How Much does a Wisdom Tooth Extraction Cost?
In Australia, the price range for a basic wisdom teeth extraction (ITEM 311) is generally $130 and $200.
The average cost from the ADA 2012 dental fees member survey for ITEM 311 was $167.
A complex wisdom tooth extraction (ITEM 324) is generally between $250 and $500.
The average cost from the ADA 2012 dental fees member survey for ITEM 323- a slightly less complicated extraction was $295 but the range went up to $440 to give you an idea. Data on ITEM 324 was not reported in the survey.
These fees are if the procedure is carried out by your dentist under local anaesthetic in the chair. If sedation was required or a general anaesthetic, then the price would be considerably more.
This charge is per wisdom tooth, so if you need all four taken out, you must multiply the cost by four.
Can all dentists remove wisdom teeth?
Yes they do- remember your wisdom tooth is just another way of saying your last molar tooth. Because of this, wisdom teeth do not have their own set of fees or item numbers. In dental terms ‘an extraction is an extraction’- wisdom tooth or not. It is the approach that is needed, that determines the cost. You have easy wisdom teeth and you have very difficult wisdom teeth and everything in between.
Admittedly, because of the lack of space at the back of the mouth and tendency for them to be impacted, there tends to be a lot more surgical wisdom teeth extractions than for other teeth.
If the dentist needs to refer you to an oral surgeon, the cost will be more.
What influences the price?
- Type of extraction
Is the extraction a simple, sectional or surgical extraction? Sometimes it is obvious that it will be a surgical, as in the case of impacted teeth that aren’t through the gum. Sometimes it will also be obvious that it is a simple extraction- if the tooth moves in the wind! Other times because of potential complications and various unforeseen difficulties, it is hard to say exactly which approach will ultimately be needed. I would always give the patient the price range form lowest to highest and let you know which of these I expect it to be, but as I tell my patients, ‘Until you get in there, sometimes you just don’t know.’
- The dentist
Another big difference, will come from the actual dentist’s pricing structure, as there are no set limits on what a dentist can charge- only guidelines issued by the ADA. Some dentists will be much more expensive than others. Whilst a dental practice can give you a price range over the phone, an examination will be necessary before they can tell you more accurately what they expect the price to be. This will depend on the type of extraction they anticipate (see above).
If someone calls our practice we would say something like, ‘ It depends on how easily it will come out and what is required. A simple wisdom tooth extraction would be $160 but it could go up to $350, if a surgical approach is needed- that would be the maximum.’
- The specialist
If referral to an oral surgeon is required because of the complexity of the job, then their specialist fees are likely to be considerably higher.
The next biggest thing that will impact on how much you pay, is your insurance. Certain dentists may be specialist providers for particular health funds, in which case, the health funds often set the fees that the dentist must charge. The fees tend to be lower, if this is the case.
Not all insurances will set fees for all dental items, some do- but others just set the most common treatments you are likely to have and allow the dentist to charge normal prices for other treatments. The actual insurance you have, will impact greatly the amount you end up paying, but this needs to be balanced against the cost of the premium you are paying each month.
The cost of an extraction will vary not only between countries but also between states and between major cities and smaller towns and rural areas where access is more limited and competition less.
In addition to the cost of the extraction you may be charged for:
ITEM 013 or 014- A limited examination or consultation ($40-60)
ITEM 022- X-rays to check underneath the tooth ($35-50 each)
ITEM 037– an OPG, though you may be able to get this free with your Medicare card.
Now if you require sedation, it will depend on the type of sedation needed and for how long- as to the price you will pay.
Is the sedation oral? Such as a sedative e.g. diazepam or nitrous oxide (happy gas) ,or is the sedation intravenous? Which is likely to be more expensive.
If a general anaesthetic is required, you must also consider the cost of the:
(i) The specialist surgeon
(ii) The anaesthetist
(iii) Hire of the hospital facility
On referral to the oral surgeon, you will be provided with a breakdown of the costs involved. I would expect to pay $1500-$3000 to have four wisdom teeth out under general anaesthetic.
What are the Item Numbers? I want to check with my Fund how much will I get back?
To be able to check your out of pocket expenses, you need the item numbers for any treatment you will be having. Only your dentist will be able to provide you with these and the costs of each of them, after he has examined you and discussed through, the different treatment options. Even then, sometimes it is difficult to say, because extractions can be somewhat unpredictable.
The best thing to do, to give you an idea of the gap you will be required to pay, is to get the minimum and maximum extraction costs, that would be ITEM 311 for the simplest extraction and ITEM 324 for the most complex. This will allow you to work out the worst and best case scenario.
For completion, in Australia, the different extractions have the following item numbers:
- ITEM 311– normal tooth (or root) extraction
- ITEM 314-sectional removal.
Surgical extractions– These all involve raising a flap of gum to expose the tooth or root:
- ITEM 322- basic surgical removal
- ITEM 323– surgical removal that needs bone removal
- ITEM 324– surgical removal that needs bone removal and splitting the tooth.