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Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost

Cost of Wisdom Teeth Removal And Factors Affecting It

Wisdom teeth, which are also called third molars, are the last set of permanent teeth that usually appear by 21 years of age. Problems arise when these are unable to erupt properly due to the lack of space. This HealthHearty article provides information on the cost of wisdom teeth removal.
Rutuja Jathar
According to the American Dental Association, the removal of wisdom teeth may be necessary, if one experiences pain, repeated infection of soft tissue behind the lower last tooth, cysts (fluid-filled sacs), tumors, damage to nearby teeth, gum disease, and extensive tooth decay.

Molars refer to the teeth that are located farthest, at the back of the mouth. In case of permanent teeth, the first molars and second molars emerge by 7 years and 13 years, respectively. Wisdom teeth (third set of molars) usually emerge by 21 years. In case of some individuals, wisdom teeth might not emerge at all. Problems arise when these become impacted. An impacted wisdom tooth is a third molar that is not able to erupt fully, or erupts at an angle. When the tooth doesn't erupt through the surface of the gums or remains embedded in the jawbone, it could give rise to a host of problems. Food particles and bacteria might get trapped around the edges of such a tooth, which in turn might make one susceptible to tooth decay, gum problems, soft tissue infections, etc. Thus, in order to avoid such dental problems, it's advisable to consult a dentist at the earliest.

Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine procedure, and the risk of complications is almost negligible. However, it's advisable to do thorough research to learn about the procedure and its cost. The cost would naturally be less when the tooth has erupted fully. The extraction procedure would cost more in case of wisdom teeth that are impacted. So, the cost would vary from one case to another.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Wisdom Teeth Removal

The cost of removing wisdom teeth depends upon factors such as:

➠ Complexity or difficulty level
➠ Location of the dental clinic
➠ Qualification and experience of the dentist
➠ Insurance

The overall cost of the treatment would include the consultation fee of the dentist or the oral surgeon, additional charges for diagnostic procedure such as dental X-rays, charges for the removal (depending on the complexity of the procedure), cost of anesthesia, etc. If the tooth root is partially or fully fused, it will be relatively easier to extract.

If the tooth has erupted fully, it can be easily removed. In such cases, you might have to shell out anywhere between USD 100 and USD 200.

Extraction of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth

The level of impaction is one of the main factors that affects the cost of the treatment. Basically, when there isn't enough space for the tooth to erupt, it might not erupt fully, or it might erupt at an angle. The procedure that is followed to remove the tooth would depend on the type of impaction.

➠ Soft Tissue Impaction
In case of a soft tissue impaction, the crown has penetrated through the bone, but the tooth has not erupted fully through the gum tissue. At least some portion of the patient's gums still lies over the wisdom tooth. The removal of such a tooth might cost around USD 225 to USD 400.

➠ Partial and Full Bony Impaction
In case of a full bony impaction, the tooth is completely embedded within the jawbone. In case of a partial bony impaction, at least some part of the crown portion of the tooth is still encased in the jawbone, and there's only space for the tooth to partially erupt. The removal of the tooth becomes more complex in case of a full bony impaction. Surgical extraction is needed in such cases. In order to access the wisdom tooth, an incision has to be made in the overlying gum tissue, and the tissue and bone around the wisdom tooth is removed, so that the tooth can be extracted. In order to reduce the amount of bone that has to be trimmed or removed, the dentist/surgeon might section or cut the tooth into pieces. In such cases, a small opening is needed to remove the pieces. Once the tooth is removed, the dentist would reposition and suture the gums back into place.

One may have to shell out around USD 275 to USD 450 in case of a partial bony impaction. The difficulty level is higher in case of a full bony impaction, and the removal of such a tooth might cost anywhere between USD 325 and USD 500. It must be noted that the charges would vary from region to region. Clinics in metropolitan regions might cost more. Also, the dentist's charges might depend on his qualifications and experience. In general, the charges would be determined on the basis of the expected level of difficulty and the duration of the procedure.

➠ Additional Cost
Besides these charges, the cost will increase if the procedure involves the administration of some type of sedative. Intravenous (conscious) sedation could cost up to USD 500, whereas the use of nitrous oxide might increase the overall cost by USD 200. The cost might increase in cases involving the administration of general anesthesia.

Initially, the patient would have to pay the consultation fee and X-ray, which could cost around USD 300, without insurance. You will also want to check out dental insurance options. Some insurance companies allow a reimbursement of 15% to 50% of the total cost.

With no insurance, the cost of extraction may range from USD 600 to USD 1,500 approximately, including consultation, sedation, X-rays, oral surgery possibilities, medication, and aftercare. The cost of extraction can range between USD 130 and USD 400 per tooth (excluding consultation charges, X-ray, medication charges, etc.).

Dentists sometimes follow a wait-and-watch approach, when it comes to the removal of wisdom teeth. In some cases, the tooth might be left alone, if it is not likely to cause any problems. They might wait, giving the tooth some more time to erupt fully. However, removal is essential for an impacted wisdom tooth.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and the aforementioned cost is subject to change.