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Wisdom Teeth Removal: Treatment & Costs

Are your wisdom teeth causing you pain and discomfort? Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure that assists to eliminate the pain caused by problematic wisdom tooth development. If left in place, difficult wisdom teeth can cause severe pain, infections and serious damage to the surrounding jawbone and teeth.

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What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, or third and final molars, are the four last teeth to erupt, generally coming in during the late teen years or early twenties. Because the jawbone has fully grown to its adult size during the late teen years, the jaw is often too small to accommodate the new wisdom teeth comfortably. This is why the development of wisdom teeth commonly causes pain and discomfort, and can lead to more serious issues that require wisdom teeth removal.

Do I Need to Get My Wisdom Teeth Out?

Depending on the size of your jaw and how your wisdom teeth develop, you may not experience any issues with your wisdom teeth. The best way to determine whether you require wisdom teeth removal or not is to visit one of our approved dentists for a professional evaluation and assessment.

The dentist will review your dental history, take x-rays, and examine the general health of your mouth and the condition of your wisdom teeth. If the dentist detects an issue with your wisdom teeth, surgery may be recommended to have them removed and eliminate or avoid any uncomfortable symptoms. Early removal is generally the best option as it helps to avoid more serious issues in the future.

It is important that you discuss the wisdom tooth removal procedure, risks, possible complications and outcomes with the dentist. The procedure may be performed by the dentist or you may be referred to a specialist. This is dependent on the dentist’s preferences and your individual circumstances. If you decide not to proceed with the wisdom tooth removal procedure, ensure they are monitored at each dental visit.

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Why Have a Wisdom Tooth Removed?

Wisdom teeth can cause serious issues and severe pain. If a problem is detected with the development of your wisdom tooth, it is advised that you have it removed as soon as possible. Below are the most common reasons for having your wisdom teeth removed.

Tooth Decay

If your wisdom tooth is impacted, saliva, bacteria and food can accumulate around it, causing decay to the wisdom tooth or the tooth beside it. This often leads to a painful infection.

Gum Infection

If your tooth is partially erupted through the gum, food particles and bacteria can accumulate beneath the gum, resulting in a local infection. This can lead to pain, swelling and bad breath. You may even find it difficult to chew or open your mouth fully. This infection can spread to the cheek and neck.

Pressure Pain

When a wisdom tooth develops, it can cause a lot of pressure against the other teeth in the mouth as they try to make room. This can cause severe pressure pain, and can even lead to erosion of the other teeth.

Orthodontic Reasons

If you have received orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth, your wisdom teeth can compromise the results by moving the teeth out of place.

Prosthetic Reasons

When a patient requires dentures, they are advised to have any wisdom tooth removed. If a wisdom tooth grows in beneath a denture, it can lead to irritation, and if removed, the patient will require new dentures as this changes the shape of the gums and mouth.

Cyst Formation

A cyst (fluid-filled sac) can form from the tissue surrounding an impacted wisdom tooth. This can lead to bone destruction, jaw enlargement and movement or decay of nearby teeth. The removal of the tooth and cyst is required to avoid further bone loss. Tumours can develop inside these cysts, and they can even result in a fractured jaw if left to grow.

Common Problems with Wisdom Teeth

Many people experience issues with their wisdom teeth. Common problems caused by wisdom teeth include:

  • Gum disease
  • Teeth crowding
  • Decay
  • Poor position
  • Cysts.

You may experience pain or swelling while your wisdom teeth grow in, or you may have no symptoms at all, even though your other teeth may be at risk of damage. This is why it is so important to have a wisdom tooth assessment performed by a professional dentist.

Do I Need to Remove an Impacted Wisdom Tooth If it Isn’t Causing Any Problems?

When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it is almost certain to cause issues if ignored, especially if it is a lower wisdom tooth. Impacted wisdom teeth are also notorious for causing severe pain. It is best to have an impacted wisdom tooth removed as soon as the problem is detected as to avoid any further issues.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure

Here is an outline of what you can expect during your wisdom tooth removal:

  • Your dentist will use either local, sedation or general anaesthesia in order to numb your mouth and/or suppress your consciousness during the surgery
  • An incision will be made in the gum to expose the tooth and bone
  • If any bone is blocking access to the root of the tooth, it will be removed
  • If the tooth is difficult to remove, it may be divided into several pieces
  • The tooth is removed
  • The extraction site is cleaned and any remaining debris is removed
  • The site is stitched up if required for healing
  • A gauze is placed over the site to control any bleeding and assist the formation of a blood clot.

