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How Much Does Gum Grafting Cost?

Dental insurance covers a range of procedures, from routine maintenance to major treatments, at a low cost. Gum grafting is one of the major services this supplemental insurance policy can help pay for. This procedure, typically performed by a periodontist, can help you restore receding gums to avoid sensitivity, prevent further dental problems, and recover a healthy smile. This article will explain how gum grafts work to help you understand their costs and get the right dental coverage for your needs.

What are gum grafts? 

Gum grafting is a dental procedure that treats gum recession, a periodontal condition where your gum line begins pulling away from your teeth and exposing the roots. The periodontist will start the procedure by administering local anesthesia to numb the teeth and gums.1 They may also offer sedation methods, such as nitrous oxide, to maximize comfort during the procedure. Then, they’ll make a small incision in the gums to clean the tooth roots and prepare the site to receive the graft.

Next, the periodontist will make a small incision in your palate, the roof of your mouth, and remove a small amount of tissue from the inner layer to leave the outer layer intact. They will suture the wound to close it. If there’s enough gum tissue near the target site, the periodontist may take tissue from that area instead. Finally, they will place the graft on the site, readjusting the surrounding gum tissue and suturing the wound closed. Depending on the stitches used, you may have to schedule a follow-up appointment to have them removed.1

Are gum grafts covered by insurance? 

Many dental insurance policies cover at least part of the cost of medically necessary gum graft procedures since they may be required to stop further gum recession. Failing to stop gum recession can lead to downsides like:

  • Higher risk of decay
  • Potential tooth loss
  • Potential bone loss
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Bacterial infection

Gum grafts performed purely for cosmetic reasons often won't be covered by dental insurance.

How much do gum grafts cost? 

Gum grafts can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,200 per area, depending on various factors. However, there may be additional costs associated with a gum graft:2

  • Gum contouring: This involves trimming gums to improve their appearance, but it’s not always necessary. Gum contouring can increase the cost of gum grafting to $1,000 to $3,000 per area.

  • Pre-treatment exams and X-rays: These involve examining the area to determine whether the procedure is necessary and preparing if so. On average, they can cost $150 to $400.

As mentioned earlier, dental insurance can help reduce the cost if you need a gum graft for medical reasons. The exact coverage varies by policy type, coverage amount, and insurer, but regardless, it can help make this treatment more affordable.

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Factors that can affect the cost of gum grafts

Here are some factors that impact the cost of gum grafts:

Amount and severity of gum recession 

The amount and severity of gum recession impact costs significantly. Numerous and more severe gum recession may be more complex and require extensive time and effort to resolve. This can make the procedure cost more due to the extra time, resources (such as anesthesia), and skill needed.

Type of surgery 

Certain types of gum grafts are more extensive and require more effort to successfully complete. There are several types of grafts:3

  • Connective-tissue graft: This graft uses tissue from an inner layer of your palate, requiring extra effort. Therefore, it can cost more than other procedures that involve using non-donated tissue.

  • Free gingival graft: A free gingival graft uses tissue from the outermost layer of your palate, simplifying the procedure. As a result, this is one of the least expensive gum graft procedures.

  • Pedicle graft: This graft uses gum tissue from nearby gums. It may be less invasive than connective-tissue grafts, bringing costs down.

Type of specialist 

A dentist specializing in gum disease and similar structures is called a periodontist. Working with a periodontist to get a gum graft may cost more than a general dentist to account for the additional training and expertise. However, some prefer the added peace of mind of receiving treatment from a gum disease specialist.

Your location 

Some locations may have higher costs of living. This means the periodontist has to charge more to stay profitable, leading to higher gum grafting costs. For example, major cities may have more provider options to compare within close proximity, but the higher cost of living is reflected in higher costs of procedures. On the other hand, traveling to a periodontist in a less populated area could help save money, but fewer providers will be in any given area.

Is a gum graft worth it?

Gum grafts can be worth it for patients experiencing gum recession and similar issues. Here are some reasons to consider gum grafting:

  • Repair gum recession: Repairing gum recession helps protect your tooth roots and other delicate structures from disease or injury.

  • Reduce sensitivity: Tooth roots are sensitive to hot, cold, and acidity. Repairing your gum line can guard against these issues, making eating more pleasant.

  • Better oral health: Gums keep bacteria out of more sensitive areas in your mouth, guarding against decay, tooth loss, and bone loss.

  • A better smile: Severe gum recession can be visible on the front teeth, making them appear long and discolored. Gum grafting restores a normal appearance, helping you smile with confidence.

  • Long-term savings: Gum grafts may seem expensive, but they can cost less than the extensive dental work you may need if your gums continue to recede.

Get a quote for Aflac dental insurance

Receding gums may lead to further oral health issues. Fortunately, thanks to gum grafting, you can restore lost tissue to help protect your health and recover your smile. Although these procedures can be costly, Aflac’s dental insurance can help reduce costs and put treatment within financial reach. Start chatting with an agent today to learn more and get a dental insurance quote.

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