Dental Crowns

Types, Costs, & Plans that Cover the Service

By Insurance Industry Expert & Author
Updated on
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If your dentist has told you one or more of your teeth requires a crown, you likely need answers to questions such as:

Dental Crown Types

A crown is basically a cover fashioned over the remains of a damaged tooth. There are many types of dental crowns and the choice of material has an effect on the expense of the procedure. The most popular material for a tooth crown is porcelain, because it creates a realistic artificial tooth. However, there are several varieties of porcelain crowns (sometimes called ceramic crowns). The first is pure porcelain, and this one is widely believed to be the best at matching the look of natural teeth. People who are getting a crown on a front tooth may choose a pure porcelain crown for this aesthetic reason. Porcelain can also be fused to a metal base (sometimes referred to as a PFM). This option leverages the durability associated with metal crowns while retaining the attractiveness of a porcelain crown. The point where the metal fuses to porcelain may be visible and, if so, it will be possible to distinguish these crowns from natural teeth. Another type of porcelain crown is a pressed porcelain crown.

Other materials used for crowns include:

  • Metal (e.g. gold, nickel-chromium, cobalt-chromium)
  • Resin
  • Zirconia
  • E.max (lithium disilicate)

Metal crowns are normally used in the rear of the mouth since they do not match the look of natural teeth. They have the advantage of exceptional durability and they wear down surrounding teeth less than porcelain crowns. Resin is an inexpensive material and, like metal crowns, produce less wear on surrounding teeth. However, unlike metal crowns, resin crowns do not have a long lifespan. Among porcelain crowns,  Zirconia may have the longest average life without chipping or breaking. This material, it should be noted, isn’t quite as translucent as some of the other porcelain crown options and may not match tooth color perfectly. As a consequence, this material may be avoided in some cases for a crown on a front tooth. Zirconia is a stronger material than another new entry on the market, E.max. E.max is considered when of the best materials for replicating the look of a natural tooth and hiding the existence of a crown. However, as a material less strong than zirconia, it’s lifespan is also shorter than zirconia.

The major trade-offs in crown materials are expense, durability, and aesthetics (i.e. appearance). Metal crowns last the longest and resin the shortest. Porcelain crowns are valued for their natural appearance but are not as long-lived as metal alternatives. Zirconia is tough and natural looking but may not be able to match existing teeth appearance exactly.

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How Much Does a Crown Cost

As indicated in the above section, the cost of the crown is effected by the material used and the tooth capped. Assuming no extra dental work is required before a crown is implemented, rough price estimates for different crown materials are as follows:

  • Porcelain - $800 to more than $2,000
  • Porcelain fused to Metal (PFM) - $500 to $1,500
  • E.max - $1,100 to $1,800
  • Resin - Around $500
  • Zirconia - $800 to more than $2,000
  • Gold - $500 to more than $2,000

Remember - the dentist from whom you receive a crown can greatly affect the price so request price quotes from multiple dentists. In some cases, you may also require a root canal before a crown is implemented. A root canal, without insurance, often costs in the range of $700 to $2,000 depending on the tooth and the dentist performing the procedure.

Dental Crown Out-of-Pocket Costs with Insurance

Your specific insurance plan determines whether a crown is a covered service and, if it is, how much you will pay out of your own pocket. Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (known as Dental HMOs or DHMOs) charge often charge a fixed dollar amount for a particular crown. For example, a particular plan may require a patient to contribute $430 toward the cost of a porcelain crown fused to metal. This fixed dollar amount is a called a copayment, and copayments among different dental plans for the same procedure.

A dental PPO plan (Preferred Provider Organization) provides a percentage of the crown cost (if crowns are covered) with the unpaid remainder being the financial responsibility of the patient. For example, if a dental PPO pays for half of the crown cost, the other half is paid by the patient.

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How Long Does a Dental Crown Last?

The lifespan of a crown is affected by several factors including a person’s oral care habits, diet, and the material used for the crown. The longest lasting crown material is metal. Metal is very durable and resistant to chips or cracks. A metal crown may last quite long, such as twenty years and possibly as long as a lifetime in an adult if it is treated with proper care. A porcelain crown, in contrast, is not as durable as metal and may last 15 years or less. A resin crown is expected to have an even shorter lifespan. It may only last three to five years. If a porcelain crown is made from the material lithium disilicate (also called E.max), it is expected to last longer than traditional porcelain since lithium disilicate is a stronger material. Zirconia is a very hard material and may have a life longer than E.max, with a lifespan similar to a metal crown.

