Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to grow in an adult’s mouth – they usually emerge between the late teen years and the early twenties.
Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common surgical procedures carried out by dentists and oral surgeons all over the country. The procedure involves the extraction of one or more wisdom teeth to reduce the risk of potential orthodontic problems and maintain optimal oral function.
Why do people get their wisdom teeth removed?
For most people, the removal of wisdom teeth is usually considered a rite of passage for teens transitioning into early adulthood. The eruption of these third sets of molars can have adverse effects on one’s oral health, and this is why most dentists recommend having them removed as early as possible.
For others, wisdom teeth eruption doesn’t usually happen smoothly, and the molars tend to grow improperly – either sideways or impacting pressure on the other teeth. Wisdom teeth can properly mature without any complications but eventually bring about overcrowding of teeth in the mouth.
One of the most common reasons many people have their wisdom extracted is when they become impacted – a severe condition for patients that can bring about other long-term effects. The most prevalent symptoms of an impacted tooth include chronic pain, inflammation, and even potential infection. Bacteria can also get trapped around the edges of the impacted wisdom teeth, leading to a build-up of plaque, which can cause;
- Dental caries
What are some of the benefits of having your wisdom teeth removed?
Reduces the risk of infections
Wisdom teeth are usually quite sizeable compared to most of the other teeth, and as they grow in, they usually tend to push others to make enough space for themselves. The pressure exerted can irritate the gums and teeth or expose them to bacteria, leading to an infection. Chewing can also become difficult because of the pain caused by all the pressure.
Reduced risk of Headaches
As wisdom teeth push all the other fully mature teeth away to make space for themselves, they exert extreme pressure on the jaw, which can be pretty excruciating, causing a series of severe headaches. Having the wisdom teeth removed relieves this pressure and reduces your chances of suffering headaches caused by oral problems.
What are the possible complications of having your wisdom teeth extracted?
Just like with any other surgery, there are several potential risks associated with extracting your wisdom teeth. Some of the most common complications related to teeth removal include Infections, bleeding, swelling, and pain.
How you can tell if your wisdom teeth are impacted
Impacted wisdom teeth that cause a lot of discomforts and other dental complications are easy to point out. However, for some people, impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause symptoms until the affected tooth is infected or damages other teeth. some of the common signs and symptoms that your wisdom tooth may impact include;
- Jaw pain
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Nasty taste in your mouth
- Swollen face
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it can indicate that you have an impacted tooth. Most dentists recommend having all your wisdom teeth removed if you experience any of these symptoms.
What you should expect during the wisdom teeth extraction
The chances are that you have visited the dentist once or twice before, and just as with your previous visit, you will first have a sit-down session with the dentist. After a few examinations, the dentist determines how they will take on the procedure.
Generally, if the wisdom teeth have fully emerged without any complications, removing them can be as straightforward as removing any other teeth. However, if the teeth are impacted or causing discomfort to the neighboring teeth, you may require minor surgery to correct the defects.
In most cases, the dentist or oral surgeon will only use a local anesthetic to numb the pain around the tooth.
However, depending on the procedure, they might suggest other options, such as; Oral sedatives (administered via the mouth), intravenous sedatives (administered through an injection), or Nitrous oxide.
How painful is the wisdom teeth removal surgery?
Well, because you will be under local or general anesthesia, the procedure itself shouldn’t be painful at all. However, during the healing process, things can get a little uncomfortable. The level of discomfort depends on the extent of the extraction procedure and whether you are on pain medication at the time. But don’t let this scare you just yet; as for most people, the pain and discomfort go away after the first few days.
How much will it cost to have your wisdom teeth removed?
The complexity of the procedure often determines the cost of removing wisdom teeth. A simple removal can cost between $70 and $200 per tooth, whereas impacted teeth can cost $200 – $625 per tooth.
What should you expect during the healing process?
There is no easy way of saying this – wisdom teeth extraction recovery is no walk in the park. Even though you’ll probably be okay after a few days, things might get tough at first. It is always recommendable to get a few days off work to help speed up the recovery process.
