metal can show through at the gum line.
  • Finally, all-ceramic or all-porcelain teeth are usually the most expensive material, but if properly made, can be identical to your natural teeth.  They show the natural coloring and luminescence of the original tooth.  They are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal or all metal, however the materials are always improving and it is the material of choice for front teeth.

The workmanship of the crown is the second area that can significantly affect the cost of a dental crown.  Dental crowns are usually sent out to a lab to be created and colored according the dentist’s specifications.  It is an art, and just as the quality and workmanship of a painted picture varies, so does the workmanship of a dental crown.  This is reflected in the price of the crown.  The only way to know if your dentist plans to use a quality lab is to ask.  Look at before and after pictures to see if you can determine which tooth is the fake.  Ask your dentist to explain the cost that goes into the crown fee.

Dental crowns produced by a Cerec milling machine in-house are becoming more and more popular.  Dr. Dave, a dentist in Boise, Idaho, has seen excellent results with these crowns.  Milling a crown out of a solid block vs. forming one from a mold may actually create a stronger crown.  However, the natural color variation of a tooth often can’t be completely achieved with a block of material.  A lab will touch up a crown to match the color inflections of your previous tooth.  For that reason, at Victory Dental, we prefer to mill the crown out of a solid block in house unless the crown is replacing a front tooth.

The type and quality of your crown will vary.  The important thing is that you make sure you are making an informed decision.  Ask your dentist questions until you are comfortable with your choice.  It is your smile!

If you would like more information on our Cerec milling machine or would like a free consultation, call (208) 402-1040.

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