Expected cost of dental crown: 280 to 800 US Dollars
Costa Rica [USA Joint Commission International Accredited Hospital]
India [Harvard Medical Affiliated & USA Joint Commission Accredited Hospital]
Mexico [World Class Hospitals]
Dental Crown Introduction
Your teeth can wear away or break because of improper bite, age, fillings and tooth decay. Dental crowns are then needed to cover the visible surface of your tooth to make it strong, durable and stable.
Where are dental crowns used?
Dental crowns are used when there is a need to:
- protect a weak tooth or to fix a broken tooth
- restore a broken or a worn out tooth
- cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t much tooth left
- keep a dental bridge in place
- cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth
- cover a dental implant
When are dental crowns not used?
If the root along with the entire tooth is decayed or weak, dental crowns are not used.
If you need a crown, you may also need endodontic or root canal treatment on the tooth, due to extensive decay or the risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp. But not everyone who needs a crown will need a root canal.
Besides the crown, your dentist may need to build up a foundation to support the crown. A foundation is needed if large areas of the natural tooth structure are decayed, damaged or missing. If you are receiving the crown after root canal treatment, your dentist may insert a post-and-core foundation.
On your first visit, your dentist makes a molded impression of the tooth to send to the dental laboratory. A temporary crown is made during this visit to protect the tooth until the final restoration is ready. The final crown takes 2-3 weeks to be ready.
On your next visit, local anesthesia is given to your tooth and the gum tissue around it. Then, the tooth, on which the crown will be placed, is filed down along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown. The amount of tooth that needs to be filed depends on the type of crown. All-metal crowns are thinner and will fit in with minimal tooth structure removal, whereas porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal ones will require more filing. But, if, a large portion of your tooth is missing (because of decay or damage), the gap in your tooth has to be filled up so that it can support the crown.
The crown, when cemented into place, fully encases the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Post-crown care and precautions
Remember, temporary dental crowns are just that – a temporary fix until a permanent crown is ready. Hence, a few precautions that you must take for your temporary crown are:
- Do not eat sticky food that adheres to your teeth like chewing gum. It might grab and pull off the temporary crown.
- Try not to use the side of your mouth with the temporary crown and chew with the other side of your mouth.
- Do not eat hard food like carrots, apples, etc. which could dislodge or break the crown.
- Slide floss out rather than lift it out. Lifting the floss out may pull off the temporary crown.
After your permanent crown is in place, continue practicing good oral hygiene, as a crowned tooth is not protected from decay or gum disease. Here are a few things you should watch out for:
- You shouldn’t feel any discomfort or sensitivity. If you notice pain or sensitivity when you bite, you should contact your dentist. Usually this means that the crown is too high on the tooth. This can be fixed easily.
- You may notice a dark line next to the gumline on your crowned tooth, particularly if you have a porcelain fused-to-metal crown. This dark line is the metal of the crown showing through and is normal.
- Sometimes, the cement may wash out from under the crown, but the crown does not fall out. When this happens, bacteria can leak in and cause decay. If your crown seems loose, get in touch with your dentist.
- Your crown may fall out, due to a lack of cement or an improper fit. If this happens, contact your dental clinic immediately and try to schedule a visit for the next day.
Different types of crowns
Depending on esthetic demands, strength requirements, material durability, and restorative space available, your dentist will recommend the type of dental crown to be used. We list below the types of crowns in use today and how they are different from each other:
Advantage: Gold is the traditional material used for crowns and involves minimal complication or time for preparation as there is minimal tooth structure removal. Gold also has a better fit and is generally healthier for the gum tissue. Gold crowns are recommended in some instances: for example, patients with strong bites and those with para-functional habits (such as grinding or clenching). Gold provides better support to the existing healthy tooth structure. Also, they are very durable and hence good for use in the back of the mouth (such as the molars), where they will not be very visible. Gold is also less abrasive than porcelain.
Disadvantage: The disadvantage wth gold crowns is the esthetic aspect.
Advantage: Porcelain crowns match the color of teeth perfectly and that is one of the chief reasons for its popularity. By eliminating the need for the supportive metal core, an esthetic all-ceramic crown can be created with a reduced thickness of material. This makes them a more favorable treatment choice in areas with limited space. Additionally, the elimination of the metal core allows for light transmission through the porcelain for better optical, life-like properties and a higher level of esthetics. Though all-ceramic materials are very strong and durable, caution should still be exercised when using in areas of the mouth requiring heavy function.
