How Much Does Gum Contouring Cost?

Gum overgrowth can make you feel self-conscious about your smile. Aside from genetics, a gummy smile can be a reaction to medications or a result of a medical condition. Excessive gum tissue can be removed with gum contouring, done in either your dentist’s office or with a periodontist. Gum recession can also be treated using cary gum contouring.

Gum contouring is a simple procedure using a laser to remove excess gum tissue or to rid infection, in the case of recession. Contouring will align your gums and expose more tooth structure where needed.

Cost of Gum Contouring

The fee for gum contouring varies, depending on the extent of tissue and work that needs to be done and the local rates for your area. The fee for contouring of one tooth can range from $50 to $350; the rate of contouring all of the front teeth ranges from $100 to $3,000. Unless deemed medically necessary by your physician, gum contouring is considered a cosmetic procedure and will likely not be covered by your dental insurance.

What is Involved?

Anesthetic will be administered to the area so you will be numb for the procedure and will not feel anything. Your dentist or periodontist will use a laser or electrocautery to remove excessive gum tissue and expose more tooth surface. The procedure takes about 60 minutes, depending on the amount of work to be done. In extreme cases of crown lengthening, bone may be removed as well and would add to the surgery time frame, making it about two hours, depending on how many teeth are involved. What to expect will be reviewed with you before your surgery date.

Recovery time can be from one week to ten days for simple gum contouring and up to six weeks if bone structure was removed for crown lengthening.

Possible Additional Costs

Gum contouring may be done to prepare your teeth for bonding, crowns, or veneers. The fees associated with receiving bonding can run between $150 and $1,000 per tooth. Crowns and veneers may range from $500 to $2000 per tooth.

Discounts

You may be able to find a dental school or continuing education seminar that would offer a significantly lower price. A quick internet search will show you any schools in your area.

Shopping for Gum Contouring

Speak with your dentist to find out if they provide gum contouring. If they do not, they will be able to give you a list of recommendations for you to research. It is important to take the time to determine which provider will be right for you. You should be comfortable with anyone that provides any treatment. Many offices also have in house financing options to ease the burden of cost.

More on Gum Contouring : Healing After Gum Contouring

Laser Gum Contouring Cost

updated May 3, 2018

The cost of laser gum contouring varies depending on the amount of gum that is treated. The cost can range anywhere from $300 to $3,000. Treating a single tooth will cost significantly less than making alterations to the entire gum line. Other factors can also affect laser gum contouring cost, including supplementary treatments and sedation. Since gum contouring can be performed as a cosmetic or restorative procedure, your insurance coverage may affect the overall price of treatment.

Whether your case is simple or more complex will have a significant effect on treatment cost.

Extent of Treatment

Your dentist can perform laser gum contouring on a single tooth, multiple teeth, or the full gum line. If only one tooth requires treatment, your cost estimate will probably fall at the lower end of the scale. If the entire gum line needs treatment, you will probably pay much more for the procedure. In some cases, soft tissue grafts are also necessary to achieve the desired result. The price of grafts are not generally included in the base price of a laser gum contouring treatment.

The cost of laser gum contouring varies depending on the amount of gum that is treated. The cost can range anywhere from $300 to $3,000.

Additional Procedures

Gum contouring is often performed in conjunction with other cosmetic treatments. By providing a more uniform frame for your smile, laser gum contouring can greatly enhance the results of porcelain veneers or dental bonding. The cost of treatment can increase if additional treatments are performed in combination.

Sedation

In general, the price of a laser gum contouring procedure includes local anesthetic, which is usually sufficient to keep patients comfortable. However, some patients have sensitive gum tissue or experience dental anxiety. If you are especially nervous about treatment, you may choose to receive a stronger sedative. Your dentist can explain your options and review the cost of sedation.

Your Dentist’s Experience

Gum contouring is a precise and exacting procedure. A dentist with more experience performing cosmetic gum contouring is more likely to provide the results you desire. However, more experienced dentists tend to charge more for treatments.

Insurance

When gum contouring is performed as a cosmetic treatment, it is not covered by insurance. However, if you need gum contouring to remove tissue compromised by gum disease, your provider may cover at least a portion of the treatment cost. It is important to keep in mind that not all insurance providers cover the cost of laser treatments. You should discuss your coverage plan with your dentist and provider before deciding to move forward with your gum contouring treatment.

