How Long Do Crowns Last? Types & Influences
Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents
- Dental Crown Longevity & Durability
- Insurance vs Out-of-Pocket Cost
- Necessity of Crowns
Dental crowns are made from various materials, some of which last longer than others. While insurance covers about half the cost of crowns, some materials are more expensive.
Dental crowns will last for many years as long as you care for them with good oral hygiene at home and maintain regular dentist visits. At some point, you will need to have a crown replaced.
Dental Crown Material Affects Longevity & Durability
There are several materials that can be used to make dental crowns, which can affect the price and the longevity of the crown.
Base Metal Amalgam
This type of crown is one of the most durable. The color does not match natural teeth, so it will typically be used on back teeth.
Metal alloy dental crowns withstand regular wear and tear, including teeth grinding or bruxism. They rarely chip and can last for decades. One medical survey found that an amalgam dental crown could last for 22.5 years on average.
This type of metal does not match the natural color of teeth, although some people intentionally ask for gold crowns for cosmetic reasons. Like base metal alloys, they are rarely used on front teeth unless the client specifically asks for it.
Gold is a durable metal, which is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Gold dental crowns often last more than 10 years.
Ceramic or Porcelain
These crowns almost perfectly match the natural color of teeth, and they are often used for front teeth that need support or replacement. While porcelain and ceramic are exceptionally durable materials, they are brittle. They can chip or crack, and they might irritate or wear down surrounding teeth.
Composite resins, one type of crown in this group, can last for about 10 years. Glass ionomer cements, another type of ceramic or porcelain, can last about 5 years.
Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)
Resin or Stainless Steel
Insurance, Out-of-Pocket Cost & Your Choices for Dental Crowns
A dental crown is typically a medically necessary device, so your dental insurance should cover about half the cost. This is a normal breakdown for dental insurance in the United States, which cover 100 percent of annual preventative care like cleanings, 80 percent of some care like fillings or extractions, and half of more high-level treatment like crowns, bridges, and inlays.
The cost of dental crowns varies greatly on the material used. Newer materials like e.max and zirconia are more expensive, while traditional materials like metal and ceramic are less expensive.
Metal alloy is the least expensive option, ranging from $600 to $2,500 per tooth. Gold is typically more expensive, around $1,000 or more. PFM crowns are the most common and cost around $500 to $1,500 per tooth, while all porcelain or ceramic costs from $800 to $3,000. Although porcelain is one of the more expensive materials, it is one of the less durable, so you will pay more for this type of crown over your lifetime, as you pay for more replacements.
The Necessity of Crowns
A crown is a cap that goes over a dental implant, root canal, or damaged tooth that helps to protect the area, create the function of a natural tooth, and restore your smile. Dental crowns are very common appliances in American adults.
In fact, by 17 years old, about 7 percent of people in the US have lost at least one adult tooth. By 50 years old, the average American adult has lost an average of 12 teeth, including their wisdom teeth. This means that millions of adults in the United States have at least one dental crown.
Crowns are widely used by dental professionals not only to improve the appearance of teeth, but also to maintain good oral health. Putting a crown over a damaged or discolored tooth can keep it safe from further decay or enamel wear. A crown on top of a tooth that has had a root canal protects the filling and restores shape, so the tooth fits into your natural bite properly. If you lose a tooth, a crown will be put on top of a dental implant to recreate a natural tooth.
Your dentist can help you decide on the best option for materials to suit your needs, but you can factor cost and insurance coverage into the choice as well. Ultimately, choosing the balance of natural appearance and durability means you pay less over time.
Did You Know That by Age 50 Americans Have Lost an Average of 12 Teeth? Boston Magazine. Date fetched: May 16, 2021.
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How Much Does a Dental Crown Cost? Health.CostHelper. Date fetched: May 16, 2021.
The Longevity of Restorations – A Literature Review. (October 2015). The Journal of the Dental Association of South Africa.