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Keeping Your Smile Healthy With Wisdom Tooth Extractions

At our Houston Area dental office, we do our best to avoid the need to remove your natural teeth because we believe a healthy, happy smile is worth preserving. But in some situations, we may have little choice but to remove a tooth in order to protect the rest. This is often the case with the wisdom teeth. The good news is that our skilled, compassionate team can walk you through the whole process for smooth, low-stress wisdom tooth extractions in Houston, TX.

Why Choose Mark Gray, DDS Cosmetic and Family Dentistry for Wisdom Tooth Extractions?


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What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Before oral hygiene became a priority, people used to lose their adult teeth at an earlier age. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, would grow in between ages 16 and 22 to compensate for those gaps. Nowadays, most people retain their natural teeth for longer and do not need these teeth in order to function in daily tasks.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

There are several different reasons why extracting your wisdom teeth may be beneficial, including the following:

  • You don’t have sufficient room in your mouth for these extra teeth, meaning that your teeth will become overcrowded and misaligned without extraction.
  • They are growing in at a drastic, unsafe angle (called impaction) and could cause an infection if left under the gum surface.

At your routine dental checkups, one of our experienced, skilled dentists will review your X-rays and look for any problems that the naked eye can’t see. If they identify one of these scenarios with your wisdom teeth, they will recommend extraction.

What Happens During a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

How we approach a wisdom tooth extraction depends on several factors, such as how many need to be removed, how deep they are in your jaw, and more. For wisdom teeth that have already erupted, we may be able to simply use dental pliers to pull them out. Other times, we must break the tooth into smaller pieces or go further into the gums to remove them. No matter how we extract your wisdom teeth, you can rest assured that you will feel comfortable during the entire procedure.

lady smiling with tooth

What Should I Do After the Tooth Extraction Procedure to Facilitate Healing?

As with any surgical procedure, you need to take special care of yourself after wisdom teeth removal. Here are some of the things you must do to ensure that you heal properly and avoid infection:

  • Refrain from rigorous activities for a few days.
  • Keep the gauze in place for an hour. Replace as needed until the bleeding stops, but allow a clot to form at the extraction site to protect the vulnerable tissue and nerves from bacteria.
  • Avoid using a straw. The sucking motion could dislodge the clot and cause a dry socket, a painful infection.
  • Eat soft foods. Slowly work your way back up to harder foods, but stay away from crunchy foods like chips for a while.
  • Rinse the area with warm saltwater to keep it clean. You can brush your other teeth, but avoid the extraction site.

Understanding the Cost of Wisdom Tooth Extractions

Even though wisdom tooth extraction is a procedure that many people need to have performed at some point in their lives, the cost isn’t always the same. But don’t worry; you won’t have to undergo the procedure without knowing how much you’ll likely need to pay. Creating an estimate of the overall cost of your wisdom tooth extraction will be an important part of your initial visit. Below is a brief look at some of the factors that can affect the price.

Factors That Can Impact the Cost of Wisdom Tooth Extractions

First of all, there’s the question of how many teeth need to be removed. Not everybody has a complete set of four wisdom teeth; sometimes only one, two, or three teeth need to be removed. The final cost will reflect how many teeth were involved with the procedure.

The state of the teeth in question matters as well. Oftentimes wisdom teeth become impacted and can only be removed surgically. You can usually expect a surgical extraction to have a higher price than a simple one.

And of course, we may need to factor in the cost of sedation dentistry. It’s not always necessary, but some patients do benefit from using oral conscious sedation or nitrous oxide sedation to make wisdom tooth extraction less stressful. If you let us know that you’re interested in having sedation dentistry performed, we can give you information about the costs involved.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Wisdom Tooth Extractions?

Dental insurance can often make paying for all kinds of treatments easier. That being said, there are many different insurance companies out there, and the plans they offer aren’t all exactly the same. Patients who are planning on having wisdom teeth extracted should check their plans to see if it offers any coverage for the procedure.

Most insurance plans do at least partially cover wisdom teeth removal. Coverage often falls between 50% and 80%; the exact percentage may vary depending on the specifics of the extraction. Remember, many insurance companies require you to meet a deductible before they pay for any treatments. Also, you should be aware of any limits on how much your plan is willing to pay in a given year.

How to Make Wisdom Tooth Extractions Affordable

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the cost of a procedure that you’ve wished you could pay for it in smaller chunks? Thanks to financing, this is very much an option. With our team’s help, you can apply for a CareCredit financing plan that matches your budget, allowing you to pay for your care at a rate that works for you. CareCredit can be a great choice for patients without insurance as well as those who don’t have adequate coverage for the procedure they need.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction FAQs

If you need wisdom tooth extractions in Houston, it’s normal to have some concerns about the road ahead. Don’t worry, because we will explain everything during your consultation to ease any apprehensions. While you wait for your appointment, here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about wisdom tooth removal.

Whether a simple or surgical extraction, your dentist in Houston will keep your comfort as their priority. A local numbing agent or sedative is used to block any pain. You may feel some pressure, but you won’t have any outright pain. After the effects of any numbing agents or sedatives dissipate, it’s normal for your mouth to be tender for a few days. You can manage it using an OTC pain reliever and applying a cold compress. It’s best to eat soft foods until your discomfort subsides. Your dentist will review any additional aftercare instructions before you head home to keep you comfortable and promote a quick recovery, like not smoking or using a straw. It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions to prevent a painful condition called dry socket.

There’s no flat fee for wisdom tooth extractions because many factors affect the cost, like dental insurance. Your dental insurance can cover your initial consultation and any imaging. If your wisdom tooth extractions are medically necessary, you can use your coverage to offset the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket. Typically, insurance will pay about 50% of the cost after meeting your annual deductible. A number of our dental team will work on your behalf with your dental insurance to maximize your benefits to lower the amount you will have to pay out-of-pocket. They will also discuss your payment options for any remaining balance, like monthly installments. Based on your credit approval, you can enjoy little or no interest in financing through a third-party company, like CareCredit. They will help you find the financial solutions you need to keep your extractions within your budget.

No, not everyone has wisdom teeth. While most people have 4, 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom. It’s not unusual to only have 1 set. Some people only have 3 or none at all. It’s believed, as we continue to evolve, wisdom teeth may no longer form because humans no longer need them to grind and chew foods. Not to mention, human jaws continue to narrow.

The process varies for everyone; however, you can expect it to take 15 to 20 minutes to remove a wisdom tooth. If all 4 are being extracted, the procedure will take about 90 minutes. Every situation differs. Your dentist will explain exactly how long your procedure will take during your consultation. Many factors can affect the duration, like the complexity of your case and if sedation is used.

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