Financing Options

Since dental insurance does not typically cover cosmetic procedures, there are many third-party financing providers who offer special plans to help patients manage out-of-pocket expenses. Companies such as CareCredit® offer low or no interest financing plans. In addition, your dentist may provide in-office financing for qualifying patients or discounts for bundling procedures. Be sure to discuss all of your financing options with your dentist’s office to ensure you are receiving the best plan for you.

Receiving a Cost Estimate

During your initial consultation, your dentist can examine your oral health and discuss your cosmetic goals before designing a personalized treatment plan. Based on this plan, your dentist can provide you with an estimate of how much your laser gum contouring treatment will cost.

Gum Lift

Many people have a “gummy smile,” for a variety of reasons. It may be because your gums didn’t recede after your adult teeth grew in or because your upper lip is shorter and reveals more gum tissue.

Some people consider getting a lift for gums that cover enough of the teeth to make them look disproportionately small for the face. The procedure can also even out a crooked gumline.

You might consider getting gum contouring done while undergoing other cosmetic dental treatments, such as crowns or veneers. “Your veneers will not look their best if your gum tissue isn’t taken into consideration. Gum contouring can enhance other cosmetic procedures, completing your desired look,” says Dr. Andy Shieh, a dentist in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, in a RealSelf Q&A.

Many gum reduction surgeries concentrate only on the “smile zone.” Your dentist will recommend which teeth could benefit most from gum contouring so that you end up with the best results possible.

RealSelf Tip: In addition to a gum recontouring, you can have Botox injections to correct a gummy smile. The Botox is placed under the nose and around the muscles that raise the upper lip, to help keep your lip from rising so far when you smile.

What are the pros and cons of a gum lift?

Pros

  • A gum lift is a relatively painless procedure, performed using local anesthetic.

  • There are no stitches involved.

  • It’s a quick, easy surgery with a short recovery time.

  • Results are usually permanent, with little to no follow-up treatment needed.

Cons

  • Gum recontouring may not always be an option to correct a gummy smile. If the issue stems from your bone structure, you may need more invasive and costly orthognathic surgery instead.

  • Some tenderness is possible after the procedure.

  • Contouring may not be enough to correct a gummy smile, and some patients require additional treatments.

  • If you undergo additional procedures, recovery may take longer.

What happens during a gum lift?

Your dentist will first take X-rays to determine your bone levels relative to your teeth. This helps dentists determine how much gum tissue to remove in proportion to your teeth. The amount of tissue they’ll be able to remove is usually very small—2 mm or less.

Usually, a local anesthetic is applied to numb the treatment area. Dentists typically cut and contour the gum area with a soft-tissue laser to seal off blood vessels and reduce any bleeding. They may likewise perform the procedure using a scalpel or radiosurgery.

What should you expect after a gum lift?

Your gums may be swollen and painful for a few days following surgery. You should eat cool, soft foods and avoid anything spicy or likely to get stuck in your teeth. Follow your dentist’s instructions for keeping your mouth clean.

It may take a few weeks for your gums to heal completely. Because the gum tissue won’t grow back, the results are permanent.

Gum contouring reshapes the patient’s gums in order to make look aesthetically pleasing. This treatment falls under cosmetic dentistry. Learning how much gum contouring cost helps patients prepare for the treatment.

Dentists say gum contouring belongs to the cosmetic procedures that enhance the way people smile. Medically speaking, patients need not undergo this procedure. However, a Mississauga dentist sees the need for this if the patient undergo periodontal procedures such as crown lengthening.

When is gum contouring necessary?

Some patients have gums that cover most of their tooth. Others have their teeth almost uncovered as the gums recede. Some patients have gums that are too high. It makes their teeth look longer due to gum recession. It’s a condition wherein the gum tissue moves away from the tooth and shows the root. Dentists suggest patients get a gum contouring, cost varies depending on the complexity of the procedure.

If patients fail to undergo the procedure, this complicates the dental health. Prolonged exposure of the teeth leads to serious dental illness like decay, cavities, and tooth loss. A Mississauga dentist shares that gum recession could lead to periodontal diseases.

Knowing the gum contouring cost

The cost for gum contouring ranges from $70 CAD to $500 CAD. That covers the removal and reshaping of the gum tissues found around a tooth. Gum contouring cost differs according to the complexity of work, expertise and rates of the dentists.