Disadvantage: Porcelain crowns require more tooth structure to be removed. They also require more expertise from your dentist.
Porcelain fused-to-metal crowns
Advantage: Porcelain fused-to-metal crowns have a natural look.
Disadvantage: They have a metal substructure, which can make it somewhat opaque. A darker line may be seen at the edge of the crown, near your gum when the gumline recedes with age. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns with an all-porcelain collar can eliminate this vulnerability.
Dental crowns vs. veneers
A fundamental difference between porcelain veneers and dental crowns is the amount of a tooth’s surface they cover. Dental crowns cover an entire tooth whereas veneers only cover over the front side of a tooth (the side that shows when the person smiles).
The porcelain veneer is about 1 millimeter or so thick, as opposed to a dental crown that typically measures 2 millimeters or more. Less tooth reduction is needed for a veneer as opposed to a dental crown. Though this is a positive thing, there are situations, like tooth decay, or broken tooth, where a teeth veneer simply won’t do. That is why dental crowns exist. Also, dental crowns are much stronger when compared to veneers. Hence, they can be put in heavy duty areas of the mouth. Dental veneers cannot be used where a major color and shape change is involved.
Choosing between a dental crown and a dental filling
Dental fillings are restorations that sit within the walls of a tooth. The size and shape of the hole that must be filled will determine the success of the filling and the long-term outlook for the tooth. For example, if a large amount of tooth damage has occurred, the walls of the tooth that will hold the filling in place may be thin and weak. If this is to be repaired by filling, a large filling will be needed. But the walls of the tooth are not strong enough to hold this filling in. So, when pressure is applied to it, the filling may apply pressure to the walls holding it in place, thus causing portions of the tooth to crack or break off.
Dental crowns handle the situation in a totally different way. For one, unlike a filling that sits within the confines of a tooth, a dental crown cups over it. Though no dental restoration is expected to last forever, the materials that are used to create dental crowns are substantially stronger than fillings and therefore less likely to break.
Sometimes, a dental crown may even get dislodged. But what wins the case for dental crowns is that they can be simply re-cemented. A filling does not offer this option.
Crown vs. dental inlay
A dental inlay is a type of restoration that looks like natural teeth and repairs teeth that are too damaged to support a dental filling, but not enough to require a dental crown.
Hence, it is clear that inlays and crowns have their different purposes. Crowns tend to protect the tooth better against recurrent decay and inlays are more conservative, that is, not much of the tooth needs to be removed for an inlay.
Resume of dental surgeons
For your reference, here are the resumes of some accomplished dentists:
- Dr Rafael Lorenzana, El Salvador
- Dr Narayanan Sreenivasan, Ohio
- Dr Angel Serrano, Tijuana, Mexico
- Dr Mario Bonilla Robert, Costa Rica
Dental crowns in USA vs. abroad
Apart from the cost factor, there is really no difference between dental crowns in the USA and abroad. The cost of a single dental crown in USA can be anywhere between $800-$1,200. Abroad, dental crowns (including the dentist’s fees) will be priced at least 50-60% lower than that in the US. This price difference does not, however, amount to any loss in quality. This may surprise many who are not aware of the cost of living in some top medical tourism destinations.
Countries like India, Mexico, El Salvador, and Costa Rica can offer very cheap dental crowns, or for that matter, any medical or dental procedure because of the general low cost of living there. Everything from labor to infrastructure costs less there.
Also, do not let the economic status of these countries color your judgment of the medical care offered in their top hospitals. The tourist dental clinics in India, Mexico, El Salvador and Costa Rica compare with the best in the world. Also, the dental surgeons at these clinics speak English well, and are well-qualified and experienced.
If you are one of the 47 million un-insured or cannot afford dental crowns in the US for some other reason, going abroad is a safe decision. Not only is the cost of dental crowns overseas much lower, but you can also pack in a nice vacation with your dental trip!
Medical Tourism Corporation facilitates low cost dental crowns at many international locations including India, Mexico, El Salvador & Costa Rica. Fill out the free estimate request form for a free quote & more information.