Wisdom teeth can be a pain to deal with, but the biggest burden might end up being on your wallet. A wisdom teeth removal can cost a hefty $550, but the specifics will often come down to your circumstances, how bad the tooth is, and what dentist you use. To help you get a better idea of how much wisdom tooth removal costs in Los Angeles, here are the basics.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost in Los Angeles
Even though wisdom teeth come through in the same general area for everyone, it’s how they come in that makes a difference. Each of the different states tends to cost a different amount of money. Here are some averages for how much each state tends to cost, plus some wider ranges to account for any high and low outliers.
- Erupted – $300 on average, between $200 and $700 overall
- Impacted, under soft tissue – $350 on average, between $250 and $850 overall
- Impacted, partially bony – $450 on average, between $300 and $950 overall
- Impacted, full bony – $550 on average, between $350 and $1100 overall
However, those terms probably don’t mean much to you. You might have an idea of what they mean, but a couple of them can be pretty tricky. Let’s take a look at what each of them really mean.
Please note these prices are just an average and the actual cost will vary depending on your condition and necessary treatments needed.
What is an erupted wisdom tooth?
As you might expect from this having the lowest price tag, an erupted wisdom tooth is the easiest to extract. Put simply, erupted means that it’s already popping out of the gums and easily accessible for your dentist.
Getting out an erupted tooth will usually take less than half an hour and minimal anesthetic. Since they’re relatively easy to remove when erupted, a regular dentist might even be willing to perform the extraction. However, in the following cases, you will likely need to see a specialist.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth, under soft tissue?
If the tooth hasn’t quite broken the surface, but is beneath flesh and flesh alone, then you’ve got an impacted wisdom tooth, under soft tissue. These tend to be sore and irritating, but some basic painkillers are generally enough to deal with the pain prior to surgery.
As for the surgery itself, it’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t require all that much more than your standard erupted wisdom tooth. Since an incision is required to actually get to the tooth and extract it, you may end up needing stitches to seal up the opening and prevent food and debris from gathering inside there.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth, partially bony?
If more than just fleshy gum stands between your wisdom tooth and extraction, then you have a bony wisdom tooth on your hands. If it’s partially in your gums and partially submerged in the jaw, then it’s conveniently called partially bony.
This is where surgery can start to get long and expensive. You may need multiple doses of anesthesia to cover the whole process, with each dose lasting about 15 minutes.
When it comes to actually removing the tooth, the process is simple in concept, if not a little uncomfortable to most. In short, the dentist will cut into the gum, then cut into the jaw as well. Small sections of bone are removed on either side of the impacted tooth, then the tooth is wiggled until it pops out.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth, full bony?
Finally, you’ve got the hardest scenario. If the tooth is deep under the gum, jammed deep in the jaw and causing you serious distress, then removal will be necessary and intense. Full sedation is often used to make the procedure go as smoothly as possible.
In addition to the steps listed above for partially bony extractions, full bony extractions often involve cutting up the tooth as well, allowing for easy extraction of individual fragments. This does mean that the incision doesn’t have to be quite so large since it won’t need to accommodate the entire tooth. In turn, this can make healing easier.
Getting a wisdom tooth removed is expensive and difficult on its own, but you often need other procedures done in order to figure out the best way to remove the tooth and to make the final procedure easy. Some of the procedures include:
- Basic dental exam – $100 on average, between $50 and $200 overall. A dental exam is generally needed to identify that your wisdom teeth need removal. Make sure you’re honest with your dentist about any discomfort or pain you may have experienced in your mouth and jaw recently.
- X-ray – $35-130 on average, between $25 and $250 overall. X-rays allow dentists to get a look at the structure of your jaw and teeth that would otherwise be impossible. Panoramic x-rays cover the whole mouth and tend to be more expensive, whereas periapical x-rays focus on a small section of your mouth and give a closer look. As a result, the former tends to be more expensive than the latter.
- CT scan – $330 on average, between $150 and $750 overall. A CT scan can give a great 3D representation of your mouth, making it easy to plan extractions and identify any potential problems.
- Sedation – $250 on average, between $100 and $500 overall. The exact type of anesthesia will depend on you, your dentist, and the type of extraction. A shot in the gums is common and much cheaper than taking anesthesia by gas. Intravenous sedatives are another option, as is general anesthesia for the most intense of extractions. Remember that if you use serious anesthesia, you won’t be able to function very well on your own afterwards. You will need someone else to escort you home.
The Role of Insurance
Wisdom teeth is one place where insurance can come in immensely useful. With some procedures, like getting cosmetic dentistry done, your insurance may not cover much because the procedure wasn’t medically necessary. However, if your wisdom tooth was medically necessary, then you may only end up needing to pay 20% of the cost out of pocket.
However, wisdom teeth can be pretty expensive. Your insurance covering most of it would be great, but if they do, it might hit your yearly maximum and leave you will less leeway for the rest of the year. Make sure to plan accordingly.
Tips for Saving Money on Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth are expensive and if insurance covering the majority isn’t an option for you, then you may need to get creative. Check out the pricing at various dentists in your area, but also look at options outside the city or even outside the state (if you live near enough to a state border to justify the trip).
Dental schools also tend to provide procedures at a steep discount with the downside being that your procedure will be used to educate students.
If you’re in the unfortunate position of needing to get multiple wisdom teeth removed, then you may be able to bite the bullet and get them all taken out at once. This can amplify the pain, but it will mean you don’t need to come in twice, you won’t be out of work for each separate operation, and you won’t have to pay for anesthesia multiple times.
Share Your Thoughts
Everyone has a different experience with getting their wisdom teeth removed. Share your experience below, tell us your thoughts, and provide guidance to those that are anxious about their upcoming procedure.
Was the procedure affordable? How helpful was your insurance? How long did it take you to recover and how much did it affect your ability to work?