Like many dental procedures, tooth extraction costs span a surprisingly large range.
There are many different reasons you might need a tooth removed. There are also many different tooth removal scenarios. Everyone’s mouth has unique characteristics and that is reflected in the cost of tooth removal.
We’re here to help you sort that out.
First, we’ll help you try to figure out where your potential procedure might fall along this range. Then, we’ll show you all the best ways to save money on tooth extraction.
Let’s start with a look at total tooth removal costs.
How Much Does Tooth Extraction Cost?
The total cost of tooth extraction may be $50-900 per tooth.
If you’re in the market for tooth removal, you’ll need to figure out which side of this spectrum you fall on.
The best way to do that is to gain an understanding of the different types of extractions. Keep in mind that there is some overlap between these categories, but use them to estimate what you might pay.
Deciduous Tooth Extraction Costs
Deciduous is the proper term for “baby teeth.
The simple removal of a baby tooth may cost $50-100.
This may seem like a little much considering that baby teeth eventually fall out on their own. But even a baby tooth will put up a fight if it is removed before it would naturally be ready.
As far as costs go, baby tooth removal is definitely on the less expensive side.
Simple Tooth Extraction Costs
Simple extractions of permanent teeth are fairly common.
The total cost of a simple tooth extraction procedure may be $75-500.
This wide price range reflects a variety of associated costs that may or may not be required. This includes things such as x-rays, anesthetic, sedation, stitches, and any necessary aftercare. It also has to do with placement and tooth accessibility.
For an extraction to be labeled “simple”, the tooth in question must be in a relatively normal position along the jaw and gum line. It needs to have erupted (emerged through the gums) as well.
Simple extractions are quick and usually much less painful.
Surgical Tooth Extraction Costs
Surgical extractions are required for complex problems.
The total cost of a surgical tooth extraction may be $150-900 per tooth, or more in rare cases.
Surgical extractions may require gum or bone removal. Perhaps the tooth must be cut into pieces. Such procedures require more time and technical skill. You might need an oral surgeon. You will definitely need sedation.
There are a variety of reasons why surgical extraction may be required.
- Significant damage to the tooth
- Cracks or other fragility in the tooth
- Root tip removal
- Tooth has not penetrated gums (impacted)
- Irregular positioning along jaw or gum line
- Inelastic or extreme dense jaw bone
- Irregular root formation
Some of these might be obvious to, even to you. Many of them require a professional opinion or even x-rays. Molars often provide dentists with unpleasant when examining the root system.
Factors such as age and overall dental health may play a role as well.
Emergency Tooth Extraction Costs
Emergency tooth extractions need to be performed immediately.
The total cost of emergency tooth extraction may be $300-750 for simple procedures, depending on all of the associated costs. For emergency surgical extractions, you might pay over $1200.
Urgency raises prices, every time. Weekend, next-day, and 24-hour service are all things you have to pay more for. There are some practices that specialize in emergency service and others who take urgent jobs more selectively.
Emergency dental services generally charge more.
You might be able to save money on emergency extractions if you can find an immediate opening at a standard local dentist. Sometimes all this takes is finding a new practice or one that doesn’t advertise well.
You might have to talk to several dental professionals to find an opening, but doing so could drop your costs significantly.
Also, try to avoid words like “emergency” or “urgent” when speaking to them or they may end up quoting a higher price. The art of negotiation is one of the best ways to pay less for dental care (more on that later).
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Costs
Wisdom tooth removal is standard practice in the U.S.
All four wisdom teeth are usually extracted at once, at a cost of $300-3,000 ($75-750 per tooth).
“Wisdom teeth” are the name given to your third set of molars. Not everyone needs to have them removed. Some people never get them. A few people even grow an extra 2 after the standard four.
There is similar variance in the difficulty of extraction. This is reflected in the cost: wisdom tooth removal can be simple or surgical. That’s largely because these expendable teeth take on unique growth patterns.
For more an in-depth look at wisdom teeth removal costs see this article.
Costs Associated with Tooth Removal
The potential associated costs are one of the main things that make it hard to predict the total cost of tooth removal.
In the vast majority of cases, you won’t be charged more than $200 for the labor on a simple extraction. You might pay up to $500 for the labor on a surgical extraction.
It’s the complementary medicines and other little pieces that drive the price up the most. That’s why it’s very important to find what is included in a quote and what isn’t.
You almost always start off with some consultation fees. The preliminary examination may cost $50-200. Then, they may add X-rays for $25-250.
When it comes to the procedure, anesthesia has the potential to double the total cost.
Mild sedation, like nitrous oxide may cost $50-$100. A local anesthetic may add up to $300 to the total extraction cost. If your procedure requires that you “go under”, the prices really go up. General anesthesia may add more than $500 per hour to your costs.
Anesthesia becomes a better value as the number of teeth to be removed rises.
After the procedure is complete, you may also incur a variety of after care expenses. These might include stitches and their removal, an after-30-day exam, dry socket treatment, and prescription medication. You might also miss work.
Some of these costs won’t apply. Others should be included in your main bill. The point is that you understand the breakdown before you make any commitments.
How to Save Money on Tooth Extraction
There is really no need for anyone to pay completely out-of-pocket for tooth extraction.
In addition to a variety of clever ways to save money on tooth removal, both private and governmental programs exist that can help you pay for your extraction.
You might have asked yourself:
Will Medicare or Medicaid help pay me to get my tooth removed?
The answer is maybe.
You’re probably out of luck with Medicare, as it is a federally funded program for seniors and the disabled that only covers dental expenses in the case of emergency. If your situation is an emergency, Medicare may help.
