5 Types of Dental Crowns - Procedure, Aftercare, & Costs (2024)

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a fitted cap that covers a tooth that has suffered damage from decay or trauma. It can restore its size, shape, and appearance. Crowns can be made from different materials, such as ceramic (porcelain), metal, or a combination of the two.

For a crown to be fitted, your tooth will be shaped for the crown, an impression will be taken to make the crown, and then the crown will be permanently cemented onto the tooth.

5 Types of Dental Crowns - Procedure, Aftercare, & Costs (1)

When is a Dental Crown Necessary?

There are various reasons for someone to have a crown placed. For example, your dentist may recommend a crown to:

  • Restore a broken or otherwise damaged tooth
  • Cover a tooth with a large filling
  • Protect a tooth after root canal therapy
  • Cover the abutment of a dental implant

Generally, a crown is necessary when the tooth in question would otherwise:

  • Be vulnerable to further damage or infection
  • Cause pain during normal daily activities
  • Not be able to function like a tooth normally would
  • Affect your bite
  • Detract from your smile

How Much Do Crowns Cost?

The cost of a crown can vary depending on the material and your insurance. The total cost of a crown may be anywhere from $500 to over $2,500.8

Here are the average costs of crowns with insurance:

  • Ceramicorporcelain —$800-$3,000 per tooth
  • Metals —$600 to $2,500 per tooth
  • Metal-ceramicorPFM— $500 to $1,500 per tooth
  • Composite resin — $400 to $600per tooth

Certain types of all-ceramic crowns, such as CEREC crowns, are more technique-sensitive, which may contribute to their higher cost.

Insurance may cover as much as half the cost of dental crowns. However, if your crown is considered cosmetic, the insurance may cover very little or none of the procedure.

What are Dental Crowns Made Of?

Permanent crowns are typically made of:

  • Ceramic or porcelain, such as zirconia or lithium disilicate
  • Metals, such as gold- or silver-based alloys, titanium, or stainless steel
  • Metal-ceramic or PFM (porcelain fused to a metal framework)
  • Composite resin, similar to that used in dental fillings

Which material your dentist uses will depend on your needs and preferences, as well as the availability of the material. Your dentist may also have a preference for certain materials.

Over time, most dentists have come to prefer ceramic crown materials rather than metal, especially for front teeth. This is because:1, 2

  • Ceramics mimic the natural tooth color
  • Newer, more durable ceramics continue to be developed
  • Ceramics can be low-cost compared to certain metals

Of the different kinds of ceramic, zirconia is the strongest and is becoming more popular for back teeth, especially in people who grind their teeth.2, 3

High-performance plastics such as PEEK and PEKK have also recently been introduced in dentistry and may be a promising alternative to zirconia.4

You and your dentist will have to weigh the pros and cons of these different materials. After evaluating your situation, your dentist can recommend a specific material to you.

Temporary Crowns

If your dentist uses a conventional dental laboratory to make your crown, they’ll fit your tooth with a temporary crown while the final one is being made.

Temporary crowns are often made from composite resin, acrylic, or another plastic material. They may also be made from aluminum.

These less durable materials are used because temporary crowns are generally meant to last only a few days or weeks.

Dental Crown Procedure: What to Expect

The process may require more than one visit. For your crown to be placed, your tooth will need to be prepared (cleaned and shaped). Then, the dentist will make an impression so that a dental laboratory can create your crown.

It can take several days or weeks for your new crown to come back from the lab. In the meantime, you will be given a temporary crown. When the crown arrives, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement the permanent crown in place.

You can expect your crown procedure to look something like the following:

1. Initial Exam

First, your dentist will take X-rays and examine your mouth to determine if any of your teeth need crowns.

Your dentist will make sure the shade of the ceramic matches your surrounding teeth, especially for a front tooth. They may be able to show you samples of the final result. You may even be able to get custom shading done to provide a better match.

