Wisdom teeth have a bad reputation. They’re prone to problems, and removing them is often considered a painful procedure. Fortunately, modern dental techniques have made removal easier and less painful than ever before. So you won’t experience too much pain in your mouth, but you also want to avoid pain in the wallet.
If you have one or more wisdom teeth that need removal, you’re probably wondering about the potential costs. Today, we’ll take a look at wisdom teeth removal costs in the UK, including what factors can raise or lower the amount you need to pay.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost – NHS & Private
Both the NHS and private dental practices can remove wisdom teeth as needed. Any qualified dentist can safely handle the procedure, but the provider you choose can affect costs and type of care. Here’s a rundown of wisdom teeth removal costs in the UK:
If you use the NHS, your wisdom tooth removal cost is £62.10 in England. It’s categorised as a band 2 procedure. Wisdom tooth removal is one of the NHS’s most commonly performed procedures.
Outside of England, costs vary slightly. Removal costs £46 in Wales. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, prices vary (although they’re typically within the same general range).
Note that the price covers the entire procedure, regardless of how many teeth need to be removed. Removing one wisdom tooth costs the same as removing all four. However, this only applies to teeth removed in a single procedure. If you need different teeth removed over a longer time, you’ll pay per procedure.
Finally, the NHS only covers wisdom teeth extraction cost when a medical issue is involved. For example, if only one of your teeth requires removal, you can’t have the others pulled as well without a legitimate need.
NHS Hospital Procedures
All prices above reflect the prices for simple, routine extractions. More complicated procedures can require a hospital visit. Examples include wisdom teeth that have cracked/splintered or wisdom teeth that have been damaged in an accident. If you need emergency wisdom tooth treatment in a hospital, the NHS covers the entire procedure.
You can also have wisdom teeth removed at a private dental practice. People often choose a private practice if they prefer an increased level of care or are ineligible for NHS treatment.
Generally, private wisdom tooth removal cost is more expensive than NHS treatment. A simple removal averages between £100-£250. However, additional charges can also apply. For example, extractions in the lower jaw are typically more complicated than ones in the upper jaw, so they usually cost more. Private hospital care is also on the more expensive side, ranging between £1000 to £2000.
The Difference between Private and NHS Care
The actual procedure is the same regardless of whether it’s performed by an NHS or private dentist. You’ll experience the same recovery time, pain level, and other medical factors.
Basically, with private care, you’re paying extra for a more comfortable experience. You’ll have more scheduling options, and the process will likely feel less rushed than NHS care.
Ultimately, you’ll want to consider both your personal treatment preferences and your budget before deciding between private treatment or the NHS.
Why Do You Need to Remove a Wisdom Tooth?
Wisdom teeth don’t always need removal. For some people, their wisdom teeth erupt correctly and don’t negatively impact their overall dental health. However, that’s not the case for everyone. Dentists typically recommend removing wisdom teeth if they’re currently causing health problems or are likely to cause problems in the future.
Here’s a rundown of common reasons why your wisdom teeth might need extraction:
Infection and Decay
Infection develops when bacteria reach the inner pulp of your tooth. Unfortunately, because wisdom teeth are more difficult to clean compared to the rest of your teeth, they’re more prone to infection.
However, removal is usually the last resort. As long as the infection is discovered early, the problem is often treatable with a filling, root canal, or other procedure.
Note that decay spreads from a tooth to its neighbours. If treatment can’t control decay in one tooth, extraction is often the best way to prevent additional problems.
Many people don’t have room in their mouth for wisdom teeth. When they erupt through the gum line, they end up pushing existing teeth out of place and causing other problems.
There are two types of wisdom tooth impaction:
- Full impaction – The tooth can’t emerge correctly at all and is completely covered by the gums
- Partial impaction – Only a portion of the tooth has broken through the gumline
Impacted wisdom teeth are often quite painful. Furthermore, if left untreated, they can alter the placement of surrounding teeth.
Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease. Left untreated, it erodes soft tissue and gums, which results in loose teeth or teeth that simply fall out.
If periodontitis is discovered early, a deep cleaning process can often repair existing damage and prevent future tooth loss. However, if the tooth is already loose, removal is usually the healthier alternative, as loose teeth are more susceptible to disease.
In some cases, wisdom tooth removal is necessary to create space for orthodontics or other teeth-straightening methods. While this isn’t usually an issue for teenagers, it can be a concern for adults, even if their wisdom teeth have emerged correctly.
When Should You See a Dentist?
Ideally, you want to prevent wisdom tooth problems before they occur. Unfortunately, you can’t see wisdom teeth until they emerge. So regular dental checkups are the best way to avoid potential issues.
Remember, wisdom teeth typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. It’s best to visit your dentist every six months during those years. He or she will typically x-ray your mouth and jaw to determine the position of your wisdom teeth.
Additionally, you’ll want to visit your dentist if you experience unexplained jaw or face pain. In some cases, the pain might localise towards the back of your mouth, but wisdom teeth can also cause pain throughout the side of your face or neck.
Alternatives to Wisdom Tooth Removal
As discussed above, wisdom tooth removal is usually the last resort. In many cases, simple treatments can correct the problem. Here are the most common alternatives to wisdom tooth removal:
If you have an infected wisdom tooth, removal isn’t always necessary. In many cases, a root canal can treat the infection while leaving the tooth in place.
With a root canal, the dentist makes a small hole in the tooth enamel to reach the inner pulp chamber. He uses a special tool to extract all of the infected pulp, which is replaced by a gum-like dental substance. The hole is then resealed.
Root canals aren’t nearly as painful as their reputation often suggests. Plus, they stop the spread of disease from the infected tooth to its neighbours and let you retain your original smile.
A coronectomy is a procedure where the crown of your tooth is removed and replaced with an artificial component. However, the roots are left in place. It’s often preferred to complete removal because it has a decreased risk of nerve damage.
The Wisdom Tooth Removal Process
When alternative procedures aren’t suitable, extraction is necessary. Fortunately, the process is usually relatively simple and straightforward.
In most cases, you’ll get a local anaesthetic to numb the pain. You might also get a dental sedative, which won’t render you wholly unconscious but will help you to stay relaxed and comfortable during the procedure.
If the wisdom tooth has emerged completely, your dentist can use special tools to loosen the muscle fibres that hold it in place. This type of removal is typically quick and easy.
However, most removals involve impacted teeth that have either partially emerged or remain entirely below the gumline. In these situations, the surgeon will make an incision in the gumline. Additionally, he might need to break the tooth into several pieces in order to remove it from the jaw.
Options for Replacing Extracted Wisdom Teeth
Once the tooth is removed, what happens next?
Many wisdom teeth need no replacement. After all, the purpose of removing them was to create more room in your mouth for the rest of your teeth. The socket that held the wisdom teeth will heal and act as part of your gums.
However, sometimes you might need a replacement. Implants are the most common type of tooth replacement. They’re made from a ceramic material that looks and feels similar to real teeth. Implants are permanent replacements and, once installed, you can treat them just like the rest of your teeth.
A bridge is another potential option. It’s an appliance that replaces a missing tooth by permanently attaching to two existing teeth (forming a “bridge” between them). However, because it connects between two healthy teeth, it doesn’t work when replacing the last two teeth in your mouth.
If your wisdom teeth need removal, you can rest easy knowing the procedure is often easier and less expensive than you probably realised. Don’t let a misunderstanding of wisdom teeth removal costs in the UK prevent you from the treatment you deserve.
Even though you might experience some minor discomfort in the few days after the procedure, wisdom tooth removal is often an excellent way to improve your dental health for life.