Healthcare in America is one of the most expensive in the world. Therefore, researching the cost that applies to it is a valid concern when it comes to undergoing surgery. In dentistry, too, you need to find yourself a specialized professional dentist, and that could mean a lot of financial strain.
In this write-up, we bring to you all that you need to know about the cost of wisdom teeth removal and some methods by which you can save on the cost. But before that, you need to know of the procedure and some basic details about the surgery. So let’s get started.
HOW COMMON IS WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTION SURGERY?
Wisdom teeth extraction is a widely practiced surgery. In the USA, it is one of the most common oral surgeries. 95% of Americans get their wisdom teeth extracted at an early age. The reason for this is that wisdom teeth are likely to cause a lot of oral health problems. Their absurd positioning, attributed to their late growth and lack of room in the mouth, causes a lot of issues such as misalignment, crooked teeth, cavities, etc.
Therefore, it is almost a rite of passage for American citizens.
WHY DO PEOPLE GET WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?
Scientists believe that wisdom teeth complimented the diet of our ancestors. However, as human civilization evolved, the size of our mouth and jawbone grew smaller, and it now is difficult for them to accommodate 32 teeth. As wisdom teeth grow between the ages of 15-25, permanent ones already replace the milk teeth by that age, and hence, there is not adequate space left for wisdom teeth.
Because of this, wisdom teeth grow crooked, sideways, or at a horizontal angle. And since they are located at the back of the mouth, it becomes extremely challenging to clean them. Therefore, they can cause pose health problems to avoid which people choose to get them removed.
Some of the resultant issues from wisdom teeth are as follows:
- MISALIGNMENT OF TEETH: Wisdom teeth get very little room to grow, and because they are large, they apply pressure on the surrounding teeth. This causes overcrowding and messes up the dental alignment.
- DENTAL DECAY: As already mentioned, wisdom teeth are difficult to brush, floss, and clean. Therefore, it is easy for bacteria to accumulate between them or in the neighboring teeth causing dental decay.
- PAIN: Wisdom teeth often do not develop correctly and hence apply pressure on other teeth. They might also suffer impaction, which means that they might not wholly erupt out of the gum. This is a painful condition and is the leading cause of all wisdom teeth related oral problems.
- DAMAGE TO NEARBY TEETH: Due to overcrowding and pressure, the teeth near these third molars are significantly affected. The surrounding teeth become crooked and might also get the cavity.
- SINUS PROBLEMS: Wisdom teeth in the upper jaw are in close proximity with the sinus. As these teeth grow in, they can cause pain and congestion in your sinuses because the roots and teeth put pressure on them.
Aware of all these possible complications, people get wisdom teeth surgically removed as a preventive measure.
SURGICAL PROCEDURE OF WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTION:
It is major surgery and therefore is a complex procedure that requires expert skills. If your wisdom teeth are fully budded, they would be removed by numbing the area and pulling it out. The recovery period, too, is less in comparison to when there is an impaction in the teeth.
If your wisdom teeth have impaction, the process becomes more extensive. The doctor cuts through the soft tissues and bone surrounding the teeth, and then they are extracted out in small broken pieces. Some things might go wrong; a nerve or an arterial injury might occur, which needs to be dealt with urgently.
Before starting the procedure, the doctor administers anesthesia to numb the area. Mostly, it is the local anesthesia that is given, but at other times, general anesthesia might also be used. Because of general anesthesia, the patient sleeps through the surgery and does not feel anything. With local anesthesia, though, the patient is awake and feels slight discomfort because of pressure when the doctor rocks the teeth back and forth to loosen them and make space in the sockets.
If the patient has anxiety or is severely scared to the point of panicking, they might be given sedatives for relaxation. The use of all these drugs is done only after taking a detailed health history of the patient. The surgery goes on for about 45 minutes and is an outpatient operation.
HOW MUCH DOES WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL COST?
The cost of the surgery depends on a number of factors, including the anesthesia used, the patient’s age, the difficulty in the process, the medicines, aftercare, additional costs, etc.
- WITH LOCAL ANESTHESIA: Per tooth removal with local anesthesia would be priced between 75$-250$. If you get all four extracted at one time, the price will amount to $200-$600.
- WITH GENERAL ANESTHESIA: With general anesthesia, the surgery gets a little more expensive, ranging from 600$-1100$. Getting the whole set removed would make the price range between $1500- $2200.
This is generally the cost of removing the teeth and varies depending on the doctor and the complexity of the case.
What we mentioned above is just the price of extraction. Besides that, there are some additional expenditures which are as follows:
- EXAMINATION FEE: The first step with every medical checkup is examination and diagnosis. The doctor would take your history, asking about any previous or current health conditions, if or not you are on any medications, if any medicines do not suit you, etc. That determines many things, including the anesthesia that would be used in the surgery and the prescription.
Apart from that, the doctor would ask you to get an x-ray done to understand your teeth’ position better. All of this could cost between $60-$150.
- MEDICATION: Besides the anesthesia used during the surgery, pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines are also an inevitable expense. Other than these, wisdom teeth extraction might cause a lot of complications such as dry sockets, nerve, and arterial injury, infections, swelling, gum inflammation, etc. They are excruciatingly painful situations and would require medicines to treat.
- TREATMENT OF SECONDARY COMPLICATIONS: The post-operational health issues arising from wisdom teeth surgery need proper treatment. This adds to the cost.
- AFTERCARE: The maintenance of hygiene, home remedies, etc., are not very expensive but still cost some money. Regular dental checkups also become imperative after getting the surgery done to ensure dental health.
All this is a general idea giving an estimate of how much wisdom teeth removal would cost. A lot of factors influence the pricing, such as how professional the doctor is, the hospital or clinic where you get it done, etc. The age of the patient also matters, for with growing age, the bones harden, and roots get anchored, so the removal gets difficult. Therefore, it costs more.
HOW TO CUT DOWN THE COST OF SURGERY?
Following are some tips on how you can save some bucks on the surgery.
- PAYMENT PLANS: Some doctors and hospitals offer payment plans where you can pay them the fee over a decided period of time in installments. This would not cut down the cost but still is a great option.
- INSURANCE: Many dental insurance plans cover a large percentage of wisdom teeth removal surgeries. Since you are likely to need the surgery at some point in life, make sure you buy dental insurance that pays for it.
Sometimes, these insurance companies have limits on the amount they payout in a year, so people get their surgeries done in two years to cover the maximum cost.
- DISCOUNTS: Dental clinics and hospitals sometimes organize camps that offer discounts on dental procedures. Other dental discount plans are also available. Check with your doctor to learn about what they offer and choose a course accordingly.
- GET ALL REMOVED AT ONCE: If you want the whole set of third molars removed or one of your wisdom teeth is causing oral health issues, it is better to get all of them extracted at once. If one of your wisdom teeth is resulting in problems, the others can potentially pose health issues later. Getting all of the wisdom teeth surgically extracted together can help you save big bucks on the operation and the additional costs.
Wisdom teeth removal surgery sure costs an exorbitant sum of money. But delaying the surgery and ignoring the symptoms is not wise either and can cause more significant problems later. Therefore, it is wise to get the operation done when needed. You can check with your doctor and the insurance company and choose the best option available for yourself.