Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost and Procedures
Just when you think you have outgrown the agony of having a new tooth, then your wisdom tooth happens. If you are one of the lucky people who have perfectly aligned and healthy set of teeth, then you have no problem.
But if you are among the many unfortunate ones who have a set of poorly aligned teeth, then be ready to be a subject of excruciating discomfort and pain. To a certain degree, you may even need to have a wisdom teeth removal procedure performed. But when is it necessary, how is done and how much does a wisdom teeth removal cost?
The Age of Wisdom
The wisdom teeth are the common name that refers to any of the four third molars that are found in a permanent dentition or developed set of teeth. It is the last teeth in the dental arch to grow, which happens between the ages of 17 to 25 years old. And since this time of the life is called The Age of Wisdom, this is the reason why it got its popular name.
Unfortunately in most cases, wisdom teeth are unable to grow normally. Sometimes they grow partially emerged through the gums, remain completely hidden under the gums, positioned horizontally toward or away from the second molars or angled inward or outward.
Any of these cases is called an impacted wisdom tooth, which can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone or nerves. This happens when the jaw does not have enough space for the new teeth to grow in.
The Perils of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Interestingly enough, impacted wisdom teeth are actually common with almost 3 out of 4 people in their 20s experiencing this according to a certain European study. While most people who have it will not have trouble having them, it will however cause consequent oral health issues that can cause pain, discomfort or infection.
It can sometimes trap food and other debris in the soft tissue that surrounds it causing plaque to develop. This can lead to more serious oral health problems, like swelling, gum tenderness, bad breath and cavities. And since impacted wisdom teeth are generally hard to reach and clean, it becomes a breeding area for bacteria that can cause gum disease and oral infection. Some may even develop extensive tooth decay, cysts and tumors within the affected area.
Because of its potential damage to the teeth, your dentist or oral surgeon may suggest that an extraction of the impacted wisdom teeth may need to be performed.
The Course of Action
A regular x-ray of the positioning of your wisdom teeth may be the best way to monitor the alignment of your teeth and to check if you have an impacted tooth.
Based on this, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend wisdom teeth removal even before the problem and complications happen. And in most cases when the impacted tooth has already caused damage, an extraction is generally suggested.
How the impacted wisdom tooth is extracted depends on the its positioning in the jaw. Soft tissue impaction, where the tooth is partially erupted with some portion of the gums lying over the tooth, involves making an incision in the gum tissue to allow access to the tooth before removing it. The gums are then put back into place by suturing and closing the incision.
For Partial bony impaction, where the tooth has only partially erupted through the jawbone, it involves making an incision in the gum tissue to access the tooth and surrounding tissue, as well as the removal of some of the bone from around the tooth before the removal of the impacted tooth. The gums are then sutured and repositioned.
A Fully bony impaction, on the other hand, involves a more complex procedure. Since the tooth is entirely encased in the bone, an incision in the gum tissue will be made, some overlying bone tissue will be trimmed away and may also require cutting of the tooth into pieces before it can be finally removed.
The incision is then closed by suturing and repositioning. For these three procedures, an anesthesia or sedation will be administered prior to the extraction to minimize pain and discomfort.
Lastly, a fully erupted wisdom tooth can be easily removed with a simple tooth extraction.
Recovery and healing after an extraction usually takes between 2 to 3 days. It is expected that bleeding on the surgical site will occur. There may also be slight discomfort and pain after the anesthesia has worn off. But, this can be easily managed with pain relievers.
After having the procedure done, your dentist will provide you with postoperative care instructions to ensure proper and speedy healing of your wound. This will include refraining from performing strenuous activities, eating or chewing hard food, smoking and drinking alcohol. You will also be advised to maintain a healthy oral hygiene regimen.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost
Wisdom teeth removal cost can range between $100 and $500, with simple tooth extraction being the cheapest and the procedure for fully bony impaction being the most expensive. The final cost will depend on the experience of the dentist or oral surgeon and the extent of the procedure. It is great to know that wisdom tooth extraction is generally covered under your dental insurance.
If any complications will develop, it is recommended that you immediately see your dentist to discuss appropriate treatments. However, it is extremely rare for serious complications to develop, especially when the extraction is performed by a skilled and experienced dentist or oral surgeon.