Congratulations, your wisdom teeth have arrived! Unfortunately, many times these wisdom teeth — also known as third molars — need to be removed. The way these teeth grow can cause all kinds of complications, so getting rid of them early may be a smart decision over the long term. The price of a wisdom tooth extraction can become an obstacle to a healthier smile, so learn more about the estimated costs and the factors that might affect your final bill.
What Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Cost?
Why Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
If your wisdom teeth fully erupt at proper alignment, you may not need a tooth extraction. However, wisdom teeth often present themselves as impacted under the bone and gum tissue. The impaction positions them with the inability to breach the gumline and puts them at greater risk for developing cysts or tumors. Others begin to erupt and stop partially in place, allowing bacteria to grow around the tooth and under the gums. Still, others may crowd and damage neighboring teeth if there is not enough room to erupt. Misplaced wisdom teeth can also trap food or be difficult to floss, giving cavity-causing bacteria a place to grow. If your wisdom teeth need to go, it's best to have them taken out as a young adult. The roots have not fully developed at this age, increasing chances for a more successful procedure and a quicker healing process.
What Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost?
An oral maxillofacial surgeon will usually perform a wisdom tooth extraction. These dental specialists have undergone additional training and are certified to administer general anesthesia if needed. Several factors may affect the cost of your procedure, including the existence and type of tooth impaction, whether anesthesia is required and where you live. According to CostHelper, their readers report typical wisdom tooth extraction costs to be:
- $75–$200 per tooth for simple wisdom tooth extractions where the tooth is fully erupted with simple roots using only local anesthesia.
- $225–$600 per tooth for impacted wisdom tooth extractions using only local anesthesia. The type of impaction can affect the price, so removing a partially erupted tooth is less expensive than a fully bony impaction where the tooth is completely encased in the jawbone.
- $40–$90 for nitrous oxide to relax the patient.
- $250–$800 for general anesthetic to put the patient to sleep.
Other costs to consider include dental x-rays, also known as radiographs, which on average cost around $150. Your initial and follow-up exams may also come with a price tag, which is, on average about $100 per appointment, according to Authority Dental.
How to Pay for Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction
You can always pay for the extraction out of pocket, but if you are concerned about costs, consider these other options:
- Dental insurance - If the procedure is considered medically necessary, many insurance plans will cover up to 50 percent of the procedure or a maximum of $1,000–$1,500. Be sure to check with your dental and medical insurance policies to see what they are willing to cover before committing to the surgery.
- Packages and payment plans - Many oral surgeons offer package deals for having all four wisdom teeth removed simultaneously. Your oral surgeon may also allow for a payment plan, breaking down the surgery's overall cost into smaller chunks over time.
- Discount dental plans - Several discount dental plans also exist, allowing you to pay one annual fee and receive discounts on dental procedures within a network of dentists all year long. Talk to your dental professional to see if a discount plan is available.
If you're concerned about the cost of wisdom teeth removal, talk to your dental professional and insurance agency about your options. Though it seems like a high price to pay, removing your wisdom teeth now may prevent more serious — and more costly — problems later.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.