A dental crown procedure may be your best bet if you have a broken tooth, one that is badly worn, or one which has been severely weakened over time due to other dental procedures - and it can vastly improve the appearance of your smile.
Crowns are a perfect solution if your tooth isn't structurally sound enough to be filled. Your natural tooth will be reshaped so that a crown can be applied over it, protecting the tooth and preventing further damage. Crowns can also be very useful for holding bridges in place.
Sometimes dental crowns are also used for misshapen or badly discolored teeth, although in some cases dental veneers might be a better option for cosmetic repairs.
Dental crowns can be quite expensive - in the United States, for example, you could expect to pay $600 to $700 per tooth for a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown, or even $1,500 for a porcelain crown fused to gold.
However, by traveling to Mexico, you could pay a lot less. A standard porcelain-fused-to-metal crown in Mexico would probably cost around $250, and even a crown fused to a gold base would cost less than $450. In the United States, the cost of an all-ceramic Empress crown would be $700 to $1200, compared to an average of $375 in Mexico. In Costa Rica, you could expect to pay around $450 for a base metal crown or $600 for a porcelain Empress crown. As you can see, the savings can be significant for a dental crown procedure!
The only difference you'll notice with your dental crown procedure is the price.
In many countries that cater to the tourist dental trade - Costa Rica, Mexico, Hungary, Thailand, India - dental offices are safe, sterile, and very modern. In fact, you probably won't notice any difference between an office in another country and your own dentist's office. The same brands of dental crowns are used, and dentists are highly trained in the procedure. It's simply that overall costs are naturally lower in other countries so crown costs also stay low.
And what happens after my dental crown procedure?
Dental crowns are quite durable, so problems are rare. In some cases, a crowned tooth will be slightly sensitive after the anesthesia starts to wear off, but that should be temporary. Often, using toothpaste for sensitive teeth will help. After you get your crown, you should be able to eat the same foods you always did.
Occasionally a crown may become loose, chipped or even fall off, but the adhesive used with crowns is extremely strong so that won't happen often. If a crown does fall off, a dentist will often be able to reattach it.
Depending on the kind of crown used, you might also see a dark line next to the gum. This is completely normal for porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. This line is why some dentists often use this kind of dental crown procedure in the back of the mouth, where the line can't be seen.
After you get your dental crown you'll still have to take good care of your teeth, and brush and floss regularly. Just because a tooth is crowned doesn't eliminate decay.
Getting a crown will require two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the dentist will examine the tooth, do any necessary reshaping, and take dental impressions. You'll also get fitted with a temporary crown. This is also your chance to ask questions.
A second visit will be necessary a few weeks later so that the permanent crown made by a dental lab can be attached with dental crown cement. So if you're planning to have your dental crown procedure done overseas, you'll need to schedule two separate trips. But since neither of the actual dentist visits is especially time-consuming, you'll have plenty of time for tourism and sightseeing.
So choose your destination with that in mind. It may not be worth it if all you need is one crown but if you need several, you'll still be saving money, even after two trips.