What to Expect After the Procedure

If you have been given sedation or general anaesthesia, you will be taken to a recovery room after the procedure. In the case where you have received local anaesthesia, you are given a brief amount of time to recover in the dental chair. You may require to have a friend or relative drive you home. Your dentist will advise you if this is necessary prior to your surgery. You may also be prescribed medication to manage the pain.

Post-Operative Care

After your wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to follow your dentist’s advice. Following their instructions will promote faster healing and avoid any complications. Some of their recommendations may include:

  • Not disturbing the wound, by avoiding touching the site and chewing on the opposite side of your mouth for the first 24 hours
  • Not smoking, as this can encourage bleeding
  • Not spitting or using a straw, as this can dislodge the blood clot and cause a dry socket
  • Using sterile gauze pads to control the bleeding and promote clot development
  • Using a cold pack to reduce swelling
  • Avoiding strenuous activities for a week after the procedure
  • Avoiding alcohol for 24 hours after surgery
  • Eating soft foods and avoiding hot beverages and spicy foods for a few days after surgery.

While rare, there are some risks involved with wisdom tooth removal. It is important to contact your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fever
  • Severe pain not relieved by prescribed pain medications
  • Swelling that increases after two or three days
  • A bad taste in your mouth not removed with a saltwater rinse
  • Pus in the extraction site
  • Continual numbness or loss of feeling
  • Blood or pus in nasal discharge.

These symptoms may be a sign of an infection, nerve damage or other complications, so it is important to contact your dentist immediately for advice.

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Covered by Insurance?

As impacted wisdom teeth are such a common occurrence, most normal medical insurance covers wisdom tooth extraction. Waiting periods may apply, so it is always best to consult your insurance provider to confirm your entitlements.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs

The cost of wisdom teeth removal is dependent on your individual circumstances. Factors such as which anaesthesia was used and the nature of the extraction can have an impact on the overall price of the procedure. As a Smile member, you will receive a guaranteed saving of at least 15% on all dental procedures in comparison to regular patients.

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Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs Comparison

Item No.Dental serviceQueensland
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$49 - $72$43
022 x 2X-Rays$86 - $114$70
314Sectional Removal of a Tooth or Part(s) Thereof$220 - $337 ***$187 ***
323Surgical Removal of a Tooth or Tooth Fragment$310 - $485 ***$264 ***
927Provision of Medication/Medicament*$45 - $45 ***$38 ***
Total Cost$710 - $1,053$602

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That's an estimated saving of $108 - $451!

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Important Notes on Dental Fees

Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs Comparison

Item No.Dental serviceAustralian Capital Territory
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$53 - $70$48
022 x 2X-Rays$86 - $110$76
314Sectional Removal of a Tooth or Part(s) Thereof$220 - $320 ***$187 ***
323Surgical Removal of a Tooth or Tooth Fragment$350 - $450 ***$298 ***
927Provision of Medication/Medicament*$45 - $45 ***$38 ***
Total Cost$754 - $995$647

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That's an estimated saving of $107 - $348!

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Important Notes on Dental Fees

Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs Comparison

Item No.Dental serviceNew South Wales
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$49 - $72$42
022 x 2X-Rays$84 - $114$70
314Sectional Removal of a Tooth or Part(s) Thereof$225 - $338 ***$191 ***
323Surgical Removal of a Tooth or Tooth Fragment$339 - $490 ***$288 ***
927Provision of Medication/Medicament*$45 - $45 ***$38 ***
Total Cost$742 - $1,059$629

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That's an estimated saving of $113 - $430!

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Important Notes on Dental Fees

Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs Comparison

Item No.Dental serviceWestern Australia
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$51 - $74$44
022 x 2X-Rays$90 - $110$78
314Sectional Removal of a Tooth or Part(s) Thereof$217 - $336 ***$184 ***
323Surgical Removal of a Tooth or Tooth Fragment$315 - $438 ***$268 ***
927Provision of Medication/Medicament*$45 - $45 ***$38 ***
Total Cost$718 - $1,003$612

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That's an estimated saving of $106 - $391!

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Important Notes on Dental Fees

Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs Comparison

Item No.Dental serviceTasmania
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$49 - $65$45
022 x 2X-Rays$90 - $110$78
314Sectional Removal of a Tooth or Part(s) Thereof$280 - $329 ***$238 ***
323Surgical Removal of a Tooth or Tooth Fragment$375 - $480 ***$319 ***
927Provision of Medication/Medicament*$45 - $45 ***$38 ***
Total Cost$839 - $1,029$718

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That's an estimated saving of $121 - $311!

