Your Guide to Top-Quality, Affordable DentistryDental crowns are a common dental procedure used to cover a tooth that is worn, broken, or decayed. The crown can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. It is fabricated in a laboratory to the dentist’s specifications and then cemented into place, so that it fully covers the tooth at and above the gum line. A dental filling (adding dental material to a tooth) can be used to repair a damaged tooth or reform the shape of a tooth, but the results may not prove as durable or aesthetically pleasing as a crown.
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If you need only one crown, you likely won’t save money traveling, but you may choose to do so anyway. Some global patients have established satisfactory relationships with out-of-country dentists and wouldn’t dream of having their dental work done elsewhere. Others take a "might-as-well-as" approach to dental care: If they plan to visit a country for business or pleasure, why not save a little money on dental care at the same time?
If a large number of crowns are anticipated, cost savings become an important consideration. A single porcelain crown costs from US$600 to US$3,100 in the US. Savings in Mexico and Thailand can be as much as 60 percent. In Costa Rica and Malaysia, the average savings is 65 percent.
Getting a crown is a process. First, the dentist takes an impression of the tooth and sends instructions to the lab that will make the crown. Then the site of the tooth is prepared and a temporary crown is placed over it until the permanent crown is ready. Be sure to ask your dentist how long it will take to create the permanent crown. Some dentists have labs onsite and promise very quick results. If your dentist uses an offsite lab, it can take several days or weeks before the permanent crown is ready to be positioned.
If you’re planning to travel for a crown, make sure your schedule can accommodate two or more trips to the dentist. Also, verify that your dentist’s schedule matches your travel plans, and allow plenty of recovery time, especially if you are having several crowns done at once.
Non-US dentists practicing abroad can apply for affiliate membership in the American Dental Association (ADA). Such membership is available to dentists who are practicing in a country other than the United States and who do not have an active US dental license.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) runs an accreditation program that serves professionals practicing in the US and abroad. Applicants for accreditation complete a rigorous credentialing process that includes a written examination, oral examination, and peer review of clinical cases.
Last updated on 2 August 2011