At Alderley Dental, we understand you may be worried about your dental bill. We can do an exact written quote and talk to you about a treatment plan and ways to reduce your fees. Read through this blog to help answer some frequently asked questions about wisdom teeth removal and the costs associated.
I’m shopping around on prices for a wisdom tooth extraction. What’s the main factor that will influence the cost?
- If wisdom teeth cost is an issue, there are treatment alternatives and payment plans. If money is an issue and you have problem wisdom teeth, we can talk about staggering the treatments or using our payment plans. Regarding cost, removing wisdom teeth is broken up into two main categories: getting them removed by a specialist oral surgeon (under general anaesthetic, which will involve a hospital bill), or for more straightforward cases, ‘in the chair’ by a general dentist (under local anaesthetic). Because an oral surgeon has studied medicine and dentistry, with years of training, they will charge you at a specialist's rate, which is generally two to three times more than what a general dentist will charge you.
- Importantly, it comes down to the right assessment of your case, rather than cost. The vast majority of wisdom teeth will be simple to extract and can be done relatively easily and affordably by a general dentist with the right training, with the same amount of risk as if you were seeing an oral surgeon. If a wisdom tooth can be taken out by a general dentist, it will be cheaper than going to an oral surgeon. However, if you have to see an oral surgeon, then we won’t compromise safety, just to save a few dollars.
How about from dentist to dentist? Is there a lot of price variation?
- We find prices can vary greatly, but we believe we are reasonably priced for a quality service. As explained before, the biggest jump in fees comes from whether you’re having the procedure performed by an oral surgeon or you’re seeing a regular dentist.
Do you charge a flat fee or quote based on each patient’s situation?
- We quote. The way it works with wisdom teeth is that every tooth is individual, so some will come out in a few minutes, while some may take a little bit longer. The ones that are easier to remove will be charged less, while the ones that require a bit more work and follow-up will be charged more. And that’s something that the patient can know straight off from their assessment – our dentists will be happy to tell you. Our dental team believes it’s better to focus on having the right training and being able to do the job or referring you to a specialist, as opposed to being cheaper.
What will Medicare cover?
- When it comes to wisdom teeth, Medicare will only bulk bill the cost of an x-ray. What happens is that you need a larger x-ray, which is done through places like QScan Radiology or Queensland x-ray. Once your dentist has seen your X-ray, which is done free of charge, then our team can usually get a quote together without you having to come in and pay for a further consult. The rest of the fees are down to either yourself or private health insurance. Your fund may cover a certain amount depending on your level of benefits.
How about timing? If you have an urgent wisdom tooth and a not-so-urgent one, can you space out extractions?
- In most cases, a wisdom tooth needs to be extracted because the patient is in pain. If one side hurts and the other side doesn’t, first we’ll take care of the most urgent one, then we can push the other one to a later date unless we see something that would put the patient at risk of being in greater pain.
Will I have to have all my wisdom teeth removed all at once?
- It’s rare that we’d recommend taking out all your wisdom teeth at once. If time or cost is an issue and you have problem wisdom teeth, we can talk about staggering the treatments. It’s about working with your dentist or oral surgeon, them knowing your situation and figuring out the best solution. So you’re not up for any surprises, first, contact your private health fund and give them our provider number and item numbers for the treatment. Then they can tell you exactly what your out-of-pocket expenses will be.
We have private health insurance, and our 18-year-old is covered until he’s 25. His wisdom teeth aren’t causing issues, but should he have a check-up?
- Wisdom teeth usually come through between the ages of 17 and 24. At around 17 to 18, we can tell what a wisdom tooth is doing and even pre-plan as to when we’d have them out. In that timeframe, with a simple check-up, we can make the decision whether we keep each wisdom tooth or decide to get rid of it. In most cases, it’s much easier to have a wisdom tooth out earlier before pathology arises. Also, when the patient is younger, they tend to recover much more quickly.
Be proactive with your wisdom teeth. Do you need a wisdom teeth check-up?
- Being proactive with wisdom teeth check-ups will be more cost-effective in the long term. If you don’t get them checked while they’re erupting and wait until you get an infection, that’s going to be more costly than if you plan your treatment ahead of time and budget for it, so you – the patient – can be in control. Also, an infected wisdom tooth can cause implications for the teeth next to it. What started with just the one wisdom tooth being the issue, if left, can cause issues with the teeth next to it, which can become an even bigger cost.