While flushing and brushing are usually enough to prevent cavities and other signs of tooth decay, some of these things feel like they’re inevitable. The good news is that fillings, wisdom tooth extraction, and tooth canals (types of oral surgery) are effective procedures that can remove cavities, improve oral health, and prevent pain at the early and middle stages.
However, if cavities are not treated in time, they can cause irreversible damage to a tooth that most procedures are unable to correct. In these circumstances, the tooth likely needs to be removed from the gums themselves. This can be especially painful with molars and may require sedation or local anesthesia at your dentist’s office or oral surgeon’s office. Dental work is not fun, whether it’s with your general dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon.
Here is everything you need to know about how tooth extraction works, when it’s necessary, and how much it will cost with your dental insurance plan (which is separate from your health insurance).
Tooth extraction is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It is a procedure in which a dental professional removes, or extracts, a tooth from the inside of the mouth. It is typically done after a tooth has become severely infected or damaged due to decay or trauma, which can include the soft tissue around it or the tooth itself. However, teeth may also be extracted due to being impaction below the gumline — commonly seen in wisdom teeth.
The procedure will work differently depending on the reasoning behind the extraction.
A simple extraction is a procedure that removes teeth from above the gums. It does not require surgical techniques or breaking the tooth into pieces. This method is done when you’re not a good candidate for a root canal or if there is overcrowding in the teeth that cannot be handled by other orthodontic treatments.
To begin a simple extraction, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. They may either inject the anesthetic into your gums, or they may apply a topical numbing agent to further minimize any discomfort caused by the injection itself.
Next, the dentist must release the ligament fibers that hold the tooth in place. This is done with a tool called an elevator, which makes the loose tooth even looser. This works because the bony socket around the tooth is pliable. Essentially, the elevator enlarges the socket just enough to allow the tooth to be removed.
The socket is then replaced with a bone grafting material as well as gauze to minimize bleeding and close up the socket. You’ll then be given post-operative instructions for taking care of the wound as it heals.
If your teeth are not above the gumline, which often occurs with impacted wisdom teeth, you’ll need to have the tooth surgically extracted. Surgical extractions involve surgical procedures below the gumline.
First, you’ll be given local and intravenous anesthesia, the latter of which makes you feel calm, cool, and comfortable for the duration of the procedure. Depending on your circumstances, a dentist might even give you general anesthesia to allow you to remain unconscious.
Next, the oral surgeon will make a small incision into the gums with a scalpel in order to access the tooth. Then, special tools are used to remove the tooth from the socket. In some circumstances, the tooth may need to be broken into pieces in order to be effectively removed. Finally, the socket is replaced with a dental bone graft in order to prevent bone loss in the jaw.
The main goal of a dentist is to preserve the original tooth, no matter how bad the decay has gotten. However, there are times when an extraction is necessary since dental fillings and crowns just aren’t enough.
In general, a dentist might recommend a tooth extraction for the following reasons:
It’s important to get a tooth extracted because a tooth infection can cause major damage to your health. For one, a tooth abscess will not go away on its own. These affect the nerves of your tooth, which are highly sensitive. In short — untreated decay can cause you a lot of pain and discomfort.
But even more so, a ruptured abscess can cause a bacterial infection in other parts of your mouth that can even spread to other parts of the body. This can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition that is caused by your body’s response to a bacterial infection. It is marked by body-wide inflammation, which can cause internal organs to shut down and blood pressure to drop drastically.
Don’t be embarrassed or scared about needing to get a tooth extracted. It is a common procedure that can keep you comfortable while also ensuring your health and safety.
The average cost of a tooth extraction is highly dependent on a number of different variables. For one, the type of extraction can play a major role. Simple extractions that do not require incisions along the gumline tend to be much cheaper than surgical extractions.
Without insurance, a simple tooth extraction will run anywhere from $75 to $200, though this can change depending on the type of anesthesia you need. For a surgical extraction, a single tooth can cost anywhere between $800 and $4,000. That means if you were to get all four impacted wisdom teeth removed, it could cost you upwards of $12,000. These prices also vary depending on the type of anesthesia used.
If you have dental insurance, your provider will likely cover around 50-80% of the total cost. This can alleviate the financial burden and make you responsible for paying anywhere from $35 to $400 per tooth, depending on the type of extraction. However, if you are uninsured, it can be impossible to receive this important procedure, even with a payment plan.
The cost of a tooth extraction is a major barrier preventing people from getting access to proper dental care. Nationally, only a little over 50% of dentate adults had dental care coverage over the past 12-month period. That means nearly half the country is without insurance and access to affordable dental care.
However, there’s a solution aimed directly at people without dental insurance. Flossy is a membership-based pay-as-you-go service that lets you save up to 50% on dental procedures and cleanings. No annual fees or monthly premiums — you’ll only ever pay for the services you receive.
That means that you can get a tooth extracted for less than the average retail price. So you can get all four wisdom teeth removed for less than the cost of removing two with the national average.
No insurance? No problem. Find a dentist near you to get the dental care you need at the prices that you want.
A tooth extraction procedure can save you a lot of pain and discomfort down the line, however, it may also leave you with a little bit of discomfort during the recovery period. Normally, it takes a few days to fully recover from a tooth extraction.
You can take some steps to ensure that the recovery goes smoothly. For one, apply an ice pack to your cheek in 10-minute increments to reduce swelling and pain, especially in the first 24 hours after the surgery. Additionally, take any medications as prescribed, including over-the-counter painkillers to help ease your discomfort.
You can reduce bleeding and aid in blood clot formation by biting down on the gauze that your dentist places in your mouth. You’ll want to leave the gauze in for about three to four hours after the procedure. If the pads become soaked with blood, you may want to replace them with fresh ones.
Rest and relax for the first 24 hours after surgery. Additionally, do not use a straw during this period, as the suction may cause the bone graft to become dislodged from the socket. Finally, brush and floss your teeth as normal, just being careful to avoid the extraction site.
Tooth extractions are a last-ditch effort dental procedure to remove a tooth that has been badly damaged by trauma or decay. It is also used to surgically remove impacted teeth below the gumline.
The price of this procedure is dependent on the type of extraction taking place. Simple extractions that do not involve an incision in the gumline tend to be less expensive than surgical ones. However, the price of extraction is much lower with insurance.
The thing is, you don’t need insurance to have access to high-quality dental care at an affordable price. Flossy uses a pay-as-you-go model that lets you get necessary dental care for up to 50% off the national average. Find a dentist near you to get started today.