Does Medicaid Cover Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wondering, does Medicaid cover wisdom teeth removal? Coverage depends on your state and age, with varying policies nationwide.

This guide dives into Medicaid’s dental benefits for wisdom teeth extraction, including factors that influence eligibility and coverage scope. We’ll help you navigate through this complex topic without overwhelming you with too many details upfront.


Key Takeaways


  • The type of wisdom teeth impaction, such as bony or soft tissue impaction, influences Medicaid coverage, with some types considered medically necessary and therefore covered.


  • While Medicaid can help mitigate costs, wisdom teeth removal expenses vary depending on factors like geographic location, level of impaction, dental professional’s expertise, and type of extraction.

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Medicaid and Wisdom Teeth Removal: The Basics

Medicaid serves as a critical resource, offering dental care, including wisdom tooth extraction, for those who might not be able to afford it otherwise. The coverage provided by Medicaid for wisdom teeth removal varies.

For adults, some states may cover non-emergency dental benefits, such as wisdom teeth extractions. On the other hand, children covered by CHIP may receive coverage for this as a preventative procedure.

Wisdom teeth, or the last teeth to grow in your mouth, usually make their appearance between the ages of 17 and 25. However, not everyone has enough space in their mouth for these teeth. This lack of space can cause the teeth to grow in abnormal positions or become impacted, leading to infections, pain, or other complications.


Medicaid’s dental benefits for wisdom teeth removal can include coverage for X-rays, sedation, and necessary medications. Remember, coverage eligibility can fluctuate based on age and unique state regulations.


Age Restrictions

So, who exactly benefits from Medicaid’s coverage for wisdom teeth removal? The answer to that question depends on age. Wisdom teeth are considered permanent teeth, and as such, Medicaid’s coverage for their removal may be restricted to children or adults with specific conditions.

The eligibility criteria for adults seeking wisdom tooth extractions through Medicaid are more stringent. In some cases, the discomfort may be due to an emergency impaction of the wisdom tooth. Alternatively, some states may provide non-emergency dental benefits as a preventive measure.

On the other hand, children covered by CHIP may have it covered as a preventive procedure. The age range for eligibility varies, and recent changes indicate that wisdom teeth extraction is covered for children and young adult enrollees under the age of 21 under Medicaid. However, the extent to which Medicaid covers wisdom teeth removal can differ significantly depending on the state.


State Differences


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The coverage Medicaid provides for wisdom teeth removal varies as widely as the country itself.

While all child enrollees receive dental services as part of a comprehensive set of benefits, 39 states and Washington, DC provide coverage beyond emergency dental services for adults, with certain limitations.

Does Medicaid cover wisdom teeth removal for adults? It depends on the state and specific circumstances.



Of course, there are states where Medicaid may not offer required dental benefits, especially for adults, and may only include wisdom teeth removal in case of an emergency. Individuals should confirm their state’s Medicaid program specifics regarding coverage for wisdom teeth removal.

Types of Wisdom Teeth Impaction and Medicaid Coverage

Wisdom teeth impaction is a common condition that may necessitate extraction. An impacted wisdom tooth is one that has not fully emerged through the gums and is stuck in the jawbone. This condition can lead to severe pain and infections. Thankfully, Medicaid considers the extraction of bone-impacted wisdom teeth medically necessary, and hence, covers it.

It’s worth noting, however, that not all wisdom teeth impactions are alike. There are different types of wisdom teeth impactions, and Medicaid coverage for these can vary depending on the type and the specific state regulations.


Bony Impaction

Bony wisdom teeth impaction occurs when a wisdom tooth is fully or partially embedded in the jawbone. This condition requires advanced surgical methods for extraction and is typically treated through surgical extraction. Symptoms may include:


  • red or swollen gums
  • tenderness or bleeding of the gums
  • jaw pain
  • swelling around the jaw
  • bad breath
  • an unpleasant taste in the mouth


The removal of a bony impacted wisdom tooth, also known as tooth removal, is considered medically necessary due to the potential for developing pathologies such as cysts or tumors, dental caries, root resorption, periodontal disease, and complications like pathological fracture. It can also prevent infection, tooth decay, and gum disease.


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In diagnosing bony impaction, a dentist or oral surgeon may use X-rays to get a clear view of the teeth and jawbone to determine if a wisdom tooth is impacted.