There are times that overgrowth and damage happen in other areas. Crown lengthening involves comprehensive gum reshaping which removes gum and bone tissues surrounding the teeth. A Mississauga dentist shares that cost ranges from $1,300 CAD up to $4,000 CAD. Since this is a cosmetic procedure, dental insurance does not cover this procedure.

What to expect?

The dentist performs the procedure in his dental clinic. A few of the instruments he uses include lasers, scalpels, and radiosurgery. It’s best for the patient to consult the dentist prior to choosing which procedure to go through.

Always consult your dentist before you undergo gum contouring.

Considerations Before Looking Into A Gum Lift Procedure

A gum lift is an incredible new advancement in cosmetic dentistry. The procedure, also known as crown lengthening, raises, sculpts and reshapes the gum line. Most people do it to achieve the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth. If you’ve ever thought you have a “gummy” smile or an uneven gum line, this procedure is definitely something to look into and speak to one of our dentists about.

Historically, gum lifts were first used to treat gum disease. Dentists started using them in the 1980s and around year 2000 is when they started to use them for cosmetic purposes.

ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR A GUM LIFT?

To receive a gum lift, the condition of your tooth root must be substantial enough that exposing more of the tooth will not compromise the structure.

Many people in search of a gum lift were simply born with a large gums to teeth ratio. Others might seek it due to gum recession. Not only is gum recession unsightly, but it can also lead to serious dental problems like sensitivity, decay, and tooth loss.

Those who suffer from bruxism can also develop the appearance of a gummy smile because their teeth have been worn down, making their gums appear larger.

Having a small or thin upper lip can also contribute to the aesthetics of your gums. Women are more likely to have excess gum tissue — cosmetic dentists estimate 14 percent of women and 7 percent of men have excessive gingival exposure. Often, those with approximately 3 to 4 millimeters of visible gum tissue consider themselves to have a gummy smile.

A gum lift procedure is often done in conjunction with porcelain veneers and on the front teeth which are most visible.

THE GUM LIFT PROCEDURE

Before the procedure, we will have a consultation with you to determine your smile goals and any limitations we might have. In this appointment we can use a pen to mark up your gums and show you where your new gum line will be.

The gum lift procedure, typically done in one appointment, begins with some local numbing of the soft tissue. Then when you are unable to feel the pain, we will begin to trim and reshape your gum tissue. This can be done with a laser or a surgical knife. We encourage the use of the laser as this procedure has a much faster recovery time.

In some cases, we will go even further and actually separate the gums from the bone, trim or shave down the bone and then stitch back your gums at a higher lever.

Unlike some other dental procedures, you don’t need to take several days off work or take heavy pain medications. Your gums may be tender, swollen, and sore immediately after but you should be able to eat and drink in no time. For most people, a mild pain reliever like ibuprofen is usually all that is needed.

It’s also wise to stick to soft, non-sticky and non-spicy foods for a few days just to be safe and allow your gums to heal without further irritation. We recommend gentle brushing and flossing for a couple weeks after the procedure. Using an antibacterial mouthwash can also be very helpful during this time period to fight infection.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE UNDERGOING A GUM LIFT

  • Before you schedule a gum lift, take some time to speak to us about any concerns or fears you might have. While the risk of complications is low, problems can happen. If you tend to bleed heavily in other dental procedures or if your gums are prone to swelling, be sure to let us know so we can discuss the causes and minimization of those issues should you receive the lift. Allergies to medications and/or anesthesia can also causes complications in a gum lift.
  • Just as important as it is to consider the risks, it’s also important to explore the benefits and advantages of choosing to utilize this cosmetic procedure. Many people feel embarrassed about their smile and as the standards for a beautiful smile continue to rise, that discontent grows. Investing time and money in a great smile can improve your confidence. A well-done gum lift will make your teeth appear proportional and symmetrical. You don’t have to smile with closed lips or feel self conscious about your teeth!
  • Consider the financial investment. The price of a gum lift can vary drastically. If you only need to address a small area of the gums around one or two teeth, it will cost much The typical cost is estimated to be anywhere from $50 to $350 per tooth with a whole-mouth price of $1,000 to $3,000. Because it is a primarily cosmetic procedure, your insurance company is unlikely to cover the cost but it is still wise to submit prior authorization for the procedure to your insurance provider.

