It can be hard to avoid crushing fees when you start to feel swelling at the back of your jaw. The removal of a single wisdom tooth might cost you $550.
This is an average price for a fully bony impaction, the most common of cases. But even that might come out to a higher cost if it turns out that there are complications. So what influences the price most?Creative Commons
Wisdom tooth extraction cost
The state of the wisdom tooth, or “third molar” and its position in the jaw is the most important factor in determining how much the extraction procedure will cost.
|Wisdom teeth type||Average cost||Cost range|
|Impacted, under soft tissue||$350||$250-$850|
|Impacted, partially bony||$450||$300-$950|
|Impacted, fully bony||$550||$350-$1,100|
Have a look at the calculator below. Select different options to see how the estimated price might change.
Keep reading to find more info on what type of impaction you may have at hand.
Erupted wisdom tooth
The average price for removing an erupted tooth is $300 across the US. You may find a quote as low as $200, but it shouldn’t cost more than $700.
This is the simplest, and therefore also the cheapest type of extraction. The tooth has already erupted (broken through the gums) and is within easy reach.
General dentists might refuse to remove a wisdom tooth in any of the other states of eruption. The types described below might require involvement from a specialist, most likely an oral surgeon.
Dr. Matt Stewart
Any extraction done by an oral surgeon will be more expensive than one performed by a general dentist.
The procedure of removing an erupted wisdom tooth may take around twenty minutes. This means that only a small amount of anesthetic will have to be used.
Impacted wisdom tooth, soft tissue
A wisdom tooth impacted under soft tissue can cost from $250 to $850 across the US, giving an average of $350.
In such a situation you might experience swelling and pain. In order to remove such a tooth, a small incision in the tissue will have to be made.
You may need stitches after the tooth is extracted. These will dissolve within a few days. In case of significant trauma to the area a non-dissolvable stitch may be used. If so, you will have to return for its removal.
This scenario also belongs to the simpler, cheaper procedures involving the removal of wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom tooth, partially bony
When the tooth is partially-bony-impacted it will cost from $300 to $950. The average price across the US is about $450.
You may need sedation. The longer the procedure the more anesthesia you will need. Anesthesia is charged in 15-minute increments. This can drive up the cost significantly.
The dental professional will have to make an incision in the gums as well as in a small piece of bone covering the tooth. He or she will rock it back and forth, widening the socket.
Dr. Henry Hackney
During any extraction of a posterior tooth sectioning is always an option. This is usually determined by the state of the tooth and the density of the bone.
Sometimes the tooth is cut up into smaller pieces, too. You will feel significant pressure but shouldn’t feel any pain.
Impacted wisdom tooth, fully bony
A fully-bony impacted wisdom tooth can cost about $550 to remove. The lowest quotes across the US are $350, while the highest peak at $1,100.
This is the worst-case scenario. If your tooth has gotten stuck under not only gums but also in the jaw, you will most likely need to remove it. It is best to be sedated during this procedure.
An incision will need to be made in the gums, in the bone covering the tooth and surrounding, and even the tooth itself might have to be cut up into smaller parts. This way the opening will not have to be made as big, and the recovery and healing time will be shorter.
|Procedure||Average cost||Cost range|
|Cone beam CT||$330||$150-$750|
Some of these procedures will be necessary and they will generate additional costs. Your dentist will make the final decision about which must be performed in your case.
You should inform the dental professional of any discomfort or pain you are feeling, medication you are taking, and the level of sedation you would like.
The dental exam is the time to ask any questions you may have about the surgery. You will also be informed about what you should and shouldn’t do before and after your visit.
There are different types of dental radiographs, but before an extraction you might have one of the following:
You might have:
- a panoramic X-ray,
- a periapical X-ray, or
- a cone-beam CT.
You can read our guide to dental X-rays to learn more about them.
You will definitely need some anesthesia when having a tooth extracted. The most common types are:
- local anesthetic – included in the price of your procedure, the least invasive form,
- nitrous oxide – “laughing gas”, inhaled through a mask, very expensive,
- conscious sedation – orally administered before the procedure, also costly,
- intravenous sedation – a sedative delivered through a vein throughout the procedure, the cost of which is difficult to determine beforehand, or
- general anesthesia – the most expensive type, makes you totally unconscious.
There are several factors that help determine what type of anesthesia will be used. Those include your pain tolerance, how you handle dental surgery, and the level of complexity of the wisdom tooth. The dentist will be making the final decision.
Does insurance cover wisdom tooth removal?
Wisdom tooth removal without insurance can mean high out-of-pocket costs.
Dr. Henry Hackney
Almost all dental insurance plans cover third molar removal. If it is determined to be medically necessary (which I could argue it almost always is), simple medical insurance may cover it as well.
Insurance might cover up to 80% of the costs. You have to remember, though, that insurance policies have yearly maximums. This usually means that it won’t cover any more expenses throughout the year.
Have a look at these three policies.
|Name||Dental Blue for Individuals: Core Plan||Cigna Dental 1000||Dental Preventive Plus PPO|
|Fee per person per month||$35.95 (if you’re under 65)||$30 or more||$20.99 (after $35 enrollment fee)|
|Major dental work (e.g. extractions)||50% (50% coinsurance)||50% (50% coinsurance)||50% covered (50% coinsurance)**|
|Waiting period||12 months for major dental work||12 months for major dental work*||6 months**|
|In-network dentists||Quotes provided for in-network dentists||Quotes provided for in-network dentists||Up to 28% of extra discount, but you can see any dentist|
*If you’ve not had dental insurance for the past 12 consecutive months. Waiting periods are waived at Cigna if you’ve had valid dental insurance for a year.
**Oral surgery is not considered major by Humana. It is covered under basic care.
If you need more than one tooth extracted you will have to drag the process out over several years. There are, however, other ways to cut back on these procedures, and those methods work faster as well.
How to save money on third molar extraction?
The easiest way to go is a dental discount plan. It can be used with insurance or independently. A monthly or yearly fee gives you instant access to discounts on all dental procedures. There are no yearly limits or paperwork that you have to deal with as in the case of insurance.
The price for your procedure is heavily determined by your location. If extraction is expensive in your area you can consider looking outside of the US. If you decide to do that, you must remember about the costs of travelling.
Another option worth checking out is a dental school. The procedure will be performed by a student, but the whole thing will be overseen by a licensed dental professional. What is worth mentioning here is that the process has to be graded each step of the way. The procedure might be cheaper, but it will take longer.
Some dental offices also offer to take several teeth out at the same time. This is usually possible if your top and bottom teeth on the same side are both ready for removal. Such a package deal can help you save on the costs of anesthesia, initial evaluation, X-rays, child and pet care, and the ride home if assisted by someone else.
Dr. Henry Hackney
If the patient is under conscious, IV, or general sedation, the oral surgeon will often elect to remove all four wisdom teeth in a single appointment.
If you don’t have dental anxiety you might consider just using local anesthetic. Sedation impacts the cost significantly.
What is your experience?
Removing a wisdom tooth can hurt you twice. Once when the anesthetic wears off, and then another time when you get the bill. It might be a good idea, though, to do it before any complications make it worse.
Comment below if you had this procedure done and whether you found it affordable. Did insurance cover any of the associated costs?