Soft Tissue Impaction

On the other hand, soft tissue impaction occurs when a wisdom tooth has emerged from the jawbone but has not yet penetrated the fibrous gum. Coverage for this type of impaction is not as straightforward as it is for bony impaction.

Medicaid coverage for soft tissue impaction varies by state due to the lack of mandate for dental services in state Medicaid plans, resulting in diverse coverage policies.

Certain states, such as:


  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho


are known for providing Medicaid coverage for soft tissue impaction. However, Medicaid may not cover soft tissue impaction in some states due to the fact that dental services are not always included in Medicaid coverage, and coverage for impacted teeth can vary by state.

Costs Associated with Wisdom Teeth Removal

Although Medicaid offsets a large part of the expense, keep in mind that wisdom teeth removal isn’t cost-free. The wisdom teeth removal cost is influenced by factors such as geographic location, the level of expertise of the dental professional, and the complexity of the extraction procedure. The typical cost for routine extraction of wisdom teeth can range from $70 to $200.


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Yet, the extraction cost for impacted wisdom teeth can swing dramatically, potentially climbing as high as $1,000, based on the impaction type. Let’s delve into a detailed breakdown of the factors affecting the cost and Medicaid’s dental caps.


Factors Affecting Cost

The cost of wisdom teeth removal is not a flat rate. It can be influenced by several factors. One of these factors is dental coverage, which can cover a portion of the cost, usually a percentage of the allowed amount.

Another significant factor is the level of impaction. For a wisdom tooth with a full bony impaction, the cost can range from $350 to $1,100, with an average of around $550. For a partially bony, impacted wisdom tooth, the average cost is around $450, with a range of $300 to $950.

The method of extraction and the number of teeth being removed at once also plays a role in the total cost.


Medicaid Dental Caps

Medicaid dental caps refer to the coverage provided by state Medicaid programs for most dental services for Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries under the age of 21. However, for adults (21 years and older), Medicaid may not cover certain services such as:


  • bridges
  • crowns
  • implants
  • orthodontics


Cap amounts for Medicaid dental services can differ considerably from one state to another. Some state Medicaid programs may set an annual cap of $1,000 per beneficiary, while others may provide up to $2,000 for essential or emergency dental coverage.

However, these dental caps can potentially limit the coverage for wisdom teeth removal, restricting services to certain types of emergency situations or medically necessary conditions.

The varying cap amounts, ranging from $500 to $1,800 in some states, may restrict the ability to fully cover the costs of wisdom teeth removal procedures.

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Other Dental Services Covered by Medicaid

In addition to wisdom teeth removal, Medicaid provides coverage for a wide range of dental services. For children, these services include:


  • Regular dental cleanings and exams
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Root canals
  • Teeth removal
  • Treatment of tooth infections
  • Restoration of decayed teeth
  • Other procedures aimed at maintaining oral health.


Coverage for adults fluctuates by state, but most states provide at least emergency dental services, including those related to a dental emergency. For example, in states like Texas, Medicaid may cover emergency-only dental care, which could include procedures like wisdom teeth extractions in emergency situations.


Children’s Dental Care

For children, Medicaid cover provides coverage for the following preventive services:


  • Screenings
  • Relief of pain and infections
  • Restoration of teeth
  • Maintenance of dental health for individuals under the age of 18.


Routine cleanings under Medicaid for children typically include:


  • Exam cleaning
  • Fluoride treatment every six (6) months
  • X-rays
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Root canals
  • Teeth removal
  • Other treatments


The coverage for wisdom teeth extraction for children under the age of 18 varies by state, but some state Medicaid plans may provide this coverage.


Adult Dental Care

The availability of Medicaid-sponsored adult dental health services varies by state. In less than half of all states, non-emergency diagnostics, screenings, and maintenance are provided.


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However, DC Medicaid offers comprehensive dental care for adults, and in addition to DC, 39 states provide coverage beyond emergency dental services for adults under Medicaid.

Preventive dental services like teeth cleaning are also covered for adults under Medicaid.

Finding a Dentist Who Accepts Medicaid

After you’ve familiarized yourself with your coverage, your subsequent task is to locate a dentist who takes Medicaid. This task can be accomplished by using online directories or by contacting Medicaid agencies.

Securing a dentist who accepts Medicaid might prove challenging due to scheduling difficulties, budget-induced service limitations, and a general scarcity of Medicaid-accepting dental providers, yet it’s not an insurmountable task.


