by Vicky Monroe
I wasn’t expecting good news when it came to my medical costs because I’m a bit of a pessimist. However, I’ve gotten good estimates back from my oral surgeon and the psychologist who’s going to do my ADHD testing.
I was expecting wisdom tooth surgery to cost $4,000, the same as what my spouse paid a few years ago. However, the oral surgeon I met with this week said it would cost $2,000 even with anesthesia. And that’s before potential insurance reimbursement. I forgot my dental insurance information when I rushed out the door for the appointment. However, I’m going to call the surgeon’s next week to give them the details they need to estimate my out-of-pocket costs for the surgery.
Wisdom Tooth Surgery May Not Be Necessary
However, it’s possible that the surgery may not be necessary, so I’d love to get your opinions on this. The oral surgeon was very honest and gave me a range of treatment options I could pursue. He said that my wisdom teeth are in good enough shape to keep because they’re not impacted and I’m doing a good job keeping them clean.
The main downside of keeping them is that they’ll be much harder to remove in the future. Apparently bones in our mouth tend to get harder as we age, which makes extractions more challenging. My wisdom teeth are so far back in my mouth that filling them would be difficult if I ever got a cavity. The surgeon said that most dental offices do not fill cavities in wisdom teeth and would advise me to get them extracted instead.
After talking to my parents, I found out that both of them have been able to keep their wisdom teeth, so genetics may be on my side. However, I think I’m still leaning toward doing the surgery to prevent a more complicated, painful surgery when I’m older. I’d love to hear what you think. Have any of you kept your wisdom teeth? How have things turned out for you?
Invisalign May Not Be Medically Necessary Either
I also asked the oral surgeon about Invisalign so I could get a second opinion. I have one tooth in the bottom of my mouth that sticks out because there isn’t enough space for it. Unfortunately, that tooth broke in half because it protrudes and rubs up against my two front teeth.
Although I could get Invisalign to fix this crowding issue (which my dentist said would cost $4K to $5K), I could just get that problem tooth extracted instead. I would have an empty space in the bottom row of my teeth, but it would be a low-cost solution. I wondered if a lot of food would get stuck in the gap, but the surgeon said I should have no problem keeping it clear since it’s so close to my tongue. I’m planning to play around in Photoshop and see how I might look with this small tooth missing.
If I decide to get the tooth extracted and end up hating the results, the surgeon said I could get Invisalign after the fact to push the remaining teeth together. Doing things this way (tooth extraction then Invisalign) would enable me to keep my wisdom teeth if I wanted to. Otherwise, I’d have to get my wisdom teeth out to make enough room in my mouth for the bottom tooth that’s protruding, then proceed with the Invisalign.
I’m curious to hear what you all would do. Would you:
- Do the wisdom tooth surgery, then proceed with Invisalign.
- Keep the wisdom teeth, get the protruding bottom tooth removed, and then get Invisalign if I decide I can’t live with the gap. This is probably the cheapest option.
ADHD Testing Costs
I wasn’t having much luck finding a provider who could test me for ADHD, so I decided to ask my primary care physician for a referral. The psychologist she suggested does take my insurance, and it turns out the testing will be pretty cheap. The psychologist’s office consulted my insurance company, and it turns out I should only owe a $35 copay. I decided to go ahead and book the appointment for the beginning of June and am looking forward to getting some answers.
Hopefully once I decide what to do with my teeth, these medical issues will stop taking up so much of my brain space so I can think and write about other things! In the meantime, thanks for listening and leaving lots of helpful comments that have aided my decision-making process.
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Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.
It seems like keeping the wisdom teeth and extracting the broken tooth is a good first step – I’d be hesitant to fork over all the money for Invisalign if there is another reasonable option.
I still have a wisdom tooth, and the understanding with my dentist is that it will go when it gets a cavity. My other 2 wisdom teeth were pulled about 10 years when they started to decay.
My wisdom teeth were fully erupted and I was able to get 2 removed at my general dentist. I had the same sedation and I think it was only $650 ($500 for the sedation, $75/ea for the extractions). That dentist is apparently an outlier, though, and very few general dentists will touch wisdom teeth, no matter how uncomplicated the extraction.
I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed when I was a teenager, with only general anesthesia. It wasn’t fun but I lived. There’s always that…