2. Preparing the Tooth

Your dentist will need to prepare your tooth to receive the crown. To ensure a good fit, some of the tooth may have to be filed away.

Before preparing the tooth, your dentist will inject local anesthesia. They’ll begin work once the tooth is fully numb. Your dentist may place a build-up or perform a root canal if there's tooth decay or an injury to the tooth's pulp.

Regardless of the type of work, the dentist will try to preserve as much of the tooth as possible.

At the same time, some viable tooth structure may have to be filed down. Otherwise, a weak crown could contribute to a greater loss of healthy tissue in the long run.5

3. Impressions and Crown Fabrication

Once your tooth has been prepared, your dentist may use a thin cord or another tool to gently pull your gum tissue back from the tooth. This is called gingival retraction, and it provides a clear view of the tooth.

Your dentist will then make an impression of your tooth. They may use a special silicone-based putty. The process will look like this:

  • First, your dentist will dispense the putty onto a plastic or metal impression tray.
  • They’ll then place the trays over your teeth and ask you to bite down. You’ll need to bite down steadily for several minutes.
  • Once the impression putty sets, your dentist will remove the tray from your mouth.
  • Next, they will examine the impression to make sure there aren’t any air pockets or irregularities.
  • If there are any problems, they will repeat the process to get an accurate impression.

Some dental offices offer digital dental impressions, which can be taken without impression putty. In this case, the process may go as follows:6

If the mold is sent to a lab, a physical or virtual working model of your crown will be made based on your impression.7 That model will then be used to fabricate the final crown from the material your dentist recommends (porcelain, metal, or a combination).

4. Temporary Crown

While waiting for your permanent crown to come back from the lab, your dentist will make a temporary crown. This will protect your tooth and prevent any tooth shifting that might make it difficult to fit the permanent crown.

When the temporary crown is ready to be placed, they’ll use a temporary dental cement to securely attach it to your tooth.

5. Permanent Crown

At your next appointment, your dentist will remove your temporary crown and replace it with your new permanent one. The permanent one may still need some slight adjustments. It must be shaped perfectly to adhere to your tooth and provide a perfect seal.

Once your dentist is sure that your new crown has a proper fit, they’ll attach it to your tooth. They’ll use a strong dental cement meant to last for years.

After securely placing your permanent crown, your dentist will check to make sure your bite remains even. In some cases, they may slightly file down the opposing tooth that makes contact with the crowned one.

6. Aftercare

After the procedure, your dentist provides instructions on how to care for your crown. Some aftercare instructions include:

  • Avoid using too much pressure when brushing
  • Floss regularly, but make sure to do it gently
  • Don’t eat hard and sticky foods like nuts or popcorn
  • Chew on the other side of the mouth
  • Use an over-the-counter topical gel or a pain reliever if needed
  • Visit your dentist every six months for routine cleanings and checkups

Benefits and Risks of Dental Crowns

Crowns are indicated (recommended) for multiple situations. However, they aren’t completely without risks, especially if they don’t fit well or your oral health is poor.


Dental crowns provide several benefits, including:

  • Restoring normal tooth shape and function
  • Improved aesthetics (a better-looking smile)
  • Protecting the underlying tooth from infection or further damage
  • Allowing for natural underlying tooth structure to be kept (as opposed to extracting natural teeth and placing implants)


Crowns also have potential complications, especially if they don’t fit properly. These may include:

  • Heightened sensitivity
  • Wear or damage to the opposing teeth over time
  • Chipping or breaking
  • Loosening or falling out
  • Allergic reactions (to the nickel in metal crowns, for example)
  • Tooth decay or gum disease surrounding the crown

If you are concerned about the risks, talk to your dentist. They can determine if a crown is right for you.

How Long Do Crowns Last?

Most crowns can last for fifteen years or more.10, 11 Some may not last more than a few years, however. The material, your diet, your oral health, and the location of the crown are all factors in how long it will last.