You can call 1-800-MEDICARE to learn more.
More likely though, Medicaid is where you should look for help. Medicaid is co-funded by the states and federal government. This means that Medicaid coverage varies state to state. Medicaid will help with tooth extraction costs in many states.
Dental care aid for kids is a higher priority. You may be able to get help for your child’s extraction through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Your best bet is just to reach out to the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services to find out what is offered in your state. Your dentist may also help shed light on your options.
The right dental insurance is almost guaranteed to lower the cost of tooth removal.
As long as you have dental insurance, you’re unlikely to pay full price. Many plans will cover up to 80% of the cost of tooth extraction.
Many standard dental insurance plans have yearly limits of $1,000 or $1,500. For this reason, you may save money by dividing more expensive procedures across two calendar years (part 1 end of December, part 2 beginning of January).
The low limits might be part of the reason why a third of Americans don’t go to the dentist at all. They see dental costs as high and dental insurance as not that useful.
However, those without dental benefits are 67 percent more likely to have heart disease, 50 percent more likely to have osteoporosis, and 29 percent more likely to have diabetes.
People are waking up to the connection between dental health and the rest of the body, but still not enough to make dental insurance seem like a good value to everyone.
Even if you have dental insurance, you’ll probably want to supplement it with something else. Your limit might not cover 10% of your procedure if you need many teeth extracted.
Dental Discount Plans
Dental discount plans can function as either insurance supplements or replacements.
A discount dental plan is a great way to lower the cost of any dental procedure, extractions included.
Instead of insurance premiums, you pay a monthly membership fee. This membership functions much like a membership to Sam’s or Costco: as a member, you’re exposed to pricing you couldn’t otherwise get.
Depending on the plan and procedure, you could receive discounts as high as 60%.
There are no limit with these types of discount membership plans. If you’re having your teeth extracted in preparation for implant-supported dentures, you’ll get a discount on all of it. In the end, you’ll save much more than $1,500.
Dental schools are a great way to find affordable dental work.
These in-school clinics are often looking for patients to help their students gain experience. Sure, you’ll be something of a test subject. But your procedure will always be supervised by a certified dental professional.
There are even some schools who offer clinics by their faculty or postgraduates. Either way, you may have to wait awhile before they have an opening for you. It that wait is still worth it for many.
Finding a dental school that offers discount tooth removal is fairly easy. The more time you spend on research, the more money you’re likely to save.
Tooth Extraction Overseas
The cost of tooth removal is extremely low in some countries around the world.
This may seem like a risk to some. However, “medical” tourism is becoming more and more common. According to MEDIGO, simple tooth extraction costs begin at less than $15 in multiple countries.
Obviously, you’ll need to factor in travel costs to figure out whether it is worth it or not for you. You also want to confirm all of the cost details before commiting to the procedure or the travel.
Plus, there are still some things you can do to make sure stateside tooth extraction more affordable.
Other Organizations that Might Help
Knowledge is the key to many things. Saving money on tooth extraction is certainly one of those things.
You might not even think to look at some of the following places.
Local organizations such as your city and state health departments can also inform you what your area has to offer. This directory by the ASTDD will help you find State Oral Health Programs. Your local United Way may also have information on nearby programs.
There are also charitable organizations like Dental Lifeline Network, America’s Toothfairy, and ToothWisdom.org that can help provide you with affordable tooth removal or connect you with those that can.
This might sound like a lot of work, but in the end it may be more than worth it.
Other Ways to Save Money on Tooth Removal
Our final tips on bringing your out-of-pocket tooth extraction costs down are largely dependent on you.
If you do your due diligence, you should find the best deals in your area. You might even be able to leverage your knowledge to have dentists competing for your business.
A few of our most important tips:
- Figure out your area. The cost of dental work is largely dependent on your location. Practices in larger cities and/or more affluent areas are likely to demand a higher price. You may find a smaller, little-known practice that does great work but is priced for their blue-collar neighborhood 30 minutes away.
- Talk to multiple dentists. Don’t settle on the first dentist you talk to, just because it’s easy. In fact, you probably should not settle on the first 5. Instead, you should get as detailed a quote from each as possible and use that information to compare recommendations, prices, and procedures.
- Find the “little guy”. When it comes to business, the “big fish” get to the charge the highest price. But when it comes to dentistry, there are many high quality practices that don’t have the marketing budget to compete for maximum exposure. You can often find great deals from dentists with empty calendars.
- Once your due diligence is done, you can find ways to influence your candidates into giving you a better deal. Dentists charge a high hourly rate and make good margins on most of their services. It can be easier than you think to convince them to reduce or throw out charges to capture your business.
- Pay in cash. This is probably the best way into your dentist’s heart. When you pay cash, your dentist is able to avoid charges. They must pay to access credit card payments. The same goes for insurance. Paying cash cuts out the middleman and they’ll be happy to pass some of those savings back to you.
- Don’t overpay for easy teeth. Please note that some teeth have simple root structures that require less effort and preparation. The same goes for teeth with damaged roots. In case you didn’t consider it, the job is easier if your tooth is already lose. Often, such extractions can be handled with the first consultation.
- Bundle with big ticket items. Tooth extractions are often performed in tandem with large procedures. If you’re removing a tooth to set up another dental procedure that you need, make sure your dentist understands that. You can often get discounts for extractions when they are part of a larger picture.
At this point, you know just about everything there is to know about tooth removal pricing and how to reduce the total costs of the procedure.
Remember, many of these strategies can be used in tandem. Put in the effort to find a good deal and you’ll be able to focus on mending the pain in your mouth instead of the pain in your wallet.