How Much Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost

wisdom tooth extraction

Are you looking at an upcoming wisdom tooth removal? The cost of oral surgery and tooth extractions can vary, depending on several different factors. Having a good idea of wisdom tooth extraction cost expectancies will prevent you from sticker shock when it’s time to book a consultation. And once you do have a quote on extraction costs, there are a few extra steps you can take to reduce your total out-of-pocket costs.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third and very last set of molars that erupt into our mouths. Each of us will typically have three sets of molars: the first 6-year molars, the second 12-year molars, and our third molars or “wisdom teeth.” The first two sets erupt around—you guessed it—ages 6 and 12. But wisdom teeth take longer to develop. While they do start forming very early on in life, wisdom teeth can continue developing as late as 30 years of age.[1]

One of the reasons why wisdom teeth have to be removed is because they can jeopardize the health of the teeth next to them. If there’s a lack of space, the third molar can become impacted inside of the bone, against neighboring teeth, or develop cysts around it. Since preventative dentistry minimizes the chances of losing other teeth because of infection, there’s less of a chance for there to be room for wisdom teeth to fully erupt. Genetically, some of us also have smaller lower jaws which can reduce the space available for third molars to erupt into place.[2]

How Much Is Wisdom Teeth Removal? 

Now to the nitty-gritty: how much does a wisdom tooth extraction cost? Your exact quote for a wisdom tooth removal cost will be based on each of the following scenarios:

1) How Many Need To Be Removed

Most of us have four wisdom teeth. But some people are missing their wisdom teeth while others have extra! It’s not uncommon to hear about someone with three wisdom teeth or six wisdom teeth. The total number of extractions required will impact the total wisdom tooth removal cost.

2) Is It A Simple Or Surgical Extraction

The biggest factor for a wisdom tooth extraction cost is the type of extraction it actually is. “Simple” extractions typically involve numbing the tooth and physically pulling it out of the socket. But a surgical extraction can involve opening the gums, potentially opening the bone, segmenting the tooth, then removing it a little at a time. For obvious reasons, surgical extractions cost more than simple ones do. The difference can be a few hundred dollars per tooth.

3) Whether Sedation/Anesthesia Is Involved

Did you tell your dentist to “knock you out” during your extraction? Mild sedation like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) may cost as little as $45 or so during your appointment. But if you’re getting, say, IV sedation where you’re literally in a twilight level of awareness, it will probably start at around $500 just for the sedation. There’s also mid-range sedation called “oral sedation”, where you still feel like you’re napping but no IV anesthesia is involved.

4) Which Type Of Dentist You’re Seeing

Most of the time, fees are a little lower when you visit a general family dentist as opposed to a specialist. But if you need a surgical extraction and sedation, there’s a good chance you’ll need to see an oral surgeon. Not all oral surgeons charge more than family dentists, but it’s to be expected that the fees will be a bit higher than a non-specialty practice.

5) Medications During Recovery

Your dentist might also prescribe medication for you to take once you get home, such as an antibiotic or pain reliever.

These are just a few of the added costs that will contribute to your total out-of-pocket expenses for the day.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost Without Insurance

The best way to save on dental care is by being prepared. Dental saving plans can help reduce costs by up to 60% off wisdom teeth extractions.

Average Cost of Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Extraction Type Cost Per Tooth All Four Teeth
Simple Extraction$75 to $200 $300 to $1,000
Surgical Extraction (Soft Tissue Impaction)$225 to $600$800 to $1,800
Surgical Extraction (Bony Impaction)$250 to $500$1,500 to $3,000

Depending on who you ask, you might hear that a wisdom tooth removal cost can range anywhere from $150 or $250 to $4,000. Again, remember that this number is based on factors like how many teeth are being removed, if sedation is involved, etc. If you’re having four simple extractions with only local anesthesia and laughing gas, you might only be out of pocket around $600 to $1,000 or so. But if you want to sleep through the process and it’s surgical extractions for four teeth, being closer to $4,000 without insurance—especially if you’re visiting a specialty practice like an oral surgeon—isn’t unheard of.

Depending on where you live and which type of dentist you plan to see, you can always call their office to ask, “How much do four surgical extractions cost with dental sedation?” Or “How much do four simple extractions cost with laughing gas?” Some offices will tell you the fees if you know the exact lingo to use when you call them. But if they don’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trying to hide anything. Since so many factors are involved in creating an individual care plan, a lot of offices simply have policies to never give prices over the phone.

Are Wisdom Teeth Extractions Covered By Insurance?

Since wisdom tooth removal is a dental procedure, it does typically fall under your dental insurance benefits.  If you don’t have dental insurance but removing the wisdom teeth is medically necessary, you might even be able to use your health insurance to pay for a portion of the treatment.

How much of your wisdom tooth extraction does insurance typically cover? On average, around 80%. But even though it’s at 80%, it might not actually be 80% of the total cost. Again, we’re splitting hairs here, but you want to know the specifics of wisdom tooth extraction costs before you only expect to pay 20% of the total fee.

