How much does a gum graft cost in 2022? The answer to this simple question is bound to fluctuate and differ depending on a number of variables.
For one, how severe is the gum recession requiring treatment? Which gum grafting technique is used? Which dentist are you going to go with? Do you have dental insurance that may cover some or all of the costs?
In this article, we are going to cover what the gum grafting procedure entails, as well as discuss how to find the best dental professional to do the job.
Without further ado, let us dig right in.
Why you may need gum graft surgery
Why do some individuals need gum graft surgery?
There are multiple possible reasons, and these vary from patient to patient. Some have receding gums due to ageing, others because of negative lifestyle choices including excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Still others have receding gums that may require a connective tissue graft due to other dental complications or gum disease.
What gum graft surgery entails
Gum graft surgery is more of an umbrella term than a descriptor for one specific procedure. In other words, there are different types of gum graft surgery, ranging in complexity and therefore also in cost.
Whether your specific case requires gum contouring, a pedicle graft or a free gingival graft depends on the underlying issue you are experiencing with your gums.
If your dental and periodontal exam reveals that your tooth roots are exposed because of receding gums, the issue may be fixed with a simple pinhole gum graft, where the oral surgeon makes one small pinhole incision in the gums where the tooth root is showing. The dentist then uses a small surgical instrument to detach the gum from the teeth, repositions the gums to cover the exposed root, then secures the gum graft usually with a single stitch.
In other, more severe cases, the gum graft patient may be suffering from periodontal disease, which might require a much larger free flap gum tissue graft. Usually, the dentist will be taking healthy gum tissue from one side of the mouth and move it to the badly affected area, but at other times the dentist may take the graft from the root of your mouth. Needless to say, the free flap procedure in all its forms is a more complicated and invasive dental surgery, and is likely to cost more.
Undergoing gum surgery is, of course, not a pleasant experience. In most cases, the procedure is carried out under local anesthetic, but in more severe cases the patient may be put under general anesthesia. Especially nervous patients may also be given a mild sedative to help them relax during the procedure.
Approximate out of pocket costs
So, now that we have covered the basics of what a gum graft procedure is and why it is performed, we are going to take a closer look at the gum grafting cost.
Assuming that yours is a minor case of receding gums or exposed root that only requires minor surgery, you should expect to pay somewhere between $600 and $1,200.
If, on the other hand, you need a more extensive or even multiple gum tissue grafts, the procedure could easily involve additional costs of $400 to $600 per tooth. On average, a gum graft procedure in the United States costs $700 to $1,000.
When you take into consideration the highly specialised training that a periodontal surgeon has to be able to carry out the procedure, $1,000 or thereabouts is not an extortionate cost for surgery.
Still, periodontal surgery can be out of the financial reach of some people, and if you are one of them you will be glad to hear that many periodontists are happy to work out payment plans with their patients, provided that the patient does not have insurance, which we will be getting into next.
Will insurance cover your gum graft procedure?
Just a few short years ago, most insurance plans did not cover any form of periodontal surgery as it was considered to be for ‘cosmetic reasons.’
However today most medical insurance covers gum graft surgery, provided that there is a valid medical reason for you undergoing the surgery. A valid medical reason could be gum disease such as periodontal disease or gingivitis, but it could also be less serious, for example an exposed tooth root, which can cause discomfort and pain. Most insurance plans also take into account the fact that gum grafts may be considered a preventative surgical measure to proven tooth loss if you have very thin gums or quickly receding gums.
In other words, if you have dental insurance, it is highly likely that it will cover gum graft surgery. To be sure, you should contact your insurance provider and explain your situation.
Finding the best dental professionals for gum graft surgery
Not all dental professionals have learned to master the intricacies of gum graft procedures in dental school, so you don’t want just any dentist carrying out your gum graft procedure. What you want is a gum specialist called a periodontist.
Finding a qualified periodontist is easy. The best place to look is over on the American Academy of Periodontology website, or on the American Dental Association website.
When it comes to medical procedures and your health, never cut corners. Always chose a reputable surgeon with the right credentials and training. Even if your gum graft procedure is only minor, you should still get a specialist periodontal surgeon to carry it out.
Gum graft surgery FAQ
Is gum graft surgery worth it?
Gum graft surgery, if you needed it, can be a life changing procedure. So yes, in other words, a gum graft procedure is well worth the price tag as well as the discomfort that comes with any surgical procedure.
Having receding gums can make you very self conscious and cause you to be less confident. For that reason alone, gum graft surgery is more than worth it.
Another great reason to say yes to the gum graft procedure if your dentist deems it necessary is that exposed teeth roots can be both sensitive and sore, causing you discomfort on an ongoing daily basis. As if that were not enough, untreated gum recession can lead to more severe dental issues, including gum disease and eventual tooth loss.
What is the cost of a gum graft?
The cost of gum grafts can vary substantially depending on your procedure, your dentist and your location.
Having said that, as a rule of thumb you can expect the full cost of your gum graft to cost between $600 and $1,200 per tooth, with additional costs of approximately $500 per extra tooth covered.
The average price of a gum graft is $700 to $1,000.
Are gum grafts expensive?
Considering the fact that gum grafts require specialist training and know-how, the average cost of $700 to $1,000 per procedure is hardly expensive.
What’s more, patients are often able to get insurance coverage for gum graft surgery, at least in cases where it is deemed a medically necessary preventative or restorative procedure.
Is gum grafting permanent?
Yes, your new gum graft is permanent. Once healed, your gum grafts will be unable to shift back to their starting positions.
Having said that, you may still need to change some of your habits if you want to ensure that your newly transformed gum line does not recede like the original one did. For example, you might have to switch to a soft bristled toothbrush and learn how to brush your teeth more gently, as aggressive brushing is one of the leading triggers for receding gums. If you are a heavy smoker or drinker, you should also consider instilling new and more healthy habits.
If you have any underlying oral health conditions that have caused your gums to recede, these should also be looked into and taken in hand.
Gum grafting surgery does not come cheap, which is understandable considering the expert training and specialisation that is required to perform a successful graft.
There is no set industry standard price for how much a gum graft procedure costs, but patients should expect their gum graft surgery to cost anywhere between $600 and $1,200 for minor procedures, with additional costs of roughly $400-$600 per tooth.
When it comes to gum tissue graft surgery, the same rule of thumb applies as with any other medical procedure – it is never worth it trying to cut any corners. Getting gum graft surgery, if you need it, is not merely a cosmetic dental procedure, it is a necessary investment in your health and wellbeing.
After all, not treating receding gums can lead to all sorts of much more serious dental health problems, including gum disease, decay and even tooth loss. Putting off your treatment can mean that what might have been a minor issue escalates into something much more unmanageable, not to mention expensive.
Choosing the right periodontal surgeon is another important point to consider when you are considering gum graft surgery. It is always very important to pick the right dental surgeon for the job, and luckily both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology websites have search tools you can use to find the appropriately trained dental professionals.
Once you have fully recovered following your gum graft tissue surgery, you will be amazed at the difference it can bring to your life. Not only will your oral health be improved, and any discomfort you may have been experiencing as a result of exposed tooth roots will have subsided, but you are also likely to feel more confident, more willing to smile and more comfortable in your skin.
In conclusion, if you have receding gums and your dentist recommends a gum graft to address the issue, you should absolutely go for it. The procedure itself, while not pleasant in the moment, falls into the category of minor surgery and tends to heal quickly.
As for the cost of gum graft surgery, your dental insurance will most likely cover all or at least some of the cost. Once considered a purely medical procedure, gum graft surgery is now widely recognised as a vital preventative and restorative surgical procedure.