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A gum graft, also called a gingival graft, is a periodontal surgery that corrects receding gums. Gum recession is when your gums pull away from your teeth, exposing your tooth roots.
The first sign of root exposure is typically sensitivity to hot and cold substances. This is because the root surfaces of teeth are not protected by hard enamel, which makes them more sensitive.
Depending on the severity of the condition, your gums may recede on one tooth, a few teeth, or all of your teeth.
The primary causes of gum recession include:
On average, the base cost of a gum graft is between $600 and $1,200. With additional costs, it increases from $700 to $6,000 per tooth.
The additional costs depend on a few factors:
The extent of your gum recession will determine how much tissue needs to be taken for the graft.
Your doctor may also need to perform an exam with X-rays to determine the health of your tooth root and surrounding tissue and bone structure. These extra diagnostic steps can cost $500 or more.
The base cost of a gum graft only covers one tooth. If you need gum grafts on additional teeth, it will make the procedure more expensive. You can expect the costs to double if you need more than two gum grafts.
Dentists can take gum tissue from your palate (the roof of your mouth) or other areas of your mouth. This is what they’ll use for the graft.
Sometimes, your dentist may see the need to get gum tissue elsewhere. They will do this at a licensed tissue bank. If this is the case, it can make the gum graft more expensive.
Gum grafting surgery is done by a periodontist, a gum specialist. A specialist’s services can cost more than your general dentist because of their expertise.
The cost will also depend on your periodontist’s years of experience. You may find that newer dentists don’t charge as much as older ones. However, older dentists often have the advantage of years of experience under their belt.
Your location can affect the cost of your gum graft surgery. Some states or cities are known for providing quality dental services, which allows clinics to increase their fees.
Highly urbanized areas with lots of big businesses also tend to have a higher cost of living. This can also make the cost of dental services more expensive.
Some insurance providers cover gum graft surgeries partially or fully. If your insurance covers some of your costs, you can expect to pay as low as $300 to $2,500.
You can ask your dentist to provide your insurance company with documentation that the gum graft procedure is not a cosmetic procedure and is, instead, medically necessary. Once this is proven, some insurance providers may at least partially cover the costs.
If your insurance plan doesn’t cover the cost of gum grafts, there are other ways to pay for the procedure. Some dental clinics offer payment plans that let you settle the procedure costs in installments.
Dental clinics also offer discount plans. These dental discount plans have a fixed annual fee, which lets you get a gum graft and other procedures at discounted prices.
Many dental clinics also allow CareCredit payments. CareCredit acts like a credit card, but for medical procedures specifically.
During a gum grafting procedure, your periodontist will administer local anesthesia. Some clinics can also offer sedation dentistry if the procedure makes you too anxious. However, you can expect this form of anesthesia to increase the overall procedure cost.
Once you’re comfortable, your dentist will prepare the site that needs a graft. Then they will harvest the gum tissue from your palate.
Your dentist will apply the graft over the exposed tooth root and stitch it. You may need to go for a follow-up visit to have the stitches removed.
A gum graft procedure has a 90% success rate, and recovery takes 4 to 6 weeks.7 The procedure is your best chance at permanently covering exposed roots.
Advantages of this treatment include:
If gum recession isn’t treated immediately, it can lead to a rapid decrease of gum tissue in a short time. Gum grafting can prevent further tissue and bone loss, saving you from advanced root decay in the future.
A gum graft is a permanent solution. It can last a lifetime as long as you practice good oral hygiene.
This includes brushing and flossing two times a day. You should also schedule regular dental appointments at least once a year.
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