If your wisdom teeth have arrived or are about to, there's a chance they may need to be extracted. Many people have to get their wisdom teeth removed. Teeth removal may be necessary to prevent jaw pain, infection, and teeth crowding.
Wisdom teeth, also known as our third molars, usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. There have been cases where some teens as young as 14 begin to see their wisdom teeth erupt.
There are four wisdom teeth, two on the top, and two on the bottom. Both are towards the back of the mouth since they are the last set of teeth to come in.
Some people have zero issues with their wisdom teeth coming in, they line in perfectly with their molars and teeth. However, in most cases, there isn't enough room for the wisdom teeth to properly come in. This is where wisdom teeth can become fully or partially impacted, meaning that they're stuck in the gums.
The cost of a wisdom tooth extraction varies. There are simple tooth extractions and more complicated cases. This article will cover the ins and outs of wisdom teeth removal costs.
Common Reasons for Wisdom Tooth Removal:
Impacted wisdom teeth
If your last set of molars never break through the gums, they could become impacted within the jaw. An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to uncomfortable jaw pain, infection, cysts, and compromise the structure of your tooth roots and bone. Impacted wisdom teeth are commonly removed by oral surgeons.
This happens when an incoming wisdom tooth has broken through the gums partially. Even the best dental care routine makes it hard to fully clean partial eruptions. This situation fosters a breeding ground for bacteria to build up. This can increase your chances of gum disease and infection.
A misaligned eruption is when the wisdom teeth sprout fully but they come in at an awkward angle. This angle can disrupt nearby healthy teeth and cause unnecessary crowding.
Since your adult teeth are already permanently positioned, when your wisdom teeth come in it could cause them to shift out of alignment, often causing overcrowding, pain, and bite issues. Crowded teeth are more difficult to clean and are more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. Wisdom teeth removal may be necessary to avoid the hefty cost of braces in the future.
One big reason to bite the wisdom teeth removal cost is to prevent sinus pain. Did you know that impacted wisdom teeth can affect your sinuses, too? When your third molars come in, they can cause sinus pressure, pain, and constant congestion. Your oral health can affect other aspects of your wellbeing.
Gingivitis, one of the early signs of gum disease, can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. If the wisdom teeth are putting pressure on your gums, it could cause redness, inflammation, and bleeding. Oftentimes, a poorly erupted wisdom tooth can make it difficult to clean around the area, making the gum line more prone to infection.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost
As mentioned, wisdom teeth removal costs can vary. Factors that affect cost are your location (prices vary by state), whether the teeth are impacted or misaligned, and whether general anesthesia is necessary.
Below are the ballpark costs of wisdom teeth removal procedures.
Simple wisdom tooth extraction | $75 - $250
A simple tooth extraction is a non-surgical extraction. The wisdom tooth has fully erupted and has easy roots to pull. A dentist or oral surgeon usually will only need to use local anesthesia for this procedure.
Single impacted wisdom tooth | $250 - $850
An impacted wisdom tooth costs more to remove and the type of impaction also affects the cost. For example, some teeth are partially impacted in the soft gum tissue while other teeth are impacted in the jaw bone. Local or general anesthesia and nitric oxide are typically used for this procedure.
Four impacted wisdom teeth | $1,000 - $3,500
If all four wisdom teeth need to be extracted, the removal cost reaches the thousands. Oral surgeons or dentists may offer a special price if you remove all four wisdom teeth at once. According to CostHelper, the nationwide average (including general anesthetic) is between $1,500 and $2,300. The final cost depends on the complexity of your case.
Anesthesia | $200 - $800
Local anesthesia may cost $200 - $600 per tooth and general anesthesia may cost $250 - $800. Anesthesia is necessary for impacted teeth to ensure you don't feel any nerve or gum pain.
Nitrous oxide | $50 - $150
Nitrous oxide, also known as 'laughing gas' helps relax a patient for a dental procedure. It's a colorless gas that is used for sedation and pain relief. It can make the person feel temporarily high. Many people often report feeling giggly.
A small mask is placed on your face that allows you to inhale a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. You'll be fully conscious but more relaxed and calm. The effects of laughing gas wear off in 3-5 minutes. You should be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
Additional costs may also include x-rays ($200 - $600) and an initial findings exam ($50 - $250). As you have probably gleaned, there's no such thing as cheap wisdom teeth removal. The dental procedures and treatment costs add up fast.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Process
Wisdom teeth removal surgery is typically performed by an oral surgeon or dentist. The dental professional will take x-rays and exam your teeth. On the day of the procedure, you'll be put under intravenous anesthesia or nitrous oxide to relax and sedate you. The oral surgeon will then cut into your gums and remove the whole tooth if possible. Sometimes the tooth is broken and removed in pieces.
The surgeon may further numb the surrounding area with a local anesthetic. The specialist also removes any necessary tissue, bone, and tooth fragments. Afterward, the gums are stitched back up to close the area.
After the procedure, gauze will be placed on your gums for you to bite down on. This will help clot the area. You may feel tired and swollen after the surgery. Recovery may take a few weeks and your doctor will likely prescribe you pain medication.
Surgery may not be necessary if your third molars have fully erupted and are deemed easy to take out.
Ways to Pay for Wisdom Teeth Removal
There are several ways to supplement the cost of wisdom tooth extraction. Wisdom teeth removal costs are often partially or fully covered by your health care provider.
Many dental insurance plans cover a partial (or full) amount if the procedure is deemed medically necessary. Check with your dental insurance provider to see if they are able to help cover some of the removal cost.
Your dental office may offer an in-house payment plan or a special package deal for removing all four wisdom teeth at once. Some dentists or oral surgeons may offer an interest-free payment plan over a period of 12-36 months.
Many offices will work with you in lowering your monthly payment if you put down a deposit. It helps to call ahead and ask how the dental specialists are willing to work with your budget.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
A health savings account is a government-regulated savings account that lets you pay for medical expenses. The money deposited into an HSA account is not taxed. It's common for your employer to also make a contribution to your HSA account. The funds are yours to use and roll over into the next year.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
A flexible spending account is a special account used to pay for out-of-pocket healthcare costs. You don't pay taxes on these funds used and employers may also make contributions to your FSA. For flexible spending arrangement accounts, the money does not roll over to the next year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens after you get your wisdom teeth removed?
After you get your wisdom teeth removed, it takes a few weeks to fully heal. You'll have to take extra care of your teeth and gums. Taking Advil or Tylenol will help soothe any throbbing pain or discomfort. You'll most likely be put on a liquid and soft food diet while your gums and jaw heal.
Is extracting wisdom teeth worth it?
It's worth it since you're preventing further complications down the road. Wisdom teeth removal cost may seem costly, but it could be saving you thousands of dollars in the future. Your oral health affects your overall health.
When is wisdom teeth removal unnecessary?
There are some lucky people that may be able to dodge wisdom tooth removal costs. Some people's third molars come in without causing any issues to the jaw, gums, and surrounding teeth.
There are some situations where wisdom teeth removal is unnecessary. If your wisdom teeth are healthy, they've erupted successfully, fell in line with the rest of your teeth without disturbing your bite, and you're able to brush and floss properly, then there's a high chance you can keep all four wisdom teeth.