In agony with your wisdom teeth but worried about how you can afford to get them removed?
You don’t have to suffer because your cash flow is a bit tight. There are alternative options to consider if you don’t have the spare funds to pay for your procedure outright.
This article is for anyone who is asking themselves the question, “I can’t afford to remove my wisdom teeth – what should I do?”.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Impacted wisdom teeth or teeth that haven’t surfaced through the gums can lead to oral health problems. The food and bacteria in your mouth can then get stuck in your gums and teeth, causing a plague build up and a number of health issues including:
· Tooth decay.
· Gum disease.
· A growth of calls known as a benign growth or a cyst.
· Overall health as the infection from your tooth could spread to other parts of your body including the brain.
Most of these conditions are cured with an antiseptic mouthwash or antibiotics, but sometimes wisdom teeth removal is recommended when the other treatments haven’t worked.
How much does it cost to remove a wisdom tooth?
The removal of wisdom teeth is a common procedure, however the price can vary. Here is a breakdown of the costs involved.
· A wisdom tooth extraction can cost between $75-and $200 per tooth. This is the cost of a simple procedure where you only need local anaesthesia to remove a fully erupted tooth with roots. This means that if you need all four wisdom teeth removed, this could cost you up to $800.
· To remove an impacted wisdom tooth using local anaesthesia, the price is approximately $225-$600 per tooth. If all four of your wisdom teeth are impacted you could face a bill of up to $2400. Removing a partially erupted tooth costs less than a fully impacted tooth is that the tooth can become encased in the jaw bone, making it a trickier procedure.
· Nitrous oxide is sometimes used to relax a patient before the procedure. This can cost between $40-and $100.
· General anaesthetic is used to put a patient in a sleep-induced state and costs $250-$800.
· Dental x-rays typically cost $150 per x-ray.
· You may need a follow up exam or appointment which costs an average of $100.
How to pay for your wisdom teeth to be removed
Not everyone can afford dental care, so what options do you have?
Dental insurance provides good value for money by lowering the cost of dental care that you would otherwise have to pay on your own. Most policies will require a monthly payment in the same way that car insurance works.
If the procedure is considered a medical necessity, many dental insurance plans will cover up to 50% of the procedure or a maximum of $1,000–$1,500 if you have a valid policy. Always check with your dental and health insurance policies to see what is covered under your policy before committing to the surgery.
If you can’t afford to pay for the procedure outright and your insurance won’t cover the treatment, the first thing to do is speak to your dental clinic to see if they offer a payment plan option.
So, how does a dentist payment plan work?
With a dental payment plan, you pay a regular monthly amount instead of settling the bill in full after a treatment. This can be an effective way to spread the cost of your treatment over a period of time and means that you’ll know in advance how much it will cost.
It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the monthly fee before committing to a payment plan as not meeting the repayments could cause additional charges and go on your credit record as a missed payment.
Medical credit card
Medical credit cards are used to pay for healthcare procedures carried out by healthcare professionals such as dentists and doctors.
They work in the same way as normal credit cards in that you are borrowing money to pay for something, in this case a treatment or procedure. Make sure you check the key terms including the interest rate and interest period with your healthcare provider before applying for a medical credit card.
Sometimes personal loans can be a better option than dental financing options if you need to borrow money to pay for wisdom tooth extraction.
If you’ve looked into dental plan financing but found that interest rates are lower with a personal loan then this may be the way to go.
Search for a loan with a low interest rate. Ideally you will be able to pay off the loan in full during the interest free period to avoid paying interest.
The 50/30/20 personal budgeting formula is a simple yet effective method to help you manage and pay off debt effectively.
Divide your monthly income into the following three categories:
50% needs – essentials such as your mortgage, rent, groceries, bills and insurance.
30% wants – this covers everything that isn’t essential such as beauty products, eating out and any subscriptions you sign up to.
20% savings or paying off debt – start saving an emergency fund or pay off any medical credit card bills or loans.
Is there an alternative to removing wisdom teeth?
It’s worth remembering that wisdom teeth don’t usually need to be removed if they are not causing you any problems.
A coronectomy is a dental procedure used in place of wisdom tooth removal. It’s a different type of procedure that is only done if certain criteria are met. A coronectomy removes the crown or visible parts of the tooth, leaving the roots in place, unlike the removal of a wisdom tooth that removes the entire tooth. A coronectomy is still a dental procedure that will cost money, on average around $600, so it should only be considered if a medical professional advises that it might be more effective than a tooth extraction.
Before the procedure you are given an injection into the gum surrounding the wisdom tooth, similar to when you have a filling. The local anaesthetic will numb the area after a couple of minutes which means that you will feel no pain during the procedure. You are likely to experience pain for the first 48 hours afterwards, although your mouth may well be sore for up to a week.
Can you self remove wisdom teeth?
You should never attempt to remove your wisdom teeth because it can result in further complications. This procedure should only be taken out by a dentist or specialist surgeon.
Pain may occur when the impacted wisdom tooth touches a major nerve. While waiting for the removal of your wisdom teeth, there are things you can do in the meantime to help you manage the pain. After your wisdom tooth has been extracted, it’s possible that nerves in that area become bruised, causing a numb or tingling sensation that can give you a lack of feeling in your mouth. This will usually heal on its own.
· Use numbing gel – A dental numbing gel is used to numb feelings in the gums and dull any pain that you may be experiencing. Dental gels can be bought over the counter and contain an ingredient called benzocaine. Most gels are applied directly to the gums, however it’s important to read the instructions before using them.
· Take Ibuprofen – Ibuprofen is a pain relief medication that is used to reduce inflammation. It’s important to read leaflet in the packet to find out the recommended dose to help relieve discomfort.
· Apply an ice pack – ice is a great way to reduce inflammation and can relieve pain. Hold an ice pack against your jaw for up to 15 minutes before taking a break and re-applying if necessary.
· Try a salt water rinse – salt water has natural disinfectant properties, which can help treat infection and reduce discomfort. Swirl salt water around your mouth two to three times a day for several minutes before spitting it out.
· Use a home remedy – tea bags and onions contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and fight infection. To use onions, simply cut off a piece and chew it on the side of the mouth where you are experiencing pain. To use tea bags, make a cup of tea and place it in the fridge until cold. Take the chilled tea bag out and place it inside your mouth where the pain is.
Finances and your health
Whilst most people know that health is more important than wealth, it can be stressful wondering how you will pay for treatment that you need but can’t afford.
There are always options available for low income individuals and people who simply don’t have any spare money.
Hopefully this article will put your mind to rest and reassure you that there’s always a way to finance treatment when it comes to health.
To help people budget for unexpected costs such as treatments and procedures, we provide tips and advice on how to save money on our personal finance blog.