Last fact-checked: 7 March 2019
Fix broken, ugly or misshapen teeth with dental crowns – this flexible procedure can be used to remedy a number of problems, as well as strengthen teeth and improve the look of your smile.
The need for a dental crown may be indicated following other dental treatment:
● if you’ve had a dental implant, a crown is fitted as a false tooth
● after a root canal, a crown may be used to strengthen the tooth
● a crown may also be fitted to strengthen a tooth after a large filling
It may also be used if you have damaged teeth caused by accident, injury, decay or teeth-grinding. Some people also 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 find out we actually need one. A CBS News piece commented that “all the economic choices a family makes in a year can be wiped out by a trip to the dentist”–going on to explain why it is little wonder more and more people are looking for cheaper alternatives abroad in countries like Mexico and Thailand.
Indeed, whether you are thinking about visiting a dentist in Thailand or Mexico, it’s now easier than ever to combine it with your next holiday (and put those savings to good use!)
In fact, some dental tourists from the United States return again and again to their Mexico dentist, having their annual check-ups and any remedial work done simultaneously. Thanks to regular check-ups, it also means that any problems that do occur can be nipped in the bud with preventive treatments, like fillings, rather than allowing the problem worsen which will eventually require more expensive remedial work.
Crowns are an excellent treatment to get as a dental tourist; the procedure doesn’t take too much time out of your holiday and there’s very little downtime. Plus, if you need more than one crown, you can save even more money in the long run.
The procedure for dental crowns typically requires two visits to the dentist (with the exception as explained further down). Between visits, the laboratory will manufacture the crown and perform any final adjustments.
In general, the procedure is as follows:
1: The first appointment takes around an hour, during which 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 entire process can sometimes be carried out in a day if your dental clinic has CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture) equipment. The first chairside ceramic restoration took place in 1985; today, this is now very much a part of modern dentistry and available at many of our best clinics.
Dental crowns can be made from five 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 dentist 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, 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 Ortodonci Estetica 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, Indonesia.
As dental training is now fairly standardized around the globe, we’ve found that the quality of care at the best clinics is generally very high. As in any other walk of life, it always pays to do some research, which is why Dental Departures has 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 more rounded picture.
Confirming dentist qualifications and professional affiliations is on our checklist. Although dentists in most countries do have thorough professional bodies of which they must be members, many have also trained abroad and are members of Western organizations like the American Denta Association. 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. There is also the risk of human error. However, you can mitigate any problems by making sure that the dentist and clinic you book with have the right credentials.
All our dentists offer guarantees on their work and will fix any problems free-of-charge. You may also find it worth taking out additional insurance for complications; this 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. You will discover reliable dental tourism centers around the world, including Bali, Vietnam, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Colombia, all of which are hugely popular holiday destinations in their own right, as well as for dental tourists.
First things first: we recommend you take a look at the Dental Departures’ website and search for the procedure and location that suits your condition and budget. From there, you can compare prices, see clinic photos and read real patient reviews. The next step is to talk it over with our Customer Care Team, who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Butler, Sarah. Is Your Dentist Ripping You Off? CBS News. 15 April 2011. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/is-your-dentist-ripping-you-off/
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
Monin Dombrowski, Margie. Tooth Cracked In Half: Can It Be Fixed?Colgate. Website accessed: 7 March 2019. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/dental-emergencies-and-sports-safety/tooth-cracked-in-half-can-it-be-fixed-0515
Dodge, Lora. Types of Dental Fillings. Very Well Health. 25 May 2018. https://www.verywellhealth.com/different-types-of-fillings-1059018
Improve Your Smile: Cosmetic Dentistry 101. WebMD. Website accessed: 7 March 2019. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry
Do you need dental crowns? Find out with our guide. Medium. 7 October 2016. https://medium.com/forever-young/do-you-need-dental-crowns-find-out-with-our-guide-6becf759c756