There are foods that can negatively affect the life of a crown. Typically they have one of two characteristics:

  • They are extremely hard, resulting in extreme pressure put on the teeth when chewed (which may crack the crown)
  • They are extremely sticky and can exert a pulling force on the teeth when the teeth separate during chewing (which may pull the crown off the tooth base to which it was glued or cemented)

The first category includes granola, hard candy, nuts that are thick and stiff, and chewing on ice. The second category includes taffy, toffee, Tootsie Rolls, candy apples, and caramel.

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Dental Insurance That Cover Crowns

Below is a table that provides, for each state, two examples of dental plans with crown coverage. The table also indicates whether the dental plan has delay where you have to be enrolled in the plan for a minimum number of months before crowns are covered.

Out-of-pocket costs refer to what the consumer is expected to pay for covered dental services (in the form of a copayment or coinsurance fee). Out-of-pocket estimates below assume that a deductible is satisfied if a deductible is present on the dental plan. Out-of-pockets costs may be lower if you have a crown procedure in the second or third year of continuous enrollment in a dental plan. The chart below displays whether crown costs in the second and third year of enrollment. You can also use our Dental Insurance quotes link here and find plans available in your zip code and compare the crown coverage among them.

Please note, the table of information on coverage is best viewed on a larger screen.

Insurance Company Plan Name Waiting Period* Out of Pocket costs for crowns during enrollment
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Alabama
Guardian Advantage Diamond 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Alaska
MetLife TakeAlong Dental Medium None 80% 70% 50%
Ameritas Hollywood Mega Smile 1500 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Arizona
Humana Loyalty Plus None 80% 70% 50%
Humana Extend 5000 6 mos. 50% 40% 40%
Arkansas
NCD by MetLife NCD Essentials by MetLife None 90% 50% 40%
Ameritas Dallas Smile Plan None 80% 70% 50%
California
Anthem BlueCross Essential Choice Incentive None 70% 60% 50%
MetLife TakeAlong Dental High 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Colorado
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Select 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Renaissance Dental Plan II 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Connecticut
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Gold 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Nationwide Premier Select 1500 12 mos. 40% 40% 40%
Deleware
Delta Dental Immediate Coverage Plan None 90% 60% 50%
Renaissance Dental MAX Choice None 80% 60% 50%
Florida
MetLife TakeAlong Dental Medium None 80% 70% 50%
Renaissance Dental Plan III 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Georgia
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Silver 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Delta Dental Immediate Coverage Plan None 90% 60% 50%
Hawaii
Ameritas Dallas Smile Plan None 80% 70% 50%
Careington 500 Series Dental Savings None Year 1: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 2: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 3: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Idaho
Guardian Advantage Achiever 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
NCD Nationwide 5000 Plan 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Illinois
MetLife TakeAlong Dental High 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Renaissance Dental Plan II 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Indiana
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Platinum 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Iowa
Ameritas Hollywood Smile Premier 1500 None 80% 70% 50%
NCD Nationwide 3000 Plan 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Kansas
Nationwide Premier Select 1500 12 mos. 40% 40% 40%
Careington 500 Series Dental Savings None Year 1: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 2: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 3: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Kentucky
Delta Dental of Kentucky Bright Smiles None 75% 50% 50%
Humana Dental Value Plan C550 None Year 1: $370 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Year 2: $370 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Year 3: $370 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Louisiana
Renaissance Dental MAX Choice Plus None 80% 60% 50%
Delta Dental Immediate Coverage Plan None 90% 60% 50%
Maine
Ameritas Dallas Smile Plan None 80% 70% 50%
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Platinum 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Maryland
Dominion National Select Plan Premium None Year 1: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Year 2: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Year 3: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Careington 500 Series Dental Savings None Year 1: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 2: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 3: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Massachusetts
Guardian Advantage Diamond 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
NCD by MetLife NCD Essentials by MetLife None 90% 50% 40%
Michigan
Humana Extend 2500 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Nationwide Premier Select 1500 12 mos. 40% 40% 40%
Minnesota
Renaissance Dental Plan III 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Humana Loyalty Plus None 80% 70% 50%
Mississippi
Renaissance Dental MAX Choice Plus None 80% 60% 50%
Missouri