Metal-ceramic (PFM) crowns may outperform all-ceramic crowns over the long-term (8 years or more), and zirconia crowns may last longer than other kinds of ceramic.1, 2, 12

Composite resin crowns tend not to last as long as other crowns.11 This is why dentists use composite resin more often for temporary crowns than permanent ones.

Your dentist can estimate how long your crown will last based on your specific situation.


Dental crowns are a kind of dental restoration. They’re meant to cover an existing tooth to protect and restore its original shape.

Crowns can be made from different materials depending on your specific situation. The process of preparing your tooth and making the crown can be complex.

If your dentist recommends a dental crown, talk to them about the options and any concerns you may have.

In this article

5 Types of Dental Crowns - Procedure, Aftercare, & Costs (2024)


How many types of dental crowns are there? ›

The five different types of dental crowns, all-resin, all-porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, metal, and stainless steel, each offer a slightly different approach to restoring damaged and decayed teeth.

What type of dental procedure is a crown? ›

What is a dental crown? A dental crown is a covering for an existing tooth. It can improve the way a decayed or broken tooth looks and make it stronger and longer lasting. Crowns are usually made from porcelain, ceramic, glass or metal.

What is the most expensive type of dental crown? ›

Zirconia is a biocompatible, metal-free material. Dentists can typically use less tooth preparation and more versatility for attaching them to the teeth. Conversely, a significant downside of zirconia crowns is that they are the most expensive type of crown– with prices ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.

What type of crown is the least expensive? ›

What is the cheapest crown for a tooth? Metal crowns are the most affordable option for a crown. This type of crown is mainly used at the back molar as they are not often visible. Porcelain-fused metal crowns are a great mix of cost and aesthetics.

What is the best dental crown to get? ›

Porcelain or ceramic crowns provide the best and most natural look. They match your surrounding teeth in shape, size, and color. The best option for front teeth restorations. They are biocompatible: that means no metal is used, so they are toxic-free.

How much does a zirconia crown cost? ›

The cost of a single Zirconia crown ranges between INR 9000 up to INR 25000. All Zirconia crowns come with a warranty ranging from 5 years to lifetime depending on the type.

What are the 3 types of crowns? ›

What Are the Different Types of Dental Crowns?
  • Gold Crowns.
  • All Porcelain Crowns.
  • Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns.
  • Zirconia Crowns.

How much do crowns cost for teeth? ›

Crowns can save even seriously damaged teeth. The price of a dental crown averages $1,100 to $1,300 but can vary widely. The biggest factor in a dental crown's cost is the substance it's made of: porcelain, ceramic, metal, or a combination.

What is a cheaper alternative to a crown? ›

Porcelain Onlay

By far, the most popular choice as an alternative to crowns is a porcelain onlay. A porcelain onlay is an extremely safe approach that preserves more of your natural tooth structure. This leads to an overall healthier tooth and mouth.

How much is a crown without insurance? ›

The average crown cost for a tooth ranges between $500-$2000. The dental crown costs depend on the crown's material, dentist's experience and the specific dental insurance. An average crowns' cost with insurance ranges between $500-$1500 while the cost of crowns without insurance ranges between $1000-2000$.

Which is more expensive porcelain or zirconia crowns? ›

Are zirconia crowns more expensive than porcelain? Zirconia crowns might be more expensive than porcelain crowns because of the material and preparation and dental clinic. Generally, porcelain crowns cost anywhere from $800-$1700, while zirconia crowns cost from $1000-$3000.

What are the 7 types of crowns? ›

Patients are able to choose the type of crown they require, options may include:
  • Porcelain. Porcelain crows are by far the best material for mimicking the natural appearance of teeth. ...
  • Stainless steel. ...
  • Gold crowns. ...
  • Metal (titanium) crowns. ...
  • Porcelain and metal hybrids. ...
  • Resin crowns. ...
  • Temporary crowns.
Jun 19, 2020

What is the most common crown? ›

Ceramic/Porcelain Crown

Ceramic crowns are typically made of porcelain, a specific type of ceramic. The advantages of porcelain are that it is strong and it closely resembles natural tooth enamel. Porcelain is also stain resistant. It is one of the most common types of crowns because of these benefits.