After the extraction surgery, you might experience some bleeding, but it’s nothing to worry about as it will disappear within a few minutes. The pain and swelling, however, will last anywhere between 3 – 7 days. Placing ice packs on your cheek will help reduce the swelling, and the dentist might prescribe some painkillers to help ease the pain.
During this period, you will also have to be very careful with the food and beverage you take. You might want to stick to soft foods for the first few days to reduce the pressure on your teeth, although this depends on the instructions from your dentist and your comfort level. It would help if you also steered clear from very hot or cold beverages during the initial days of recovery.
A dry socket is one of the most painful experiences a patient goes through after extracting a tooth. It majorly occurs in the absence of blood clotting at the point of surgery, dislodges, or dissolves before the wound has fully healed. When this happens, the underlying bone and nerves are left exposed.
To prevent dry sockets, you should avoid using straws and smoking cigarettes until you have fully recovered. Women are also advised to schedule their wisdom teeth extractions toward the end of their menstrual cycle because high estrogen levels lead to higher incidences of dry sockets.
Dry sockets can also be caused by improper diet after extraction. Foods with large, hard particles and hot beverages and food can interfere with the clotting process.
Does your Medical or Dental Insurance plan cover wisdom teeth extraction costs?
Different insurance companies will offer a variety of dental insurance plans to fit the needs of their customers. However, most of them usually cover about 80% of the total wisdom teeth extraction costs.
Other insurance plans will have limits on how much they can cover every year. Most providers will set the limit at $1,500, but this varies from one insurance company to another. Depending on how much your provider pays out, you can split the procedures over two to three years to get the best deal possible.
Some dental facilities also provide financing and payment plans to help their patients handle the cost.
How much does it cost to get your wisdom teeth removed without insurance?
Even though you can opt to have just one wisdom tooth removed, most dentists or oral surgeons will recommend having all four of them extracted to minimize other potential complications that may arise in the future.
Without insurance, the cost of getting your wisdom teeth removed will drastically increase, especially if you are paying straight out of your pocket.
A simple extraction can set you back $70 – $225 for each tooth and between $300 and $1000 for all four.
A more complex surgical extraction can cost up to $500 per tooth and $2,500 for all four.
Some dental clinics will offer discounts for extracting all four wisdom teeth at a go.
What are other payment options available?
Although dental insurance is the best way to cater to your dental care needs, it can be expensive. So here are some other affordable options to get your wisdom teeth removed.
Discount Dental Plans
A dental plan is a popular discount option that provides up to 50 percent savings on dental care costs. With just one low yearly payment, you can use the program to save on all your dental care and procedure all year long.
Wisdom teeth removal cost breakdown
Simple extraction – $70 – $225 (per tooth), $300 – $1000 (all four)
Surgical Extraction (Gum tissue Impaction) – $200 – $500 (per tooth), $800 – $1,750 (all four)
Surgical Extraction (Jaw bone Impaction) – $300 – $500 (per tooth), $1000 – $2000 (all four)
Other complications can also greatly impact the cost of some extractions.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Does everyone have to get their wisdom teeth removed?
Well, not necessarily. Some people will grow their wisdom teeth without any complications whatsoever, free from cavities and pain. If this happens to be you, count yourself lucky because you don’t need to remove them. However, you should make a point of regularly visiting the dentist for regular exams, dental cleanings, and X-rays to ensure that there are no sudden changes.
What happens if I don’t get my wisdom teeth removed?
There is no single clear answer for this one. You should consult with your dental professional to come up with a plan that works for you. Your dental care professional will be in a better position to determine the possibilities and consequences of skipping your wisdom teeth removal appointment.
At what age should my wisdom teeth be removed?
People aged 35 years and above may develop complications after the surgery, a more complex procedure in the surgery room, and a more extended period to recover fully. On the other hand, people who get their wisdom teeth removed in their late teen years or twenties often handle the procedure much better.
Now that you have better insights on the pros and cons of having your wisdom teeth removed, there is one last thing that we should mention – Make sure you find the right dental care professionals to help guide you through the procedure. This will increase your chances of a smooth surgery and quick recovery.
Here at West Hollywood Holistic and Cosmetic Dental, our team of highly experienced specialists uses the best technologies, imaging, and materials to give you the best oral healthcare in the safest and least invasive way possible.