How Much does an Extraction Cost?

The average cost of a basic extraction (ITEM 311) in Australia would be between $120 and $200, with an average according to the ADA 2012 member fee survey, of $167.

The average cost of a complex extraction (ITEM 324) would be between $300 and $500 with an average according to the ADA of about $350.

Aren’t All Extractions the Same?

This paragraph is for those of you who like to shop around for the best deal…

Unlike fillings, crowns and veneers, you are not having something put into your mouth, just something taken out- surely that means the cheapest is the best, doesn’t it? Well, if you have a very loose tooth it doesn’t really matter who does the extraction, the result will be the same.

But the more difficult an extraction becomes, the more important that it is handled by a good dentist. Surely it is worth a few extra dollars to be comfortable and reduce the chance of complications. If you have a great dentist who happens to be very cheap- I am not saying change, gosh no… !

Find a dentist who you like, feel you can trust and who is good at their job. When it comes to your teeth, I don’t believe in shopping around. Don’t think that the most expensive dentist is the best either- there are so many things that go into making a great dentist.

‘Price’ in my mind should not be the first thing you look at- after all this is your mouth we are talking about- you eat, chew, speak, and kiss with it. You do far more with it than other parts of your body that you wouldn’t dream of skimping on.

What Influences the Price?

  • Type of extraction 

Is the extraction a simple, sectional or surgical extraction? Sometimes it is obvious that it will be surgical, as in the case of impacted teeth that aren’t through the gum. Sometimes it will be obvious it is a simple extraction, for example if the tooth is bobbing around in the socket. Other times, because of potential complications and varying difficulties, it is hard to say. The cost of an extraction is not affected by which tooth it is, how many roots it has or how loose or solid the tooth is- just by the approach needed to remove it- See below.

  • The dentist 

The biggest price difference will come from the actual dentist’s pricing structure, as there are no set limits to what a dentist can charge- only guidelines issued by the ADA (Australian Dental Association). 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 the price, and this will simply be a range between x and y, depending on the approach needed to remove the tooth.

If someone calls our practice, we would say something like, “It depends on how easily the tooth will come out and what is required. A simple extraction would be $160 but could go up to $350- if a surgical approach is needed- that would be the maximum”.

  • 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.

  • Insurance 

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. These fees tend to be lower.

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 on the amount you end up paying, but this needs to be balanced against the cost of the premium you are paying each month.

  • Location

The cost of a dental extraction, will vary not only between countries, but also between states and between major cities. Smaller towns and rural areas where access is more restricted and competition less may also having different pricing structures.

  • Other costs

In addition to the cost of the extraction you may be charged for:

(i) ITEM 013 or 014- A limited examination or consultation

(ii) ITEM 022- X-rays to check underneath the tooth

(iii) ITEM 037 – An OPG though you may be able to get this free with your Medicare card

(iv) If sedation is required then the price will depend on the type of sedation and for how long it is required

(v) Is the sedation oral? Such as a sedative e.g. diazepam or nitrous oxide (happy gas), or is the sedation intravenous? This is likely to be more expensive.

(vi) If a general anaesthetic is required, you must also consider the cost of:

– The specialist surgeon

– The anaesthetist

– Hire of the hospital facility

– Nurses.

On referral to the oral surgeon, they will provide you with a breakdown of the costs involved. You can 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 you’re out of pocket expenses, you need the item numbers for any treatment you will be having. Your dentist will be able to provide these and the costs of each of them, following the examination and discussion of the various 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.

Occasionally, a dentist may charge a reduced rate for extractions in the same quadrant or those next to each other, as the ‘numbing part’ and ‘stopping bleeding part’ are similar and therefore don’t take too much extra time. I can’t promise anything though.

For completion, in Australia, the different extractions have the following item numbers:

  • Extractions

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.