What is a Dental crown? And more importantly, why is the cost so high?
When is a dental crown needed?
And... is there an alternative?
Good questions if your dentist has just recommended this procedure...
A dental crown is a restoration that covers, protects and strengthens the entire tooth.
Crowns also known as caps can be made by a dental lab or by your dentist. If made by a dental lab your dentist pays a lab fee and that increases your cost. If they are made by a dentist, expensive (but really cool) technology called Cerec is used to design and make your crown while you wait. The cost of the really cool technology impacts the cost of a crown.
Crowns can be tooth colored or gold. Temporary or permanent.
A dental filling may be an option. Your dentist may agree to repair your tooth with a filling instead of a crown. Very large fillings are not likely to last as long as a dental crown but can be done in some cases. It never hurts to ask.
Dental onlay ~ A dental onlay is a compromise between a crown and a filling it is stronger than a filling and preserves more of your tooth structure. It is a more conservative choice and a good option.
Unfortunately onlays are almost as expensive as crowns.
Do nothing ~ This is my least favorite option because I hate to see teeth neglected. If finances or other circumstances make dental treatment difficult and, if there is no decay, pain or sensitivity doing nothing is always an option.
There are a few risks with this option...the tooth could break again and need more treatment or become untreatable.
Because teeth move when they are not fully functioning, it could drift out of position and become less useful and more prone to gum disease or tooth decay.