Tooth Extraction Costs And How to Afford It

How Much Does a Tooth Extraction Cost Without Insurance? –Forbes Advisor

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Tooth extractions, including ones involving infection, periodontal disease and crowding issues, are one of the most common dental procedures. An estimated 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted from children and adults in the US each year.

The cost of tooth extraction without dental insurance can be expensive, but the exact cost depends on the type of extraction and the number of teeth pulled, among other things.

How Much Does a Tooth Extraction Cost Without Insurance?

Dental insurance generally covers extractions if they’re medically necessary, but tooth extractions can be pricey if you don’t have insurance. The exact cost of a tooth removal procedure depends on a few factors, including the type of extraction required and the number of teeth that need to be pulled.

Here are the most common types of extractions and the average cost.

Simple extraction

Simple extractions are generally the cheapest extraction procedure, ranging from $75 to $250 per tooth.

Simple extractions are the easiest to perform. If a tooth is fully erupted and not impacted, the dentist can loosen the tooth and remove it without surgical intervention.

Surgical extraction

Surgical extractions can cost anywhere from $180 to $550 per tooth.

Surgical extractions are used to remove teeth that are severely decayed and can’t be easily removed in one piece or teeth that are partially or fully impacted. These procedures are longer and more complicated, which is why surgical extractions are more expensive than simple extractions.

Wisdom tooth surgery

The cost of wisdom tooth removal can be $120 to $800 per tooth.
Wisdom tooth extraction is often a surgical procedure, especially when the third molars are partially or fully impacted. It can also be expensive, as most people are born with multiple wisdom teeth and oral surgeons charge per tooth.

The cost of wisdom teeth surgery depends on many factors, including whether anesthesia is necessary.

Average costs for tooth extraction

How Much Does a Tooth Extraction Cost with Insurance?

If you have dental insurance that has more than preventive care, tooth extraction procedures are typically covered if they’re deemed medically necessary by a dentist or oral surgeon. The amount covered depends on the type of procedure and your specific plan details.

Dental insurance plans that cover basic procedures, including extractions, pay at different percentages based on the individual plan. You may have a policy that may pay 50% or you could find a plan that pays 80% for basic care. If your dental plan pays 80% for basic care, you would pay the remaining 20%.

Let’s look at how this translates to actual extraction procedures. Imagine you are getting wisdom teeth surgery with three partially impacted teeth, which will cost $1,500 before insurance. If your plan covers surgical extractions at 80%, you will have to pay $300 if you’ve exceeded your plan’s deductible.

Now imagine you only have one wisdom tooth that needs to be removed and it’s completely erupted. In this case, it’s a simple extraction, which may only cost $200. Your dental insurance plan would cover $160 and you pay the remaining $40 out-of-pocket.

It’s also possible that your health insurance will cover a portion of a tooth extraction procedure. This can further reduce the amount you have to pay. If you have health insurance, contact your insurer to see if oral surgery is covered under your plan.

Other costs associated with a tooth extraction

If you want to know how much a tooth extraction costs, you have to look beyond the cost of the procedure itself. When you have a tooth removed, there are typically other costs that you have to pay. Some of these costs include:

  • Consultation: Before a tooth extraction, you will likely have a consultation with a dentist or oral surgeon. The cost of the consultation is usually billed separately from the procedure, which costs $114 on average.
  • X-rays: The oral surgeon will likely order a panoramic X-ray to get a better look at your teeth and jaw before the extraction. Panoramic X-rays cost $125 on average, your dental plan may cover the cost in full.
  • Anesthesia: Tooth extractions often require some form of anesthesia, whether it’s nitrous oxide (laughing gas), local anesthesia or IV sedation. If anesthesia is considered medically necessary, it’s usually covered by dental insurance. If you don’t have insurance, the average costs of anesthesia are $53 for local anesthesia, $76 for nitrous oxide and $232 per 15-minute increment for IV sedation.
  • Medication: You might need certain medications to prevent infection after a tooth extraction procedure, like prescription painkillers or antibiotics. These medications may be partially covered by insurance, depending on your plan. On average, these medications cost around $30.
  • Follow-up appointment: If you need to visit the dentist or oral surgeon for a follow-up appointment, there may be additional costs during a follow-up appointment.

Dental Insurance That Covers Tooth Extractions

Most dental insurance plans cover tooth extraction. The catch is that plans cover extractions at a different rates of reimbursement. Here are examples of few dental insurance plans that cover tooth extraction

Is There Tooth Extraction Insurance with No Waiting Period?

Dental insurance plans may have a waiting period before you can use your benefits for certain procedures. For example, you might have to wait six months before your plan will cover non-surgical extractions.

But it’s possible to get tooth extraction insurance without a waiting period, such as those listed in the table above. Group dental insurance plans that are purchased through your employer may have no-waiting-period options.

If you recently switched insurance providers, see if the new insurer will make an exception. In some cases, the waiting period can be waived if you have had dental insurance consecutively for the past 12 months.

How to Get a Tooth Removed Without Insurance

If you need to have a tooth removed and you don’t have dental insurance, you have a few options to potentially reduce the cost of a tooth extraction:

  • Go to a local dental school: If you live near a university with a dental school, you might be able to receive discounted care from a dental student. Many dental schools have clinics where trained dental students see patients and are supervised by licensed dental professionals or oral surgeons.
  • Set up a payment plan: Most dental or oral surgery offices can set up a payment plan, where you pay off the cost of your treatment over a longer period of time. If you know you’re going to need financial assistance, inquire about a payment plan before your procedure.
  • Apply to the Dental Lifeline network: The Dental Lifeline network provides free or discounted dental care for low-income and disabled individuals. Dental services are provided by dental professionals who volunteer their time. Not all dental procedures are covered, though.
  • See if you qualify for Medicaid: If you qualify for Medicaid in your state, you might be able to get dental benefits included with your plan. Medicaid dental benefits vary based on location, but most states provide some coverage for dental emergencies.

Will a Dentist Pull a Tooth on the First Visit?

It’s unlikely that a dentist will pull a tooth on your first visit. In most cases, a consultation is required, which allows the dentist or surgeon to determine what type of extraction is needed, whether an infection is present and whether the procedure requires anesthesia. The provider will also need to take x-rays to get a closer look at your teeth and jaw.

After the consultation, you will be booked for the procedure. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, the dentist or surgeon will try to book you as soon as possible. Many dental offices have emergency appointments available after hours for urgent situations.

Is Anesthesia Covered by Dental Insurance?

Yes, anesthesia is typically covered by dental insurance, but only if it’s considered medically necessary to the procedure. For example, your dental insurance plan would likely cover IV sedation if you needed four fully impacted wisdom teeth removed. But IV sedation may not be covered for a simple extraction, where only local anesthesia is medically necessary.

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