Impacted wisdom teeth / Wisdom tooth extractions - Procedure cost estimates.
Cost estimates by extraction type.
Here are some "ball park" estimates of the fee that you might pay to have various types of impacted wisdom teeth extracted.
A) Wisdom tooth extraction - Soft tissue impaction.1
$225.00 - $400.00
Range: Small rural city or town (low) - Large metropolitan areas (high).
How did we come up with this estimate?
1) A "soft tissue" impaction is one where at least some portion of the patient's gums still lie over the wisdom tooth (the tooth is "partially erupted"). The extraction process generally involves making an incision in the gum tissue (so to allow access to the tooth), removing the tooth, and then repositioning and suturing the gum tissue back into place.
B) Wisdom tooth extraction - Partial bony impaction.2
$275.00 - $450.00
2) A "partial bony" impaction is one where at least some aspect of the crown portion of the wisdom tooth (the portion of the tooth intended to lie above the gum line) is still encased in the jawbone. In brief, the removal of the tooth will involve making an incision in the overlying gum tissue so to gain access to the tooth and surrounding bone tissue, the removal of some bone from around the tooth, the removal of the tooth, and repositioning and suturing the reflected gum tissue back into place.
C) Wisdom tooth extraction - Full bony impaction.3
$325.00 - $500.00
3) A "full bony" impaction (completely bony impaction) is one where the wisdom tooth is totally encased in the jawbone. During the extraction process, an incision will be made in the overlying gum tissue so access to the jawbone in the region of the tooth can be achieved. Some overlying bone tissue will be removed. The wisdom tooth will often be sectioned (cut into pieces) before it is removed. The gum tissue will then repositioned and sutured back into place.
D) Simple wisdom tooth extraction (non-surgical).4
$100.00 - $200.00
4) Not all wisdom teeth pose a significant obstacle to removal. Those wisdom teeth that have erupted fully and have a normal positioning can be as straightforward to remove as any other tooth. If so, the cost for removing them should be in line with that charged for other routine tooth extractions (termed "simple" extractions).
Costs associated with analgesia / sedation.
In those cases where the patient opts for the administration of some type of analgesia / sedation during their wisdom tooth extraction process, here are some estimates of the additional costs involved.
Administration of nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
$40.00 - $90.00
Administration of intravenous (conscious) sedation.
$250.00 - $400.00
Although we have included the term analgesia here, you should not have to pay extra for you dentist to "numb up" your tooth with a local anesthetic ("novocaine") before it is extracted. This should already be included in the price of the tooth's extraction. The items listed above refer to additional steps that may be opted for primarily as a means of patient management and helping the patient to better tolerate the extraction process.
Determining wisdom teeth extraction costs: The dentist's perspective.
While any dentist or oral surgeon is in fact simply providing a service in exchange for a fee, certainly most would no doubt prefer to think that their patients have chosen them to provide this service primarily because of the quality of their work and the manner and environment in which they perform it. It seems unlikely that any dentist would be flattered to learn that they had attracted a patient simply because they had the area's lowest fees.
Most dentists would consider a consultation appointment to be an excellent way for a potential patient to learn the costs associated with the specific dental treatment they need and also as a way to meet them and experience the environment in which the dental treatment will be performed. Most dentists will likely charge an examination fee for this visit. The receptionist making your consultation appointment should be able to quote this fee for you precisely.
The receptionist may not know precisely what dental x-rays will be required during the examination and these can add to the cost of the consultation, but these are items that you would need no matter which dentist performed the extractions. After you have had your consultation appointment with the dentist, if you decide not to have them perform the treatment, or if you simply choose to get a second opinion, in most cases you can request that your x-rays be forwarded to another dental office.
Determining wisdom teeth extraction costs: The patient's perspective.
It seems doubtful that any patient would want to choose a dentist based strictly on price, after all, the manner in which the dental treatment is performed should be of equal, if not much greater, concern. Ask your friends and coworkers who their dentist is. Reputations travel, your friends will know who has treated them well. They will also probably have a fair idea of how the fees charged by their dentist compare with other dentists in your area.
A polite telephone survey encompassing a few dentists' offices can give you a general idea of the range of fees in your area. Many dental offices will, however, be put off by such an inquiry primarily for two reasons. The first reason is that most dentists want to develop continuing relationships with their patients. They are interested in helping patients overcome their current dental problems and continuing on with periodic checks so to help them maintain their oral health. A telephone call from a person "checking out the best prices in town" often does not fit this ideal.
The other problem is that dental office personnel know that a phone inquiry can easily result in an "apples and oranges" comparison. Without an examination by a dentist it is impossible for the dental office to know exactly what work is needed, and thus it is impossible for them to give you an accurate idea of the fee. Even using identical dental terminology when calling various dental offices can easily result in several different interpretations of the work required.
If you do choose to survey dental offices by phone we would suggest the following. The American Dental Association ("ADA") has developed a series of code numbers, each of which references a specific dental procedure. These codes are standard for the dental industry and are used by all dental offices and dental insurers. When making an enquiry ask the dental office receptionist what ADA code number is associated with the procedure for which they are providing fee information. Then make sure you reference this same number when contacting other dental offices. This way you are most likely to collect true "apples to apples" comparative quotes.