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Gold 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Humana Dental Value Plan HI215 None Year 1: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Year 2: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Year 3: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Montana
Ameritas Hollywood Mega Smile 1500 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
MetLife TakeAlong Dental Medium None 80% 70% 50%
Nebraska
Renaissance Dental Plan II 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Humana Extend 2500 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Nevada
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Platinum 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Delta Dental Immediate Coverage Plan None 90% 60% 50%
New Hampshire
MetLife TakeAlong Dental High 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Guardian Advantage Achiever 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
New Jersey
Dominion National Select Plan Basic None $523 porcelain crown fused metal, $560 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
$523 porcelain crown fused metal, $560 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
$523 porcelain crown fused metal, $560 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
NCD by MetLife NCD Complete by MetLife None 90% 50% 40%
New Mexico
Ameritas Dallas Smile Plan None 80% 70% 50%
NCD Nationwide 3000 Plan 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
New York
Guardian Managed DentalGuard None Year 1: $430 porcelain crown fused metal, $450 porcelain/ceramic crown
Year 2: $430 porcelain crown fused metal, $450 porcelain/ceramic crown
Year 3: $430 porcelain crown fused metal, $450 porcelain/ceramic crown
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Platinum 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
North Carolina
Ameritas Hollywood Smile Premier 2500 None 80% 70% 50%
Humana Loyalty Plus None 80% 70% 50%
North Dakota
NCD by MetLife NCD Essentials by MetLife None 90% 50% 40%
Ohio
Guardian Advantage Core 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Humana Dental Value Plan HI215 None Year 1: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Year 2: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Year 3: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Oklahoma
Ameritas Hollywood Smile Premier Plus 2000 None 80% 70% 50%
Nationwide Premier Select 1500 12 mos. 40% 40% 40%
Oregon
Dental Health Services SmartSmile None Year 1: $490 porcelain fused metal crown, $340 porcelain/ceramic crown
Year 2: $490 porcelain fused metal crown, $340 porcelain/ceramic crown
Year 3: $490 porcelain fused metal crown, $340 porcelain/ceramic crown
Pennsylvania
Humana Extend 5000 6 mos. 50% 40% 40%
Dominion National Select Plan Premium None Year 1: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Year 2: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Year 3: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Rhode Island
Careington 500 Series Dental Savings None Year 1: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 2: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 3: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Guardian Advantage Diamond 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
South Carolina
Humana Loyalty Plus None 80% 70% 50%
NCD Nationwide 5000 Plan 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
South Dakota
NCD by MetLife NCD Complete by MetLife None 90% 50% 40%
Renaissance Dental Plan III 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Tennessee
Humana Dental Value Plan HI215 None Year 1: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Year 2: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Year 3: $410 for crown-porcelain fused to noble metal
Delta Dental of Tennessee Superior Advantage None 75% 50% 50%
Texas
Renaissance Dental MAX Choice None 80% 60% 50%
MetLife TakeAlong Dental HMO-Managed Care 245 (High) None Year 1: $350 Porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 2: $350 Porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 3: $350 Porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Utah
Renaissance Dental MAX Choice Plus None 80% 60% 50%
Nationwide Premier Select 1500 12 mos. 40% 40% 40%
Vermont
Ameritas Dallas Smile Plan None 80% 70% 50%
Virginia
NCD Nationwide 3000 Plan 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Dominion National Select Plan Premium None Year 1: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Year 2: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Year 3: $495 porcelain crown fused metal, $531 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
Washington State
MetLife TakeAlong Dental High 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Guardian Advantage Achiever 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Washington D.C.
Guardian Advantage Core 12 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Dominion National Select Plan Basic None $523 porcelain crown fused metal, $560 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
$523 porcelain crown fused metal, $560 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
$523 porcelain crown fused metal, $560 porcelain/ceramic substrate crown
West Virginia
Delta Dental Immediate Coverage Plan None 90% 60% 50%
Nationwide Premier Select 1500 12 mos. 40% 40% 40%
Wisconsin
Ameritas Hollywood Smile Premier Plus 2000 None 80% 70% 50%
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Essential Choice Silver 6 mos. 50% 50% 50%
Wyoming
NCD by MetLife NCD Complete by MetLife None 90% 50% 40%
Careington 500 Series Dental Savings None Year 1: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 2: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal
Year 3: $815 porcelain crown fused to predominantly base metal, $836 porcelain crown fused to high noble metal

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