Since dental insurance typically requires a deductible or co-pay, you’ll need to pay that amount in cash before your benefits kick in. At that point, you can use the percent covered toward wisdom tooth removal cost. However, if the total cost of the wisdom tooth extraction comes out to be more than your annual allowable, whatever dollar amount is over that fixed dollar figure will be your responsibility.

What do I mean by that? Let’s say you have a $100 deductible and your wisdom tooth extraction costs $2,000 with laughing gas. Your insurance covers 80%, but your annual allowable is only $1,500 per year. You pay the $100 first (your deductible) and there’s $1,900 left to be covered. Your insurance pays 80% of $1,500, but you’re responsible for 100% of the remaining $300. So, you pay $100+$300(20%)+300 for a total of $700 out of pocket.

I get it. Insurance is confusing. Fortunately, your dental office will tabulate all of the wisdom tooth removal costs as they pertain to your individual plan, so you know exactly what to expect before the procedure is even scheduled.

The best way to save on dental care is by being prepared. Dental saving plans can help reduce costs by up to 60% off wisdom tooth removal.

Risks Of Wisdom Teeth Removal

As with any type of oral surgery, there are always risks you’ll need to consider if you’re having a tooth extracted. Your dentist will review an informed consent form with you ahead of time so that you understand all of the potential risks involved. Although extremely rare, a wisdom tooth removal could cause permanent nerve damage, like if the roots of the tooth are intertwined with the nerve or the local anesthetic is administered in an atypical manner. Similar risks are associated with sedation medications—which could be potentially life-threatening—so you need to be extremely forthcoming about any medications, recreational drugs, or health considerations before your planned procedure.

There’s also a risk of dry socket after a dental extraction. Dry sockets are extremely painful and can delay healing for at least an extra week. Thankfully you can reduce your risk of a dry socket by properly following your dentist’s home care instructions. Doing things like smoking or eating hard foods can disrupt the clot formation in your socket, causing it to come out and expose the bone underneath. You just don’t want to risk not following your home care directions.

The Cheapest Way To Get Extractions 

Is there a cheaper way to have teeth extracted or reduce the out-of-pocket cost of wisdom tooth extractions? Yes!

1) Dental Schools

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can get amazingly affordable and high-quality treatment from a dental school. If you live in an area that’s anywhere near a dental college, be sure to ask and call for an appointment. The downside to going to a dental school for treatment is that you usually have to spend a little more time going through the exam and treatment process. The good news is that the costs are just a fraction of that in a private practice dental office. You don’t have to worry about whether they’ll do a good job because the students performing your surgery are already far into their dental training and closely supervised by experts in the field. Your safety and comfort are a high priority. By helping out the student as their patient, you in turn get “helped out” by saving money on the cost of your procedure.  

2) Dental Savings Plans

Dental discount plans are great for saving up to 60% on the cost of wisdom tooth removal. Dental plans are nationwide with over 100,000 dentists in the program, see if you can save with a dentist near you.

3) Payment Plans

A great way to afford an inevitable wisdom tooth removal is to finance the balance with an affordable dental payment plan. Most offices offer payment plan options whether or not you have insurance. So hypothetically you can use your insurance, then budget out the remaining portion and pay it off on a month by month basis. And don’t worry about getting roped into some high-interest loan. Most dental lending companies offer 0% or low interest for at least 6-12 months as long as the balance is paid off by then. You can typically get immediate approval right there on the spot, making it easy to schedule the procedure whenever you’re ready to get started.

4) Charity Dental Clinics

If your community offers a first-come-first-serve charity dental clinic, it’s worth asking if they offer wisdom tooth removal. Just be warned that most extractions performed in this type of setting will be for simple tooth removal, not complex oral surgery. Local anesthetic (numbing medication) will be available, but deeper types of sedation typically are not.

What To Expect From Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Most people are pleasantly surprised at how straightforward wisdom tooth removal can be. Especially if you’re sedated, it can make it feel as if the process only took a few minutes from start to finish. Once you start to doze off, it seems like you’re waking up again to go home.

Plan to have several soft foods on hand for a few days. Do your best to stay hydrated, too. It’s a good idea to have a place to keep your head elevated for the first couple of days, such as in a recliner or propped up on a couch.[3]

Be sure to have someone with you who can drive you home and pick up any medications that you need. While the first 24 hours after surgery tend to be the most sensitive, you’ll start to see an improvement after a day or two. Plan to give yourself about a week off from work or school, just in case.

How Much Does It Cost To Have 4 Wisdom Teeth Removed?

The best way to find out exactly how much it’s going to cost to have your wisdom teeth extracted is to visit a dentist in person. They’ll tabulate all of your insurance coverage, take the X-rays you need for a firm diagnosis, and decide if you need a surgical vs. simple extraction. Plus, you can also select the level of sedation that you want. From there, everything is worked into a detailed care plan that itemizes the total wisdom tooth extraction cost for your situation. It’s completely fine to get a second opinion, too. That way you can have at least two price quotes to compare and select the one that best fits your budget.

Everyone’s situation is different. As are their comfort levels. Spending $600 on extracting four wisdom teeth is an extremely conservative number, without any type of sedation being used whatsoever. But don’t be surprised if it does actually come out to around $2,000-$3,500 or more with your dental insurance and sedation.

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