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Important Notes on Dental Fees

Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs Comparison

Item No.Dental serviceNorthern Territory
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$54 - $58$56
022 x 2X-Rays$94 - $106$90
314Sectional Removal of a Tooth or Part(s) Thereof$257 - $272 ***$218 ***
323Surgical Removal of a Tooth or Tooth Fragment$350 - $360 ***$298 ***
927Provision of Medication/Medicament*$45 - $45 ***$38 ***
Total Cost$800 - $841$700

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That's an estimated saving of $100 - $141!

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Important Notes on Dental Fees

Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs Comparison

Item No.Dental serviceVictoria
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$50 - $74$42
022 x 2X-Rays$88 - $114$76
314Sectional Removal of a Tooth or Part(s) Thereof$235 - $345 ***$200 ***
323Surgical Removal of a Tooth or Tooth Fragment$320 - $490 ***$272 ***
927Provision of Medication/Medicament*$45 - $45 ***$38 ***
Total Cost$738 - $1,068$628

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That's an estimated saving of $110 - $440!

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Important Notes on Dental Fees

Wisdom Teeth Removal Costs Comparison

Item No.Dental serviceSouth Australia
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$52 - $70$45
022 x 2X-Rays$90 - $114$78
314Sectional Removal of a Tooth or Part(s) Thereof$208 - $300 ***$177 ***
323Surgical Removal of a Tooth or Tooth Fragment$290 - $420 ***$247 ***
927Provision of Medication/Medicament*$45 - $45 ***$38 ***
Total Cost$685 - $949$585

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That's an estimated saving of $100 - $364!

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Important Notes on Dental Fees
Last Updated: 5 July 2016
Source: Australian Dental Association's (ADA) annual dental fee survey conducted in October 2015.
Regular Patients Pay: The fee non-members 'could be charged' when visiting a regular dentist.
Members Pay: Members pay no more than this fee (the fee may be less) when visiting an approved dentist.
* This Dental Fee Example is a guide only. Your personal situation should be discussed with your approved dentist.
** You may require fewer or additional dental services which may increase or decrease the total cost.
*** This fee will vary depending on the approved dentist visited & will be reduced by 15% off the practice fee.


Benefits of Wisdom Teeth Removal

From general oral hygiene to eliminating painful and unpleasant symptoms, there are many benefits to getting your wisdom teeth extracted.

  • You may find it difficult to reach your wisdom teeth with your toothbrush or floss. This leads to a build-up of bacteria, sugars and acids that can result in a cavity. If not restored with a filling, the cavity may spread and damage more of the tooth and surrounding structures.
  • Being so hard to access with your daily oral hygiene regime, this accumulation of bacteria and food debris can cause bad breath.
  • If your wisdom tooth is still under the gums, growing in horizontally rather than vertically, this can put a lot of pressure on the surrounding teeth, leading to crowded and crooked teeth. This can also occur when there is not enough space in the jawbone or mouth to accommodate the wisdom tooth. You may require braces to repair the damage.
  • While still under the gums, your wisdom tooth can become irritated. The gum tissue sitting over the tooth can accumulate bacteria and food debris and become infected.
  • There is a possibility that further issues will occur the longer you wait and the older you get. This is because as you age, the jawbone surrounding the tooth becomes progressively dense making the tooth more problematic to extract. It may also take longer to heal.

As with every medical procedure, wisdom tooth removal may also have disadvantages.

  • Depending on the size, shape and position of your wisdom tooth, removal can range from being a simple extraction to a more complex process. In the case of a simple extraction, you can generally expect little swelling, bruising and bleeding. More complex extractions will often result in more severe bruising, swelling and bleeding. These side effects can be minimised and managed with help from your dentist.
  • After your wisdom tooth removal, there is a risk of developing dry socket. This is where the blood clot in the extraction site is dislodged, exposing the bone underneath. This condition causes severe pain but can be resolved in a few days. You can avoid dry socket by following the post-surgery instructions from your dentist.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Problematic wisdom teeth development is extremely common, which is why some people choose to have them removed. Some people do not experience any issues with their wisdom teeth, while others can experience pain, discomfort and infection that can lead to more serious problems. It is recommended that you consult a Smile-approved dentist for a professional assessment to determine whether you require wisdom teeth removal or not.

If your dentist advises that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, it is best to follow their expert advice before the situation worsens.

What Can I Eat After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Your dentist may prescribe you a soft diet for a few days after your wisdom tooth removal. This will ensure that painful chewing pressure and possible irritation to the extraction site are minimised. It is best to avoid putting pressure on, or making contact with, the site as much as possible, so chewing on the opposite side of your mouth is advised.

There are several foods that should be avoided following your surgery, including alcohol, very hot beverages and spicy foods. These foods can increase bleeding and delay the healing process.

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