Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed? - Thanks!

Updated on May 18, 2017
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
18 answers

My daughter (adult) needs to get her wisdom teeth pulled. She doesn't have dental insurance and I guess it is a very expensive procedure. I have no real experience with this - I had mine done years ago when it was cheaper and I guess I must have had decent dental insurance, because I only remember paying like $250 total. Two of my kids had their wisdom teeth pulled thanks to the Military (they automatically pull them if you have them before you are deployed). The other 3 either didn't have them or in one case, just one wisdom tooth, which our regular dentist pulled at a normal appointment.

Is there options out there I am not aware of to lessen the financial burden to her for this? I don't think she can use like a "dental school" for something like this? She said that every dentist she has called will only refer her to an oral surgeon - none of them will even deal with just pulling a tooth. Maybe there are common complications they cannot deal with?

Thanks for any advice on this!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the helpful advice! There is a great dental school/university over in San Antonio she is going to check out and also will be checking to see if her medical insurance will cover the sedation portion of the costs. I also offered to help her a bit if she needs it. We don't have a lot, but if I can send her a few bucks to help, I will.

Thanks again!!!

More Answers

V.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

The reason most dentists don't do it is because they aren't always erupted. If they are impacted, it requires oral surgery to remove them. That's probably why she keeps getting referred to oral surgeons. They do oral surgery and her wisdom teeth are likely impacted or partially impacted and will require surgery to remove.
You can choose to have the surgery without full anesthesia (my brother did it that way) but I wouldn't after hearing his recount of the surgery. Also, depending on how impacted, some insurances will cover it as a medical/surgical rather then "dental" if I'm not mistaken? But yes, it is expensive.
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As for what you paid when you had yours done... I had all 4 of mine done by an oral surgeon, with full sedation, when I was in my very early 20s. It was around $1,200 and that was at least 25 years ago now. Superb job. Some would have been covered by insurance (and maybe a small bit was, it was so long ago I'm not even sure anymore), but I was young and healthy and hadn't met ANY of my deductible beforehand. My out of pocket was in the neighborhood of $1,200 though, and included pain meds to take home with me.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Our family dentist has pulled some of our wisdom teeth, as recently as two years ago. What does your dentist recommend? Even if your daughter lives in another area s/he should at least be able to give you some advice and maybe even referrals.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

We don't carry dental insurance by choice. They only pay partial and then have restrictions, so that was not worth it to us. We use the money we would be spending on premiums for dental care.

My daughter got hers out in 2013 and it was close to $3000 but we had a cash discount which was nice. I'm sure a good surgeon would work with you if you are referred by a good Dr.

All of our dental is done with a cash discount. The Dr saves money from avoiding insurance which is a hassle and credit card fees.

I don't cut any corners with heath and safety and I would never ever go to someone who is not a highly trained oral surgeon for this procedure. TOO many things can happen and it's not worth taking the chance. I would guess that a dental school does not allow it..if they did, I'd run the other way.

I did check with our medical plan to see if it was covered and it was not. Some plans might cover it so it's worth asking your insurance company that you have medical insurance through right now.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

Find out if this is covered by her medical insurance. It should be. If she doesn't get her teeth pulled, she could end up with consequences that will affect her overall health.

She probably really should go to an oral surgeon. Unless all 4 of her wisdom teeth have grown in, this is much more than simply pulling a tooth. Not that she has reason to be scared, just that you want the best person for the job.

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

Dental insurance doesn't generally cover wisdom teeth removal because it isn't done by a dentist. Wisdom teeth aren't just pulled. They have to be cut out of the jawbone. It's oral surgery and health insurance covers it in most cases.

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter had 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed last year by an oral surgeon. We don't have dental insurance either. It cost $1,200. (Medical insurance did not cover it....I checked and so did the oral surgeon's office)

Edit...my friend has insurance coverage for wisdom teeth removal and used the same practice. (It I who everyone in our area goes to). She paid about $1200 out of pocket. The office we went to has different rates for those insured vs uninsured but it appears as though everyone pays the same amount. What a racket!

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D..

answers from Miami on

Does she have medical insurance? I think this is covered by medical insurance because an oral surgeon does it.

Regular dentists don't normally do this surgery. They will need to administer anesthesia and surgically remove the teeth out of the jaw if they are impacted. Even if she does everything she is supposed to do, she could still develop dry socket. And she could end up with an infection. I was such a good patient, but one of my lowers got infected and the whole side of my face was all swollen up. The oral surgeon had to lance it finally to get the infection out and start the healing process. Ugh...

Get the best oral surgeon you can get. It is not worth cutting corners on this. At all!

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B.A.

answers from Columbus on

Most dental schools at larger universities will do this. The surgery would be performed by an oral surgery resident -- a dentist who has recently graduated from dental school and is now going through an optional oral surgery training program. Their work is always supervised by a faculty member, so the quality is good. You just need to keep in mind that because it's a teaching program, the procedure will probably take longer and require a few more visits than it would at an oral surgery office. In exchange, you'll pay a lot less.

Most dentists and oral surgeons offer financing.

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R.H.

answers from Boston on

At 26, I had my wisdom teeth removed by an oral surgeon; all four were impacted and erupted. I'd been terrified of the costs involved and unable to take time off work to do it in my early twenties. I was able to do it after going back to school full time, my university had optional health insurance, and perhaps because it's such a common procedure for students, they had made sure to pick a plan that covered the procedure.

