When it comes to having your wisdom teeth removed, this relatively commonplace procedure can be as simple as a conventional tooth extraction or as complex as a surgical extraction requiring bone removal and sectioning of the tooth crown and root to allow its complete removal.
The complexity of the procedures depends on the following factors:
- Whether your wisdom teeth are submerged at different levels – either fully erupted, partially enveloped by gum tissue or completely submerged beneath bone.
- Whether your wisdom teeth are impacted (ie. positioned at a range of angles within the jawbone, from fully vertical through to fully horizontal).
- If you are an older patient and your wisdom teeth have more mature, fully formed roots.
Who will perform the procedure?
As a general rule of thumb, the more complicated the wisdom teeth removal procedure, the more necessary it is to consult a specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon (especially if there is severe impaction, infection or developed roots in close proximity to sensitive areas such as the mandibular nerve in the lower jaw).
There are two clinician groups who typically perform wisdom teeth surgery:
1. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (approximately 15 to 16 years’ training)
A Dental Board-registered specialist in the field of mouth and jaw surgery whose Australian registration requires them to complete degrees in dentistry, medicine and oral surgery.
3. General dentists (approximately five years’ training)
A non-specialist whose training is not specific to surgery but covers all facets of general dentistry.
*COST TIP: If treated by a specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon you can expect to pay approximately 25% to 35% more than for treatment by a general dentist.
What is the full course of treatment?
The full course of treatment may include:
- consultation and clinical exam in order to fully understand your dental and medical history before embarking on surgical treatment;
- an OPG X-ray (giving a panoramic view of the entire mouth), and in more complicated cases a cone beam scan to gauge the position and angulation of the wisdom teeth and their proximity to vital anatomical features;
- surgery to remove the wisdom teeth, management of complications and pain relief;
- post-operative follow-up (including pain management).
*COST TIP: It is recommended that you obtain a quote for treatment in writing and that you ask for it to include the full estimated cost of your consultation, investigations, surgery and follow-up.
Your consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (though not a general dentist) may be rebated through Medicare. Your OPG X-ray may also be bulk-billed through Medicare.
What if I have the procedure under general anaesthetic in hospital?
Only an oral and maxillofacial surgeon assisted by a medically trained specialist anaesthetist can offer you wisdom teeth extractions under general anaesthetic in hospital.
*COST TIP: If you choose to have your wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthetic, you’ll need to budget for both anaesthetist and hospital fees. Medicare and private health fund rebates apply. Depending on whether you have private health insurance with hospital cover, and your level of cover, your out-of-pocket expenses can vary greatly.
What can I expect to pay for wisdom teeth removal?
The estimated base costs of surgery to remove wisdom teeth are as follows:
- If performed by a general dentist – $250 to $400 per tooth
- If performed by a specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon – $450 to $600 per tooth
*COST TIP: Cost will tend to vary according to the complexity of your surgical procedure and the specialist training of the performing clinician.