Using Online Directories

Online directories such as the DentaQuest Online Provider Directory or the Find a Dentist directory can be invaluable resources to locate dentists who accept Medicaid. These directories usually allow you to search by zip code, making it quick and simple to find a dentist in your local area.

Furthermore, patients also have the option to leave reviews or rate dentists on online directories, making it easier for you to choose a trusted dentist.


Contacting Medicaid Agencies

Contacting Medicaid agencies is another effective way to find dentists who accept Medicaid. You can apply for Medicaid either through the Health Insurance Marketplace or by directly contacting your state Medicaid agency.

The contact information for Medicaid agencies in each state can be found on the website. When inquiring with Medicaid agencies about wisdom teeth removal, it is important to ask about:


  • Coverage
  • Required documentation
  • Limitations
  • Potential out-of-pocket expenses
  • Assistance in finding a dentist or oral surgeon who accepts Medicaid.

Preparing for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Preparation for wisdom teeth removal involves more than just grasping your coverage; it’s essential to know if your insurance plan will cover wisdom teeth removal. It involves understanding what happens during the procedure and what care is needed after the procedure.


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The wisdom teeth removal procedure typically takes 45 minutes to an hour, and the three main types of anesthesia commonly used are local anesthesia, IV sedation, and general anesthesia.

Potential risks or complications associated with wisdom teeth removal include dry socket, infection, swelling, bleeding, numbness or damage to nearby teeth, and opioid abuse.


Understanding the Procedure

Grasping what the procedure entails can help ease any apprehensions you might harbor. Your dentist or oral surgeon will typically use one of three types of anesthesia: local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of your case.

Instruments used during the procedure may include:


  • Scissors
  • Forceps
  • Elevators
  • Bone ronguer and file
  • Cotton rolls
  • Topical numbing agents
  • Gauze
  • Anesthesia needles
  • Syringes
  • Dental mirrors
  • Explorers
  • Extraction forceps
  • Scalpels
  • Surgical bars
  • Needle holders
  • Sutures


Post-Operative Care

Post-operative care is critical to a smooth recovery and to prevent complications. The recovery period after wisdom teeth removal usually lasts between 3 days and 2 weeks. It may take up to 2 weeks for complete healing and recovery from the surgery.

Discomfort and swelling are common during this time, and it is crucial to adhere to the recommended aftercare instructions.

As a health insurance plan, Medicaid can help offset the costs of post-operative care following wisdom teeth removal. It also covers prescribed medications for aftercare of wisdom teeth removal.


In conclusion, navigating the often-complex landscape of wisdom teeth removal and Medicaid coverage can be challenging but certainly not impossible. From understanding the basics of Medicaid and wisdom teeth removal, the types of wisdom teeth impaction, costs involved, other dental services covered by Medicaid, to preparing for wisdom teeth removal, it is clear that having comprehensive knowledge can make the process less daunting.

Remember, each step you take towards understanding your coverage and the procedure brings you closer to achieving better oral health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions



How much does it cost to get your wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom tooth extraction can cost around $300 to $800 for all four teeth without insurance, and up to $1,000 to $3,000 for impacted extraction. The cost varies depending on the complexity of the procedure.


Does Medicaid cover wisdom teeth removal in Texas?

Yes, Medicaid in Texas covers wisdom teeth removal for adults, so you can get this procedure without having to pay anything. Many dentists accept Medicaid for tooth extractions, including wisdom teeth removal.


Does Medicaid cover wisdom teeth removal?

Yes, Medicaid may cover wisdom teeth removal for adults through non-emergency dental benefits in some states, and children covered by CHIP may also have it covered as a preventative procedure.


What types of wisdom teeth impaction does Medicaid cover?

Medicaid covers the extraction of bone-impacted wisdom teeth due to medical necessity, while coverage for soft tissue impaction varies by state.


What factors can influence the cost of wisdom teeth removal?

The cost of wisdom teeth removal can be influenced by factors such as geographic location, the level of expertise of the dental professional, and the complexity of the extraction procedure. These factors can significantly impact the overall cost.

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Russell Noga
( Medicare Expert )

Russell Noga is the CEO of ZRN Health & Financial Services, and head content editor of several Medicare insurance online publications. He has over 15 years of experience as a licensed Medicare insurance broker helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.