General Question

nikipedia's avatar

Is a bone graft necessary following wisdom tooth extraction?

Asked by nikipedia (27454points) September 8th, 2009

I went to a new dentist today and learned that I have a wisdom tooth coming in with a partial soft tissue impaction. The dental assistant told me that with my insurance, it would be $50 to remove the tooth and $500 for a bone graft to cover the space. She was very insistent that I needed the bone graft and reluctant to answer questions about it, so I ended up asking for a referral to an oral surgeon.

I’ve never heard of this before. Is the bone graft necessary, or are these folks trying to make $500?

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16 Answers

Judi's avatar

It probably has something to do with your specific case, but if the dentist didn’t explain it to your satisfaction you have every right to get a second opinion.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I’ve had wisdom teeth pulled & never no bone grafts. Sounds like they’re trying to pay for their boat!

Facade's avatar

I didn’t have bone grafts either. Never even heard of them.

jrpowell's avatar

They just yanked all four of mine. I paid $960 (no insurance) for it. And $300 of that was for being put under. I didn’t need a bone graft. It could be specific to your case. But I would get a second opinion.

Darwin's avatar

I have no idea if a bone graft is necessary. I didn’t get any when all four of my wisdom teeth became impacted and infected and were removed surgically. I was told that the holes in my jaw would gradually fill in over time, and they did.

However, apparently an impacted wisdom tooth can also cause severe bone loss behind the second molar. This can require a bone graft when the wisdom tooth is removed or you risk having problems with the next molar. It could be that in your case this is what has happened. This is another dentist’s explanation.

I know that when my dog had to have one of her fangs removed they did a bone graft also, because the hole would have left the jaw quite weak for a long time.

Certainly, if your dentist cannot explain things to you in a way you can understand you should get a second opinion and hopefully a clearer explanation.

nikipedia's avatar

@johnpowell: Damn, I wish I had your dentist. The dental assistant said it would be $2000 if they had to put me under. And I have insurance.

galileogirl's avatar

I’ve never heard of a wisdom tooth removal for $50 except for the Dogpatch barber. When my daughter had hers out it was $1250 each but there was no pain or swelling and she slept through it. Of course the oral surgeon didn’t use a pair of Sears pliers so there was no need of a bone graft (exactly where does the graft come from and is it bone or some kind of plastic or metal? weird)

casheroo's avatar

@johnpowell Jealous! Mine was $1300 with no insurance, only had three taken out, and was put under. It would have been $1400 with insurance, plus whatever my insurance paid out.

I would definitely see an oral surgeon. All three of my teeth were impacted, and yeah it took the holes a while to close (over a year) but I didn’t need any grafts. I’d get another opinion.

trailsillustrated's avatar

a dental assistant should not be conveying to you anything about your treatment plan except aftercare, how to take your pain meds, etc., and if she doubles as the front office then maybe stuff about your account. The dentist should be discussing the bone graft with you. In many cases, a bone graft is neccessary because you often have to remove bone to get an impacted tooth out. Have an oral surgeon do this, don’t go to a gp for molar extractions, people!

Darwin's avatar

My daughter’s four wisdom teeth were removed by an oral surgeon for $800 (no insurance). They used Novocaine and nitrous oxide and pulled the teeth. She had no bone graft done. Her teeth were not yet impacted but it was clear there would be no space for them when they did come in.

I don’t know what it cost to have my four wisdom teeth removed because my mom paid for it. However, I, too, went to an oral surgeon. He used Sodium Pentothal on me (aka “twilight sedation”) but did not “pull” the teeth. Instead, to save bone, he ground the teeth up into little pieces and suctioned them out.

Here is a full explanation of dental bone grafting, why it is done, why some dentists may want to do it when it may not be essential, and where the bone comes from.

tocutetolive90's avatar

Ya I got my wisdom teeth removed and gum’s just filled in the sockets of where they came out once the stitches fell out. no bone graft

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I also had all four of my wisdom teeth out without any mention of a bone graft.

Good for you for getting a second opinion!

nikipedia's avatar

Just got back from the oral surgeon. No bone graft necessary. Novocain is wearing off. Waiting for Vicodin to kick in. Ow.

Facade's avatar

Make sure you ice yourself! It’s more crucial than one might think.

nc1111's avatar

are there any supplements that are good for bone strength?

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