Wisdom Tooth Removal
Medically Reviewed by Greg Grillo, D.D.S.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the final four molars that most adults develop. These teeth are located in the very back of the mouth, one on either side in both the upper and lower arch. Wisdom teeth typically develop between the ages of 17 and 25. For some people, wisdom teeth never develop while for others the teeth erupt normally — just as their other molars did — and cause no problems.
Why are wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth don’t typically need to be removed if they’re not causing any problems.
Wisdom teeth that haven’t fully broken through he surface of the gum or become impacted can cause dental problems. Bacteria can get trapped around the edge of the wisdom teeth, causing a build-up of plaque, which can lead to:
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Gum disease (also called periodontal disease or gingivitis)
- Pericoronitis – infection of the soft tissue that surrounds the tooth
- Cellulitis – a bacterial infection in the throat, tongue or cheek
- Abscess – pus in your wisdom teeth or the surrounding tissue
- Cysts and benign growths – although more rare, a cyst develops (a fluid-filled swelling)
The majority of these problems can be treated with antiseptic mouthwash and antibiotics.
Prior to treatment, most patients are given a local anesthetic injection to numb the area around the tooth.
You may feel some pressure just before the tooth is removed, as your dentist needs to widen the tooth socket by rocking the tooth back and forth. In some cases, a small cut in the gum is necessary, and the tooth may need to be cut into smaller pieces before it’s removed.
It entire wisdom tooth procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on how many teeth are removed.
After your procedure, you may experience some swelling and discomfort, both inside and outside your mouth. Occasionally, mild bruising is also visible for the first 2-3 days, but it can last for up to 1-2 weeks.
Cost of wisdom tooth removal
The average cost for extracting wisdom teeth ranges from $200 to $700 per tooth. There are several factors that will influence the cost of your procedure such as:
- The dentist’s experience and training
- The dentist’s location
- The type of dental insurance you have
- The complexity of the procedure you need
Some dental insurance companies may cover wisdom teeth removal. Check with your insurance company for further details.