Last fact-checked: 6 January 2019
Fix broken, ugly or misshapen teeth with dental crowns – the flexible procedure that can be used to remedy a number of problems, as well as strengthening teeth and improving the look of your smile.
A dental crown may be indicated after some other dental procedures:
It may also be used if you have damaged teeth caused by accident, injury, decay or teeth-grinding
Some people choose to have a crown for cosmetic reasons.
Dental crowns are a common procedure, but few of us realize just how expensive they are until we have to get one. A CBS News piece commented that “all the economical choice a family makes in a year can be wiped out by a trip to the dentist” and went on to say it was little wonder people were looking for cheaper alternatives abroad in Mexico and Thailand.
Indeed, if you are thinking about visiting a dentist in Thailand or Mexico, you can combine it with your next holiday to make the most savings.
This is a reasonable consideration to make. There are plenty of destinations throughout the world offering good-quality services to international patients – and at a fraction of the cost you’d pay at home.
In fact, there are some dental tourists from the United States who return again and again to their Mexico dentist, getting annual check-ups and any remedial work done simultaneously. Because they are having regular check-ups also means that any problems that do occur are nipped in the bud with preventive treatments, like a filling, rather than the problem getting worse and requiring remedial work, which costs more time and more money.
Crowns are an excellent treatment to get as a dental tourist - the procedure doesn’t take too much time out of your holiday; there’s very little downtime and if you were having more than one crown you will save a substantial amount of money.
The procedure for dental crowns typically requires two visits to the dentist. In between visits the laboratory will manufacture the crown – which could take a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
1: The first appoint takes around an hour, and the dentist will:
A: Prepare the tooth to receive the crown by shaping it
B: Take impressions of the mouth
C: Place a temporary crown
2: At the second appointment, the new crown will be fixed permanently in place.
The whole process can sometimes be carried out in a day, if your dental clinic has CAD/CAM facilities (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture).
The whole process can sometimes be carried out in a day, if your dental clinic has CAD/CAM facilities (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture). The first chairside ceramic restoration took place in 1985, and is now very much a part of modern dentistry and is available at many clinics. Clinics offering dental tourism services have seen the benefits to their patients of offering quick-turnaround times for prosthodontics, like crowns, particularly as time may be of the essence to this group of patients.
Dental crowns are made from 5 materials:
2: Ceramic (porcelain)
3: Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM)
4: Gold alloy
5: Base metal alloy (eg Zirconium)
Each material has its own merits and drawbacks, but this is something your dental professional will discuss with you.
Resin crowns are inexpensive, but they are softer than other materials and susceptible to fractures. Ceramic crowns are often used for restorations of the front teeth because they can be easily color-blended to match the surrounding natural teeth. If a stronger restoration is needed then a PFM crown is a more hard-wearing option. Gold alloy is also strong and doesn’t wear away surrounding teeth, which can be a problem with porcelain. Base metal alloys are very strong, kind to other teeth and resistant to wear. All have different price points, which may be a factor that is important to you.
Prices vary enormously throughout the world, and also depending on what material is used. Here’s a comparison of prices for a standard, full porcelain/ceramic crown:
In the United States, a ceramic crown costs, on average, $1,200; In Mexico, crowns cost $350 at the Clinica Ortodoncia Estetica in Mexicali.
In the United Kingdom, a ceramic crown costs, £970; In Thailand, crowns at the Bangkok Smile Malo Clinic cost £420.
In Australia, a ceramic crown costs AUD $1,500; In Bali, crowns cost AUD $440 at the Bali 911 Dental Clinic in Kuta.
As dental training is now fairly standardized across the globe, we’ve found that the quality of care is generally very high, at least in the countries we have experienced! As in any other walk of life, it always pays to do some research, which is why Dental Departures have already covered this. There is no easy way to verify whether a clinic or dentist is trustworthy, but looking at a number of different factors can give you a rounded picture.
Confirming dentist qualifications and professional affiliations is on our checklist. Although dentists in most countries do have thorough professional bodies that they must be members of, many have trained abroad and have memberships of Western organizations like the American Dental Association, too. We undertake onsite visits and publish real patient reviews on our website, as well as memberships to international health and safety organizations, like the ISO.
Of course, no dental procedure can ever be guaranteed completely – we are all individuals and react differently and, there is also the risk of human error. However, you can mitigate any problems just by making sure the dentist you book with has the right credentials. All of our dentists offer guarantees and/or warranties on their work and will fix any problems free-of-charge. You may also find it worth taking out additional insurance for complications – which will take care of additional travel and hotel expenses if you have to stay longer than anticipated, or if you have to travel back if there is a problem.
Dental tourism is certainly worth the effort if you choose wisely. There are some incredible dental tourism centres across the world, including Bali, Vietnam, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Colombia which are all very popular as holiday destinations in their own right, as well as for dental tourists.
We recommend you take a look at the Dental Departures’ website, search for the procedure and location you want, compare prices and see how easy it will be for you to book in for a dental crown on your next holiday. Talk it over with our Customer Care team if you’ve any questions – they’re happy to help.
Fasbinder, Dennis J. 25 Years of Chairside CAD/CAM Dentistry. Journal of the American Dental Association. 1 June 2010. https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)63733-8/abstract
Your Dental Crowns Procedure: What to Expect. Colgate. 17 November 2018. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/bridges-and-crowns/your-dental-crown-procedure-what-to-expect-0113