Asking how much it costs the average person to have their wisdom teeth removed without insurance does not yield a satisfactory answer.

My daughter recently had all four of her impacted third molars extracted by an oral surgeon, who charged $3,155 for his services.

However, almost nobody pays the full amount – even those with no dental insurance, because your healthcare plan should pick up most of the charges!

I have an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement proving that health insurance covers the impacted third molars procedure. The EOB also reveals the exact usual, customary, and reasonable fees for each service the oral surgeon charges to self-pay patients.  

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Cost No Insurance

My daughter’s real-life example gives you a precise figure of what it costs to extract all four impacted wisdom teeth without insurance of any type. Her EOB statement reveals what the provider charges exactly to retail patients (where a third-party payer is not negotiating huge discounts).

  • Panoramic X-ray: $115
  • Take out partially bony impacted molars: $450 each
  • Pull completely bony impacted molars: $560 each
  • Deep sedation (15 minutes): $275
  • Therapeutic drug injection (antibiotic): $115

The line item charges for all services totaled $3,155, which could be slightly higher or lower for uninsured patients, depending on the complexity of their case. For example, removing non-impacted third molars by a regular dentist might cost less per tooth and not require IV sedation.

Free Care

With a cost of $3,155 to extract all four impacted wisdom teeth without insurance, it might be tempting to look for providers that provide free care. While charitable organizations attempt to help, the grant programs are scarce, and few people ever qualify.

Rather than looking for free services, be proactive. Eighty-five percent of people need to have their third molars taken out by the time they reach age twenty-five. Since healthcare plans cover the removal of impacted teeth, you have plenty of warning to enroll in two government-supported programs that could make the procedure far more affordable.

  1. Medicaid provides coverage for low-income families at little or no cost
  2. Income-based subsidies reduce premiums for private plans

Payment Plans

Monthly payment plans backed by financing companies (installment loans or revolving credit cards) can make it easier to pay for the $3,155 cost of having your impacted wisdom teeth removed without outside help.

However, payment plans add to your costs with origination fees and interest charges. Plus, going into debt to have your third molars taken out is not a great idea – unless the pain is too much to bear.

Research your alternatives rather than setting up a payment plan. Just because you do not have dental insurance does not mean you have no coverage: medical policies should pay for your oral surgery.

Then, suppose you also do not have a healthcare plan. In that case, you can get coverage without a waiting period for any pre-existing conditions – with help from the government to pay the premiums.

  • Eligible Medicaid applicants have instant benefits which could apply retroactively
  • Private plans have start dates beginning January 1 of each year, unless you have a qualifying life event

Cost of Wisdom Teeth Extraction with Insurance

The unreimbursed costs of wisdom tooth removal depend on whether you have health and or dental insurance in force. In my daughter’s case, she had both types of coverage, and her total out-of-pocket charges came to $508.

When you have both coverage types, the healthcare component will be primary, and the dental plan will coordinate benefits as secondary.

Health Insurance

Your health insurance should cover the cost of impacted wisdom tooth removal because the procedure is often medically necessary. They can cause pain, infection and lead to the development of cysts.

My daughter’s healthcare plan (Aetna) was the primary payer, but her oral surgeon was out-of-network, which permitted the provider to charge more than the allowed amount. She also had to meet a second $1,500 annual deductible and make a 40% copayment on the higher base charges.

ServiceChargeDeductibleCopayment

Removal -Partially Bony (1)

$450

$450

$0

Removal – Completely Bony (3)

$1,680 ($560 each)

$1,050

$252

Therapeutic Drug Injection (1)

$85

$0

$34

Deep Sedation – 15 Minutes (3)

$825 ($275 each)

$0

$330

All told, her health insurance paid $924 in claims, leaving her with an interim obligation of $2,116. Had she chosen an in-network provider, these figures would have been much more favorable. 

Medicare

Medicare might pay to have your impacted wisdom teeth taken out because it is health insurance and follows similar parameters for medically necessary procedures. However, it is prudent to remove third molars before the age of 25.

Therefore, only a minority of Medicare enrollees might benefit.

  1. Senior citizens over the age of 65 rarely need the procedure
  2. Younger disabled adults might require oral surgery

Medicaid

Medicaid frequently covers impacted wisdom tooth removal because it functions like health insurance for low-income families across the country and pays for medically necessary services.

However, the Medicaid rules for non-impacted third molars that might have erupted through the gums could vary for children versus adults. In this case, tooth extraction falls into the dental category.

  • Medicaid acts as a dental plan for children under the age of 21 across the country
  • Medicaid pays for basic dental care for adults over 21 in twenty-four of the fifty states

Dental Insurance

Most dental insurance plans will cover the extraction of wisdom teeth as the secondary payer. They will coordinate benefits after your healthcare policy processes the claim for any impacted third molars.

The oral surgeon was in-network with the dental plan (Delta Dental NJ) in my daughter’s case, which generated significant savings through contract discounts (smaller allowed amounts).

ServiceChargeAllowedDeductiblePayment

Removal -Partially Bony (1)

$450

$309

$50

$119

Removal – Completely Bony (3)

$1,680 ($560 each)

$1,100

$0

$852

Therapeutic Drug Injection (1)

$85

$35

$0

$0 *

Deep Sedation – 15 Minutes (3)

$825 ($275 each)

$384

$0

$294

Panoramic Radiographic Image

$115

N/A *

$0

$0 **

* The therapeutic drug injection (antibiotic) was not a covered service

** The panoramic radiographic image expense exceeded the annual benefit maximum of $1,500.

All told, the dental insurance shaved the interim obligation of $2,116 down to $508, a total reduction in the amount owed of $1,608.

Final Thoughts

The out-of-pocket costs for the extraction of impacted wisdom teeth should not prove a grave concern for patients without dental insurance since the procedure is often medically necessary. Third molars that are unlikely to erupt through the gums can cause pain, infection, and lead to dangerous oral cysts.

Therefore, your health insurance should pick up most of the tab – depending on the expense sharing features embedded in your plan and your provider’s network status.

For example, my daughter had this procedure completed through an oral surgeon that was out-of-network. As a result, she had to meet a second $1,500 deductible, lost the benefit of discounted allowed charges, and owed 40% copayment on the inflated provider charges.

Uninsured patients can obtain free and or subsidized healthcare plans through Medicaid or state exchanges without a waiting period for any pre-existing conditions. However, open enrollment rules may apply.