Wisdom teeth are a little bit of a mystery. They are a vestigial tooth form a time when our craniums were smaller and our skulls bigger, but now that the human head has shrunk significantly and has become less wide, these teeth still tend to grow, and for no apparent reason. They can cause lots of problems, though, as most people’s heads are too small to house their wisdom teeth, causing problems like impaction of the teeth, ruining of nearby teeth from pressure, and other such problems. This is why the tooth that is most frequently pulled is the wisdom tooth.
Impacted wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth are highly abnormal, meaning that they can come in non-standard sizes, shapes and orientations. One frequent problem is when wisdom teeth, because of lack of space and improper orientation, start to grow not upwards like regular teeth, but sideways, into the other teeth. When this happens, all of your teeth get pushed together, and become crowded, breaking and chipping teeth, as well as creating orthodontic issues that can lead to TMJ and other serious problems.
Wisdom teeth, although the most frequently extracted tooth (by far), are also one of the teeth that are hardest to extract. This is due to their position behind all of the other teeth, making them hard to get to, and because of their abnormal nature. Some have many roots (up to 6 or 7 even), and ones that are spindly and winding, and they may be close to important nerves as well, making them very difficult to extract. An x-ray and frequently a CT scan is necessary before extracting a wisdom tooth. Most wisdom teeth can be extracted using standard methods, but sometimes surgical intervention is necessary, as the tooth can be so entangled in soft tissues, other teeth and even the dental nerve.
Cost of an extraction
Because of the irregularity of wisdom teeth and their positioning, pricing for an extraction can vary significantly. Usually, dental clinics with any business sense will have several levels of pricing. A completely erupted wisdom tooth that is easy to extract and is fairly straightforward will constitute the cheapest bracket, while subsequently harder and harder extractions will comprise higher and higher price brackets. Usually, surgical extractions can cost up to two or three times the price of a regular extraction, especially if the operation has to be done while the patient is asleep. Always make sure that you understand which price bracket your extraction is in, and why it is in that bracket before agreeing to undergo surgery.