Is there a cheaper alternative to a porcelain crown? ›

3 Alternatives to Dental Crowns
  1. Onlays. Instead of a crown, dentists can also use onlays to reinforce teeth. ...
  2. Dental veneers. The dentist may decide to place a veneer instead of a crown, depending on the tooth's condition. ...
  3. Dental filling.

What is the safest type of crown? ›

Just like porcelain crowns, ceramic crowns are custom-made for you and tinted to match your teeth to create a unique dental crown that blends in with your natural smile. They don't contain any metal, so they're safe for people with metal allergies or sensitivities.

Which crown lasts longer? ›

Front tooth crowns tend to last longer than back tooth or molar crowns because they experience less pressure. Your back teeth are used to chew and grind down foods, this part of your mouth exerts more force and pressure, meaning your crowns are subjected to more work.

Is there a better alternative to a crown? ›

Inlays. Inlays are a tooth restoration option that can often be used instead of a dental crown if the area that needs treatment is located at on the top of the tooth, also known as the cusp. An experienced dentist will treat the tooth and then make an impression so the inlay can permanently bond into place.

What is the fastest dental crown? ›

Cerec porcelain crowns can be done in one day, so you are in and out of the dental office without issue. Cerec is the most effective 3D technology that can get you porcelain crowns in just one day. The 3D technology is simple and just as effective as traditional crowns.

How do I choose a crown? ›

5 Considerations When Choosing Dental Crown Material
  1. Know the reason behind getting a crown. If the goal is purely cosmetic, revisit whether porcelain veneers or tooth bonding may be more appropriate as both are less invasive. ...
  2. Compare costs. ...
  3. Consider gold. ...
  4. Consider appearance. ...
  5. Do you grind your teeth?

What is the downside of zirconia crowns? ›

Are there any disadvantages of having a Zirconia Crown? The disadvantages of zirconia crowns are minimal. The material's toughness has raised some concerns about friction against the tooth root and wearing down opposing teeth. However, frequent check-ups help reduce the possibility of damaging opposing teeth.

Which is better ceramic or zirconia crown? ›

Is zirconia better than ceramic? Zirconia is even more durable than the PFM ceramics that are commonly utilized. Solid zirconia, for example, has more stabilizers than PFM ceramics, making it more resistant to chewing and grinding forces.

What is the difference between zirconia and Cerec? ›

CEREC crowns are typically highly aesthetic. Porcelain is used mostly in the anterior and posterior, whereas zirconia is mostly used in the posterior, or back of the mouth. CEREC crowns are highly exact.

What are the hardest dental crowns? ›


These crowns incorporate porcelain and metal amalgam, and they take the best of both worlds. They're the strongest type, with decent flexibility, and they look more natural than metal crowns. They won't chip as easily as porcelain or ceramic crowns.

What's the difference in a cap and a crown? ›

A dental crown and a dental cap are the same things. A dental cap is just another term commonly used by older people to refer to dental crowns. A dental crown is a modern term used to refer to tooth-colored caps that protect damaged, brown, chipped, or discolored teeth.

How many crowns can a person have? ›

While there is no exact number of crowns that is too many, your dental care treatment may need an overhaul if you've exceeded a limit set by your dentist. You may be able to avoid crowns in the future if you take better care of your teeth or if you undergo necessary oral surgery.

How much does a real crown cost? ›

The average cost of a crown without insurance will range from $1,093 to $1,430. With insurance, the average out-of-pocket cost will range from $282 to $1,875. Many dentists offer payment plans, so you don't have to pay the full cost of dental crowns up front.

Why do dental crowns cost so much? ›

Why is a dental crown so expensive? Dental crowns are costly due to the laboratory fees and the supplies it takes to manufacture them. The manufacturing of crowns is very intricate as it's designed to match your tooth color and size. Overall, it's a time consuming and delicate procedure.

