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 tooth 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|
Some of the procedures listed below will be necessary and they will generate additional costs. Your dentist will make the final decision about which must be performed in your case.
ProcedureAverage costCost range
|Cone beam CT||$330||$150-$750|
So, how much can you expect to pay total for wisdom teeth removal?
Use our cost calculator. Select different options to see how the total price might change in your case.
Keep reading to find more info on what type of tooth impaction you may have at hand.
Erupted wisdom tooth
This is the simplest, and therefore the cheapest type of extraction. The tooth has already erupted (broken through the gums) and is within easy reach.
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.
Regular dentists might refuse to remove a wisdom tooth in any of the other states of eruption. The following types might require involvement from a surgeon, and this increases the costs greatly.
Impacted wisdom tooth, under soft tissue
When the wisdom tooth is stuck under soft tissue 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.
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 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. 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
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 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.
The dentist will assess whether your wisdom teeth need to be removed. He or she will also determine which type of impaction is relevant.
You should inform the dental professional of any discomfort 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.
A panoramic X-ray involves a machine that slowly moves around your head. The entire set of teeth will show up on a 2D radiograph.
The dentist will be able to assess the position of the tooth as regards other teeth and the entire structure of the jaw.
Your jaw will be placed in a special device and you will have to remain motionless. You might feel slightly claustrophobic, but the procedure is completely safe.</div>
This type of X-ray concentrates on one or two teeth. The image will show the entire structure, from the crown down to the root. Any abnormalities of the root and surrounding bone will be clearly visible.
Several pictures can be taken, usually two, one for each side of the mouth. The price range above concerns one picture only, giving an average of $35 per image. Additional pictures are usually less expensive, $30 on average.
Cone beam CT
A cone-beam CT uses less radiation than a medical CT scan. It produces a three-dimensional image of the mouth and jaw.
This is particularly helpful with implant placement and wisdom tooth extraction. The dentist can assess what the spacing is like in the structure of your jaw. Some complications, such as permanent nerve damage, can be more easily avoided if this X-ray is done.
The type of anesthesia depends on your pain tolerance, how you handle dental surgery, and the level of complexity of the wisdom tooth.
It might be enough to simply numb your mouth. You will get a shot into your gums and might want to inhale a drug that will relax you for the length of the procedure. Nitrous oxide, a laughing gas, is optional and often drives up the cost greatly. You should not feel the effects of these two types of anesthesia after a few hours.
The third option is intravenous mediation. The left hand is strapped and a needle is inserted into a vein. A sedative is delivered slowly during the procedure. The patient is usually able to communicate and follow any instructions given to them. Most likely, though, he or she will not be able to remember the procedure.
In more complex cases you will need general anesthesia. This will be administered either by way of your vein or lungs. You will fall asleep and wake up about an hour after the surgery.
The last two cases involve additional charges, unlike the shot. If you are sedated through an IV or general anesthesia you won’t be able to drive yourself home and will need someone else to assist you. This might be an additional cost you have to consider.
The price ranges above concern the first fifteen minutes of the period you need to be sedated for. Each additional fifteen minutes will cost you around $200. The length of the procedure is hard to determine beforehand.
Does insurance cover wisdom tooth removal?
Wisdom tooth removal without insurance can mean high out-of-pocket costs.
If medically necessary, 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.
FeaturesDental Blue for Individuals: Core PlanCigna Dental 1000Dental 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||None for preventive and 6 months for basic, 12 months for major||6 months for preventive and 12 months for basic, 12 months for major**||None for preventive and 6 months for basic|
|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|
*Oral surgery is not considered major by Humana. It is covered under basic care.
**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.
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 these procedures, and much faster ones, too.
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 students, 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.
If you don’t have dental anxiety you might consider just using the 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, the second 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?