Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars. They are the third and last set of teeth to develop in a person’s mouth. Wisdom teeth usually grow between the ages of 17 and 25.
There are four wisdom teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom. Wisdom teeth that grow at an angle or fail to erupt through the gums are referred to as impacted. Impacted teeth may need to be extracted.
Extractions of wisdom teeth can be straightforward. However, the removal of an impacted wisdom tooth may be referred to a specialist oral surgeon.
A simple extraction using local anesthetic costs around $150 to $300 per tooth. Or, it can cost up to $2300 for the removal of all four wisdom teeth (without insurance). A simple extraction is possible when the tooth has fully erupted from the gums and has simple roots.
An impacted wisdom tooth extraction using general anesthesia costs around $225 to $600 per tooth.
Often, nitrous oxide is used to calm and relax the patient. Nitrous oxide typically adds $40 to $150 to the cost of extraction. General anesthesia can also increase the price, adding up to around $250 to $800 for the total cost. However, most dentists do not charge for local anesthetic.
The type of impacted wisdom tooth also affects the price. Usually, a soft tissue impaction is the least expensive impaction to remove. A soft tissue impaction describes a tooth covered only by gum tissue instead of both bone and gums..
A partial bony impaction is often more expensive. This is when some of the tooth that should be above the gum line is encased in the jawbone.
A full bony impaction is the most expensive procedure. This is when the wisdom tooth is completely encased in the jawbone.
Most dentists or oral surgeons offer a package deal for all four wisdom teeth extraction at once. In areas with typically lower costs, the bill for four removals, including sedation, can range from $1,000 to $1,650. But across the United States, the average price for removing four wisdom teeth at once using general anesthesia can be around $1,500 to $2,300. In complex cases and in high-cost areas, this fee can rise to approximately $2,500 to $3,000.
The average cost of removing all four wisdom teeth at once with general anesthesia is $1,616.
Discount dental plans can save you money on procedures that insurance can't (including cosmetic procedures). Learn more about dental discount plans here.
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Dental insurance can cover 15 to 50 percent of wisdom tooth extraction if it is medically necessary. Some dental insurance plans only pay an annual maximum of between $1,000 to $1,500, depending on the company.
With dental insurance, the cost of extracting a single impacted tooth ranges from $132 to $800. The average price of removing a single impacted tooth with dental insurance is $416.
The fees for the extraction of all four wisdom teeth with dental insurance are between $190 and $994. The average cost of extracting all four wisdom teeth with dental insurance is $641.
If you don’t have dental insurance, there are other ways to pay for a wisdom tooth removal. These resources include dental schools, medicare, and state and local help.
With discount dental plans, patients pay an annual cost upfront. This is opposed to monthly installments or premiums that traditional dental insurance requires.
Members receive a dental discount card to present at dentists to get the lower prices on services.
Discount dental plans don’t reimburse dentists as insurance does. Instead, members pay the dentist directly.
Remember, you must use a dentist included in your plan to receive any discounts on treatment. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay full price.
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Medicaid is a state-run program that offers medical benefits to eligible individuals and families. In some cases, this includes dental benefits.
States must provide dental benefits for children covered by Medicaid. However, states can decide whether to offer dental benefits for adults.
Most states offer limited dental services for adults, but some provide a range of services.
CHIP is a state-run program for children whose families earn too much money to be eligible for Medicaid but cannot afford private dental insurance. CHIP offers dental services to children up to age 19. Dental services covered by CHIP vary from state to state.
Medicare is a federal health insurance plan for people aged 65 and older. Medicare is also for individuals under 65 with certain disabilities.
Medicare only covers the cost of dental services linked to certain medical conditions or treatments. They may pay for dentures or most routine medical routine care, including checkups, fillings, and cleanings.
Dental schools can be an excellent way to source affordable yet high-quality dental treatment. Most dental schools have clinics that allow students to gain experience treating people while offering care at a reduced fee. Professional and licensed dentists closely monitor the students to ensure their work is of a high standard.
Post-graduate and faculty clinics are also available at most dental schools. Dental hygiene schools may also provide monitored and low-cost routine care to help you maintain good oral health.
Your state or local health department may refer you to programs in your region that offer free or cost-reduced dental care. Speak with your local or state health department to learn about any financial assistance services in the area.
Where can I find low-cost dental care?, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2017, https://www.hhs.gov/answers/health-insurance-reform/where-can-i-find-low-cost-dental-care/index.html
How Much Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost?, Cost Helper Health, 2015, https://health.costhelper.com/wisdom-teeth-removal.html
Finding dental care, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 2019, https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/finding-dental-care