How many crowns will a dentist do at once? ›

However, you might have two or more teeth that need to be capped. If this is the case, then you may be wondering if you can get multiple crowns. The answer is yes, you can have two or more CEREC restorations made in one appointment. Keep reading to learn more about this type of dental restoration.

What are the downsides of getting a crown? ›

Disadvantages of Dental Crowns
  • Placement over areas of untreated tooth decay.
  • Discomfort due to improper fitting.
  • Increased risk of infection.
  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages.
  • Loosening or detaching of the crown.

When can a tooth not be crowned? ›

In most cases, your dentist will try to leave as much of the tooth as possible so they can restore it to its original shape and size when placing a crown. Unfortunately, if there isn't enough tooth remaining or if a significant amount of a tooth's structure has been removed, your dentist can't place a crown.

Are crowns worth the money? ›

Yes, dental crowns are worth the cost depending on the reason why you need them. When you have severely worn out or damaged teeth, they can be strengthened with dental crowns.

Are crowns less expensive than implants? ›

Crowns are cheaper than implants and the procedure is quicker and less invasive. Implants are a nearly permanent solution to missing teeth. Although pricey, they can last 25 years or more as the jawbone is strong enough to support them. They look and feel just like a patient's original teeth.

How much is a dental crown in Mexico? ›

Cost of Crowns & Bridges in Mexico
Type of CrownMexicoUSA
Porcelain/Ceramic Crown$350$2,000
PFM Crown$180$1,500
Porcelain Fused to Gold Crown$600$3,000

How is a crown attached to a tooth? ›

Once the crown is ready, the dental professional will attach the crown to a tooth by using a special dental glue or dental cement. While dental crowns are considered to be a permanent procedure, it may be necessary to replace them over a period of time if they become loose or have somehow become damaged.

What is the best toothpaste for zirconia crowns? ›

What is the best toothpaste for zirconia crowns? Any fluoride-containing toothpaste will serve. Bacteria cannot break down zirconium since it is harder than your own enamel; for the record, bacteria that cause cavities do not develop cavities in inorganic materials such as fillings and crowns.

What is the price of zirconia crown 3M? ›

Dental Crown Cost in India
Lava/ 3M/Ultra/Bruxzir/ Procera(Zirconia Crowns)- Metal Free15,000/- Per Crown
Porcelain - Base Metal Crown5000/- Per Crown
Porcelain Fused to metal (CAD-CAM Sweden)6000/- Per Crown

What looks more natural zirconia or porcelain? ›

Zirconia, like porcelain, produces a better, more natural cosmetic result. Still, it is not as natural looking as porcelain but is a much better option than gold for front teeth. It is also much stronger than porcelain so it is less likely to be damaged which can be cheaper in the long run.

What is the difference between zirconia and porcelain crowns? ›

Zirconia offers superior strength and durability for dental crowns. It is at least three times stronger than porcelain or PFM restorations. Unlike porcelain, zirconia can withstand wear and tear without chipping, so zirconia restorations tolerate the forces of mastication and bruxism.

What type of crown is most durable? ›

Metal. If you're looking for strength, metal crowns are just about the strongest option out there, in addition to being one of the least expensive options. They're made from a mix of metal alloys, resulting in a level of strength and durability that makes them unlikely to chip or break.

Which is more expensive zirconia or porcelain? ›

Are zirconia crowns more expensive than porcelain? Zirconia crowns might be more expensive than porcelain crowns because of the material and preparation and dental clinic. Generally, porcelain crowns cost anywhere from $800-$1700, while zirconia crowns cost from $1000-$3000.

What is the longest lasting crown material? ›

Metal crowns are very durable and will last the longest of any other material type available. Typically, the metals used will be gold, platinum, or an alloy metal usually containing nickel. These crowns are great for strengthening dental bridges.


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