Whether you’re 28 or 18, wisdom teeth have a bad habit of popping up and hurting when you least expect it. In fact, the 3rd molars (wisdom teeth) begin to develop during the pre-teen and early teen years but often aren’t fully formed until a person is closer to around 30 years of age.
Why does that matter? Because if you’re in pain now, it might be the best choice to go ahead and get your wisdom teeth pulled. But how much is it going to cost you out of pocket, and will your dental insurance cover it? What if you don’t have insurance at all?
The actual cost for a typical wisdom tooth extraction can run between $200-500 per tooth. Generally, the price is lower when you have all of them removed at one time, as it reduces the number of appointments and medication (such as sedation) necessary. Simple extractions that don’t involve any type of surgery can run as low as $75 per tooth with local anesthesia. It depends on where you live and the positioning of your tooth.
Choose the Right Provider
If your wisdom tooth extraction is a simple one, it can usually be completed by your family dentist. However, more complex situations (such as wisdom teeth that are close to your nerve, or have curved roots that are difficult to remove) may need to be referred to an oral surgeon. As such, the surgical cases typically cost more than a simple extraction will. Plus, there’s the cost of sedation to keep you comfortable in the process. Some IV sedation cases are around $500 or more, just for the medication and specialist administering it.
Dental Emergencies, No Coverage & No Savings
It’s times like this when a lack of dental insurance can cost you. Most people typically don’t plan ahead and put money into a dental savings account for a random dental emergency or wisdom tooth removal. If you’ve always had healthy teeth, you might feel like you’re lucky.
Unfortunately, it’s when you need dental insurance the most that it becomes difficult to get. Not to mention the waiting periods you must sit patiently through before you can use your benefits. Some dental insurance plans will make you wait for six months to get a dental crown, even if you just had to get an emergency root canal.
Actual Costs, Insurance Waiting Times, & Dental Discount Plans
Let’s say you have dental insurance and you plan to use it for your 3rd molar removal. Depending on your policy, your insurance coverage may only pay for 50% of the actual procedure. This leaves you responsible to pay out of pocket for the remaining balance at the time of the surgery. If there are waiting times involved, you’re dealing with extra pain and delaying treatment that you may wish you had just paid for on your own!
An alternative solution to these problems is a dental discount plan. A dental discount plan bypasses the insurance carrier and allows you to get immediate access to full benefits usually within about 24 hours of joining the plan. They’re also more flexible, in that there are no maximum allowable expenditures, you don’t have to hit a deductible, and no waiting periods are involved. As soon as your toothache or dental emergency pops up, you can schedule treatment for it. Most dentists love dental discount plans, because they eliminate the need for processing dental claims and long wait times.
Knowledge is Power & Savings is Life!
The next time you plan a trip to the dentist or need to update your health insurance policy, consider a discount dental plan. Most policies also have options to add in vision, hearing, or telemedicine coverage. But more importantly, you can save 10-60% on all your dental work – emergencies, toothaches, and wisdom tooth surgery included.
Even if you’re considering a future smile makeover or dental implants, a dental savings plan could save you thousands. After all, dental insurance won’t cover elective cosmetic procedures (like veneers or whitening.)
Have questions about which type of dental savings plan is right for you? There are many to choose from and you can update your coverage at any time. Contact us today for assistance from one of our dental savings experts.