Wisdom Teeth Removal: Surgery or the chair? - Dental Guide Australia

At some point in our lives, many Australians will have a date with destiny: Dealing with a decision to remove our wisdom teeth. While for most of us the decision can be relatively simple, deciding on the actual procedure (in-chair versus surgical) may be a major challenge for some.

There is no “one size fits all” check list that will help determine which route you should take to have your wisdom teeth removed.

The final decision will rest on individual circumstances and preferences.

Here are a few elements that go into the decision-making process. You’ll need to measure each of them against your individual situation to help you make a decision that’s right for you.

Should You Dare The Chair?

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As mentioned earlier, which choice you make will largely depend upon your individual circumstances, the state of your general health and the condition of your wisdom teeth when you first walked into the dentist’s office:

Do you have a dental phobia?

If you are overly scared in a dental chair, then perhaps having your wisdom teeth removed in one may be a bad idea.

True, you’ll probably have local anaesthetic (LA) to give you moral (and physical!) support, but that may not be enough to get you through the entire procedure. Surgery, under general anaesthetic (GA) may be what you want!

Do you have pre determined health issues?

Some patients with conditions like high-blood pressure or heart arrhythmia may run higher risks when undergoing some surgical procedures under general anaesthetic. When deciding on which route to take, in-chair or surgical, make sure you not only consult with your physician about the suitability of a particular procedure, but also advise your dentist/dental surgeon of your health condition. If the risks are high for you then the surgeon may recommend an in-chair procedure over surgical extraction.

Are you cost conscious?

For some individuals, cost will be a deciding factor when it comes to an in-chair versus surgical procedure. A simple in-chair wisdom tooth removal will set you back between $225 and $250, while surgical removal could cost up to $375 or more, with a maximum cost for 4 surgical removals reaching up to $970. (visit this page for more wisdom teeth removal cost figures)

Many surgical procedures can be conducted under LA at dental clinics. However, where a patient has to be sedated or operated under GA, the procedure may need to be conducted at a designate hospital. Additional charges, including those of an Anaesthetists, may therefore need to be factored into your decision.

Cost-related decisions, whether it’s for an in-chair or surgical procedure, may also be influenced by the nature and type of private health insurance coverage (or lack thereof!) that you carry.​

What is the state of your surrounding teeth, gums and jaw bone structure?

For most patients, an in-chair procedure will likely be the obvious choice. However, patients with major issues with adjacent teeth, or where the wisdom tooth are “crowded” or “impacted”, or where they suffer with bone density issues, a surgical extraction may be the only available option.


The Bottom line

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The best person to determine whether an in-chair extraction is the best for you, or whether you should undergo surgery, is your dentist.

In most cases he/she will recommend which route you should take when having your wisdom tooth removed.

If the recommendation is for an in-chair removal, then it usually means the procedure will be straightforward. You should rest easy!

A surgical removal however does not always spell trouble. While dentists will often recommend that route when they foresee some complications, in the hands of an experienced and trained team of specialists, it doesn’t make the procedure riskier than the dozens they perform each day.

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