I think I paid about $250 in copay, but the procedure itself was over $5k. This was in Los Angeles, which is a very expensive place to live or to do business. The surgeon was really good, and I was under sedation for the procedure. I had it done Friday and I was eating normally by Sunday night!

Definitely go for a consult, and call any insurance company you have. It is sometimes covered by dental insurance even though it's oral surgery... but the insurance companies are the root of all evil in the health care industry. They're just looking to make a buck, and they don't care what happens to any of us.

If her insurance doesn't cover this, try going through the state exchanges or buying a policy that will cover it! Even if it's expensive, it may cost less to purchase a month or two of an expensive insurance premium than to pay cash or borrow from Care Credit.

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J.S.

answers from St. Louis on

My daughter had all four removed in February. It was 2,200 all but 200 covered by insurance but only because she is double insured. I guess my ex has poopy insurance because mine covered 1,500. I digress

Most dentists offer Care Credit which spreads out the cost interest free for a set period of time. I would ask about that.

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

I had one of my wisdom teeth removed last year because it was impacted and bothering me. It started shifting my teeth around and it hurt, sort of like when I had braces. I could not even chew from that side of my mouth. My other wisdom teeth have yet to come in. I did not have dental insurance and it only cost me $75.00. Then again, the dentist has been working on my dad's mouth and my mom's for over 15 years, so perhaps I got a break. An oral surgeon wanted to charge me over $500.00. He said if he thought the tooth would be too hard to remove, I'd have to chuck it up and see an oral surgeon, but after taking x-rays (which he didn't charge me for), he said he could do it, and that was all I had to pay. Most dentists, and doctors, have payment plans. I'd ask about that.

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Our son just had his wisdom teeth (all 4) pulled over spring break.
He was eating pizza 3 days later (same for me when I had mine out).
His stitches dissolved in about a week.
We have a dental plan.
It would have cost about $3000 without insurance and with insurance it cost us about $1000.

Recovery is easier for a teen than for an adult.
When you're a teen, the roots haven't had a chance to fully develop.
An adults wisdom teeth have deeper roots - so they are a bit more difficult to remove (which is why an oral surgeon is a really good idea) - and recovery takes a little longer.
I had mine out at 16 and it was easy.
My husband had his out in his late 20's and it took him a good 2 weeks before he was really feeling better.
I'm just glad we got our sons out before he goes off to college in the fall.

Just to give you heads up - smokers and women on birth control pills have a greater chance of developing dry socket - that's what our oral surgeon told us.
I'm not sure what you can do about the cost.
I hope she has an easy recovery!

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I would suggest for her to go for the consult. She may not have to have them out - the oral surgeon will make the final recommendation.

I was referred to an oral surgeon for mine. Mine had not erupted. One seemed in there at an angle from how it appeared on the x-ray. The surgeon checked things out and said none to them were causing problems for my other teeth or my mouth, so he said to leave them in.

That was 15-20 years ago and he was bang on - none of them have ever come through nor caused problems.

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K.M.

answers from New York on

An oral surgeon did mine. I would imagine they can set up a payment plan.

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R..

answers from San Antonio on

Thirty years ago when I had mine done it was so expensive my parents gave me the procedure for a Christmas gift. The day after Christmas and I was sedated the whole time. I have no idea how much it cost but it must have been a lot because that was all I got that year, but I was happy about it because my ears hurt so bad from the teeth pressing on the nerves.

My cousin went to a dental school and though their oral surgeon program they actually ended up paying him because he had an unusual case....he had seven wisdom teeth. I always told him he was a freak of nature. Anyways having a huge issue helped him in the long run. He was in college, got the procedure done and made some cash. He was also attending a major university where they had the dental school. So maybe being a student (not in dentistry but at the university helped him as well).

Look for a good dental school with an oral surgery department. Good luck!!

T.D.

answers from Springfield on

depends on the positioning of the teeth. i have 3 that my dentist was willing to pull, one that she refered me to oral surgeon for. so far only one of those wisdom teeth have been removed. and i don't plan on having any of the others removed unless they are a problem.
we have a dental discount program that we paid like 200$ for, (it includes chiropractics, naturopaths, dentistry and optical) with that all dental procedures are 40-50% less than without the discount card. check to see if she cn purchase a discount program to make the financial burden less.

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X.Y.

answers from Chicago on

Dentist don't want to take the liability risk of pulling wisdom teeth if they are impacted, that's got to be why she's being referred to an oral surgeon. Or maybe in your area/region it's standard practice for dentist to refer wisdom teeth clients to oral surgeons.

My daughter got all 4 of hers out 3 yrs ago. None were impacted. She ended up with a massive infection that landed her in the hospital for 8 days. She had to have surgery with an oral surgeon and ENT. The infection traveled too close to her heart Don't mess around with just a dentist, go to a professional in this field.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

My son has had to have a couple of rounds of extractions and we have decent dental insurance, out of pocket has still been between $2000-3000 each time, less when local could be used, more when we needed IV sedation. I don't know where you got yours done for $250 but even a straight extraction with no surgical cutting required is $400 per tooth with and additional $250 every 15 minutes for IV sedation. I know it sucks but it is what it is. We had to borrow against my husbands retirement account this last time to pay for it.

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