Dentists do everything they can to save teeth that are in trouble. So if they suggest a tooth extraction, there is likely no other option. Patients are often nervous about the procedure and what to do about the space a pulled tooth will leave behind. Another source of concern is how much a tooth extraction costs.
A lot of things will determine the price of getting a tooth pulled. Among the variables are why the extraction is necessary, the location of the tooth, and even the location of the dentist. But budget-conscious patients will be happy to learn that there are some ways to save money on the procedure.
Why Do You Need a Tooth Extraction?
Sometimes a tooth extraction is an emergency. Other times, it is part of a bigger dental treatment plan. Either way, the dentist will only suggest pulling a tooth when it is absolutely necessary.
These are some of the things that may require a tooth extraction:
- A cavity-filled tooth that is too weak to support a filling or crown.
- Abscesses and widespread infection.
- A tooth broken off at the gumline, exposing the root.
- Severe gum disease that can loosen the teeth in the jaw bone.
- Routine wisdom tooth extraction to avoid overcrowding.
- Impacted teeth that fail to erupt properly.
- Hyperdontia, a condition where a patient has too many teeth.
- Giving teeth room to move into alignment during orthodontic treatment.
- Preparation for reconstructive or cosmetic procedures such as dental implants or dentures.
- An infected tooth that poses a risk to an immunocompromised person receiving radiation, chemotherapy, or an organ transplant.
Any of these situations, or a combination of them, can lead to needing a tooth pulled. The reason can also have an impact on the tooth extraction cost.
Tooth Extraction Cost Depends on Several Factors
A tooth extraction cost can be as little as $75 or as much as $2,000, which is quite a wide range. To narrow down the actual cost for an individual patient, we must look at the specific circumstances. The following factors will affect the overall price of the procedure.
Complexity of the case. Removing a visible tooth takes less time and effort than extracting one that is impacted or broken under the gum line. Those more complicated cases need a surgical extraction. A regular dentist can do a simple extraction for between $75 to $200 per tooth. If an oral surgeon or maxillofacial surgeon is necessary, they will typically charge $300 to $2000 per tooth.
Location of the tooth. Hard-to-reach molars can be more difficult to pull than front teeth, which could account for a slight variation in pricing.
Urgency. Extracting a broken tooth might call for emergency care, which will likely be more expensive than a scheduled visit. This is especially true if the dentist sees a patient after regular office hours.
“Comfort” preferences. Patients having tooth removal surgery will often receive general anesthesia, and at the very least, intravenous anesthesia to keep them awake but calm and comfortable. A simple extraction can sometimes be completed with only a local anesthetic to numb the area. Sedation is sometimes available to patients even with a simple extraction (or even for routine fillings) for their comfort. Local anesthetic is the least expensive option. Any additional anesthetic, whether required or voluntary, will cost more.
Location of dental practice. Dental offices in small towns tend to be less expensive than those in big cities, and the Midwest states are often more affordable than either coast. And within any community, there are usually dental practices that range from no-frills to high-end. When price is a concern, it pays to do some research and check out reviews to seek out less expensive options that still offer good quality care.
As with all dental procedures, part of the cost might be covered if the patient has dental insurance. Checking the policy before getting a tooth extracted will give a clearer picture of the total out-of-pocket cost.
Can I Save Money and Just Pull My Own Tooth?
While a do-it-yourself solution might seem like a good idea, and a way to save money, that is not the case with dental procedures! With the exception of a child’s primary teeth, extractions should be left to a professional. And baby teeth should be allowed to loosen and fall out on their own rather than pulling them out with force. Extracting a primary tooth too soon can affect the development of the permanent tooth that will take its place.
Unless an adult tooth is ready to fall out, pulling it is a lot harder than it might seem. Dentists have the right tools on hand, and have practiced proper extraction techniques. Trying an at-home tooth extraction is risky. Patients can experience the following problems:
- Severe pain and bleeding.
- Damage to the surrounding gum tissue.
- Cracking or breaking off the tooth instead of removing it.
- Harming neighboring teeth or the jawbone.
- Nerve damage.
All of these situations can lead to needing further treatment, which can end up with a higher price tag than what the initial tooth extraction cost would be.
The risks are reduced or eliminated by visiting a dentist or oral surgeon instead. Routine follow-up care can address infections or conditions like dry socket, if they develop. (Dry socket is a condition where the underlying bone is exposed by the open wound after an extraction.)
Dental professionals can also use anesthetics and prescribe antibiotics and pain medication as needed. Most importantly, a dentist might be able to avoid extraction entirely and save the tooth. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime, so this should always be the goal.
Cost-Effective Tooth Extraction
When the price of a tooth extraction is a concern, patients can try the following to lower the cost:
- See if the dental practice allows paying in installments.
- Some dentists offer special pricing for students, military personnel, etc.
- Consider a dental school where students learn procedures like tooth extractions under close supervision.
- For simple extractions, ask if a local anesthetic will be sufficient instead of more expensive anesthesia.
- Research alternative payment options such as dental credit cards, health savings accounts, or flexible spending accounts.
- Research dentists to find lower-cost options. Our online search tool can help.
When a dentist wants to do a tooth extraction, there is a good reason. Do not put it off longer than necessary because of the cost. The amount of time, trouble, and money associated with the procedure will only increase the longer you wait.