Why The Hell is a tooth Crown so expensive?

I have been advised that I need to get a root canal surgery and then a crown on top of that.

I guess I understand the cost of the root canal as its multiple visits and a more complex procedure.
But why the hell does a tooth crown have to cost $1700-$2000? That's on top of the Root canal surgery itself which is another $1700. Feels like the technology should allow the procedure to be relatively inexpensive. Feels like dentists are price gouging.

Surely we can 3D print a crown in 30 seconds these days and be done with it.


  • What did other dentists quote you?

  • +4

    Crown is multiple visits as well. Tooth is prepared, probably xray, mould taken for the crown to be made from, temporary crown installed then next visit temporary crown removed, clean up and prep work and final crown installed and adjusted.

    Not saying it isn't expensive but I'm not sure how cheap you think it should be with multiple steps and people involved.

  • +2

    1700 is pretty avg

    Materials, Overheads, Prep, the actual education + skills (you don't want to be grinding or feel uncomfortable closing your jaw..

    I'm sure you could go overseas and get it done.

    Else don't give them the satisfaction - Floss and brush + Don't smoke / lollies / soft drinks etc

    • +1

      unfortunately the lollies is what got me to this situation when I was a kid.
      I try to avoid soft drinks and brush and floss these days. But the damage is done.

      • +1

        Well it's something you'll have for life :) It's too late now.

        Your 3D printing crowns comment - It's more of a milling process…

        I don't think you want a plastic tooth - imagine how long that'd last.

        Lookup Cerec - but the equipment is like 300K - someone's gotta pay that off :P

        Here's 10% off - https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/630293 - if you can find them

      • curious, how much lollies did you eat?

  • +4

    Yeah, got to strip that baby back, take a mould to get milled, whack in a temporary glass ionomer restorative, get you to come back, rip off the temporary, prepare the area, cement and place dat crown.

    Kind of a bit of work.

    • +1

      And then add what it cost the dentist for their training, plus the cost of kitting out and running the practice, and the price seems pretty reasonable to me.

      I have five crowns and an implant, so reckon that I know a bit about what I am prepared to pay a professional for a professional job.

  • +2

    If its not one of the front teeth
    Ask about a poor mans crown - stainless steel Band

    I had root canal on a tooth years ago (didnt get a crown) and recently the filling failed
    Was gonna get it pulled but dentist suggested that
    $170 with the filling redone

  • the price varies i had one quote for $4500 , ended up getting it done for $3000 from what i feel was the better dentist.

    my root canal was done same day if i recall. it could have been two visits , initial consult then booking but i guess i lucked out ?

    and with the crown , o god was there a lot of grinding of tooth to make room for it and make it fit right, they kinda square out your tooth, not just get the cap and pop it on

  • +4

    So much bs justification.

    It's expensive because it's expensive. Dentists want to make good money. I don't necessarily hold it against them - they are doing a good service and probably worked pretty hard to get where they are. No doubt there are substantial costs too. But yeah, the price is high because that's where they set it and we've let it pass.

    • +3

      thought this would have been the same with every business?

      You should see how much my electrician charged to install a couple of power points…

      • +2

        Of course it's the same. People try to get the most they can get away with. For whatever reasons there are different standards for different categories, including profession.

      • You should see how much my electrician charged to install a couple of power points

        The other way to look at it is, tradies (in big metro cities, like Sydney), like to make ~100k-200k/year. That works out to ~50-100/hour if they worked 40 hours/week, 50 weeks/year. Unfortunately they spend lots of time driving to jobs and quoting, which isn't billable, so when they land a job, they need to price it at $100-$200/hour.

        I can easily see a couple of powerpoints costing $200+ … that does even take into account their expenses like vehicle, equipment, insurance, advertising, etc.

        You can do the same calculation for Dentists, just replace the 200k/year with 400k/year and add in costs like rent, staff, etc. I can easily see a Dentist pricing a job at $600/hour.

        • +4

          Only difference is dentistry requires more than half a decade of training, where installing powerpoints can be done by children

          • +2


            Only difference is dentistry requires more than half a decade of training, where installing powerpoints can be done by children

            That's one perspective. Last I checked an electrician apprenticeships takes 4 years.

            In any case, my point wasn't to compare dentists and electricians, just give the OP some insight into how "professionals" come up with astronomical prices for menial pieces of work.

          • +1

            @kille745: Not sure why this is such an important factor. Dentists may require half a decade of training, some other jobs don't require much training but are crucial to society and are a perpetual misery until retirement yet don't pay so well.

  • +1

    Go to Pakistan.

  • +4

    Opt for a gold cap, at least that way your kids can get some cost recovery.

    • +1

      Maybe even make some money if the gold price really rises!

  • lookup the preferred providers for health insurance companies.
    they tend to have the lowest prices.
    crown for about $1300 (bit more for gold)
    root canal for about $1300

  • Go to Thailand or Hungary and get it all done, bridge any gaps you have, do it all at once.

  • Be aware that a crown doesn’t last forever. You might be paying for 10 years only.

  • +2

    Crown's are 3D printed in a way, they are milled out of a block of ceramic by a machine. It's pretty quick to do to.

    They are expensive because your dentist's spouse and children have expensive habits.

    • That is the literal opposite of 3d printing…

      • Yeah CAD milling is the total opposite of CAD printing….

        Which one uses g-code for axis movement, and which one uses the opposite of it?

        • +1

          Printing is an additive process, milling is subtractive. Addition and subtraction are generally considered to be opposites.

          • @djsweet: The engineers I hang around with are the opposite of pedantic, but regardless they would have recognized the preface '3D printed in a way' as language for someone explaining to the layperson to better understand the process of milling in the context of how crowns are made.

            Addition and subtraction may be opposites, but if you use them in the same equation they are part of the same equation. In the context of creating parts from scratch - FDM and CAD milling are both processes to create a part using computer controlled axis and are not opposites as they can end up with the same result.

            • -1

              @studentl0an: You can print titanium but you can't '3D print' a part out of natural wood. (theres wood fiber filamens i know)

              So it's best not to mix up print and mill when it comes to manufacturing.

              Now there is a new technology to mill existing old crown with laser to deconstruct the ceramic material. Are you going to say it's 3D printing?

              • @skillet: I didn't even mix them up in the original comment! I literally wrote that's it's milled and to help the layperson understand I wrote that it's like 3D printing "in a way".

  • +3

    The real question is why teeth are the only part of the body left out of Medicare?

    • +1

      Because when the government tried to include it a few years ago, the rorting was so astronomical, it became unviable.

      • When did that happen?

    • Boob jobs for women, and life long hormone blockers for trans paid for by medicare but not teeth.

      What a time to be a taxpayer.

  • +1

    I got quoted over $2k for a crown recently.

  • Got Crown done 2 days ago. $1900 but only got $500 back from health fund. All done in one afternoon. Prep and scanning in one session, they do the "milling" on-site, return later for the glueing and adjustments.

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