Gum Contouring Cost: Everything You Need to Know

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What is the expected gum contouring cost in 2022?

Everyone has a different gum line; some have gum tissue that is too low, some are too high, some are perfect in between, and some are uneven. Genetics is the biggest factor in this, while prescription medications for certain medical conditions and periodontal diseases can contribute to the size and shape as well. Whatever the cause, one thing is certain, gum recession, uneven gum line, gum overgrowth, and gummy smiles are problems that make people feel conscious about their smiles.

Thankfully, there is a cosmetic dental procedure called gum contouring treatment. But what is it exactly? More importantly, how much does gum contouring cost? And is it worth it?

A quick note on why people have uneven gums

Before you dig deep into the ins and outs of the gum contouring procedure, it is wise to know why some people have uneven gums, excess gum tissue, or just a poorly shaped gum line.

As said earlier, there are a number of things that might cause gums to sit too high or too low. Gums that cover a large part of the teeth make regular teeth look too small. This is usually caused by genetics.

Gums that sit too high make the teeth look too long, especially the front teeth. This is usually caused by gum recession, a dental condition that causes the gum tissues to pull back from the tooth and exposes the roots of the tooth.

Not only can this dental condition make teeth look unappealingly too long, it also causes tooth sensitivity and increases the risk of serious dental problems such as tooth decay and tooth loss. Gum recession is also a common sign of periodontal disease, or the deterioration of the structure that surrounds and supports the teeth (bones and gums).

So what is gum contouring?

Gum contouring is a cosmetic dental process that “contours” the gums, meaning reshaping or resculpting the gumline. This involves cutting away or removal of excess gum tissue around the teeth or restoring gum tissue (for receding gumline). The dentist will use scalpels, lasers, or radiosurgery, to perform the procedure. Make sure you ask your dentist which technique would be the best for your situation.

In most cases, it is an elective procedure, which means it is more for aesthetic purposes, and not usually a medically necessary procedure. It is done to improve the look of the gums, the teeth, and the overall smile.

However, there are cases where a dentist would actually recommend the procedure for health reasons.

Do you really need gum contouring?

Some people may need to undergo gum contouring as part of their periodontal treatment, such as pocket reduction, crown lengthening, and regenerative procedures.

How Much Does Gum Contouring Cost?

The average overall cost of the process ranges from around $50 to $350 per tooth. That means for the whole set of upper front teeth can cost around $1,000 and $3,000.

Since it is generally a cosmetic procedure, it is not usually covered by insurance. Of course, if your dentist says it is medically necessary and an important part of your orthodontic procedure, especially to prevent infection, then your insurance provider may cover some of the cost of the treatment. Fixing an uneven gum line or gummy smile, however, is usually considered cosmetic. Thus, most insurance providers will not cover it.

Other costs involved in the process

If the gum contouring is a part of the whole tooth restoration process, then you can expect additional fees. Tooth-colored restorations and bonding could mean an extra $150 to $750 more per tooth and crowns, while veneers could go around $500 to $2000 per tooth.

Financing options for gum contouring

Most dental clinics offer in-house financing programs that can help you ease up the payment, rather than pay for the whole cost upfront. Also, there are many third-party financing companies that can offer help for various medical and dental procedures, including gum contouring. You can discuss your financing options with the dental office before starting the procedure. They can hook you up with their partner financing companies.

The Bottom Line

No surgery is without risk. When it comes to gum contouring, allergic reaction to anesthetic (though rare), and relapse of the gum tissue are the two most common risks.

If you feel conscious or unhappy about how your current gum looks, then talk to your dentist (or a cosmetic dentist) to see if gum contouring is right for you.

As with any surgery, especially cosmetic surgery procedures, the end results hugely depend on the expertise and skills of the one holding the knife (or in this case, the scalpel or the soft tissue laser). So do your homework thoroughly and make sure you feel confident and comfortable with the abilities of your chosen dentist. Ask around for recommendations, read reviews and testimonials from credible sources, and ask for the dentist’s training and cosmetic dentistry background and past work.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.