Have you ever looked at your smile and thought that your gums are too noticeable and hinder the beauty of your smile? If you have, gum reshaping could be the solution. San Diego, CA cosmetic dentists, Drs. Langenbach and Thomas, use gum reshaping, or laser gum sculpting, to remove excessive gum tissue and make the gum line more even and attractive. When gums are reduced, they are less noticeable, and allow the beauty of your smile to shine through. Gum reshaping is quick, simple, and causes minimal pain for the majority of patients.

“I recently had a procedure at Dr. Langenbach’s office. I am amazed at the care I received. The procedure I had done took over 4 hours. They covered me with a warm blanket, they kept applying great smelling…

– C. / Healthgrades / Dec 07, 2016

WHAT TO EXPECT

Before the procedure, the dentist will use a local anesthesia to numb the areas being treated. Other sedation options may be added depending on the extent of the procedure and the patient’s anxiety. Once the patient is prepped, the dentist will fix an uneven gum line or gummy smile by removing the excess gum tissue as needed and then sculpting the gum line to look natural and even.

TREATMENT AFTERCARE

After their gum contouring procedure, the patient will feel some discomfort and swelling. Gum contouring generally only takes one day for recovery and patients are advised to consume soft food and liquids for several days. Patients should contact our office immediately if they have an allergic reaction or if they have discomfort and swelling more than 48 hours after their procedure.

ANTICIPATED COSTS

Gum contouring starting at $350 per tooth. Dental insurance may cover some of the cost if the periodontal plastic surgery procedure is medically necessary, but not if the procedure is only for cosmetic reasons. Our office can contact your insurance company to determine your exact coverage.

EVEN, HEALTHY GUMS

Do you have a gummy smile or an uneven gum line? Reveal a beautiful, healthy smile with laser gum sculpting at our office with the dentist to change the size and shape of your gums.

GUM CONTOURING TURKEY

Gum contouring, or gingival sculpting, is a cosmetic dental procedure that can alter the appearance of your gums. The procedure is commonly a part of smile restoration treatments. Read below to learn more about this procedure:

What is Gum Contouring?

Gum contouring is a surgical procedure that fixes uneven gums. Some of us think that the shape of our teeth affects the smile the most. However, the placement of the gums can also alter the appearance of a smile.

Gums could recede, exposing roots of teeth. And gums could be prominent and cover top parts of the teeth. When either happens, it alters the smile. Gum contouring may help make your smile appear more “normal,” and less “gummy.”

Gum contouring is also known as gum reshaping or the tissue sculpting procedure. Your dentist could recommend you gum contouring surgery for two main reasons:

  • For cosmetic reasons to change your smile

  • As part of a treatment plan against periodontal disease

Cosmetic gum contouring isn’t considered a necessary procedure. A patient can, with the advice from a dentist, opt for this procedure to fix uneven gums. The shape of gums are largely determined by your genetics, though sometimes disease or physical trauma could alter its appearance. The gum contouring procedure can help you change something that is otherwise not alterable.

Gum contouring is sometimes included in treatment plants for periodontal disease. That is a severe form of gum disease, or gingivitis that could result in tooth loss and serious infections. Gum sculpting may help remove diseased tissue, and add new tissue to areas that have lost gum density. It should be noted that gum contouring doesn’t cure periodontal disease. In some instances, your dentist may recommend it alongside other treatments.

Is Gum Contouring for You?

Gum contouring is largely a cosmetic procedure. It is, however, a serious dental surgery. So you shouldn’t choose gum contouring unless you absolutely need it.

Here are some of the problems that gum contouring aim to fix:

  • Gummy smiles, where gums cover the top portion of teeth

  • Gum recession that make your teeth appear too high

  • Uneven gums caused by genetics, prescription medication, or health problems

  • Gums altered by periodontal disease

In some cases, dentists may use gum contouring following restorative dental treatments to make your smile appear normal. For example, if you have received dental crowns, the dentist may change the gum line around the crown to make it appear more aesthetically pleasing.

The standard gum contouring procedure can make your teeth appear more evenly proportioned. Do note that the procedure is only performed on the front teeth. If any of the above issues occur on your back teeth, not exposed by smiling, your dentist may recommend other treatments.

Gum contouring changes how your smile appears. But it doesn’t alter the natural shape of your teeth. If you have crooked or damaged teeth, then gum contouring is not for you. There are other treatments available to change the appearance of a tooth or teeth, such as dental veneers or crowns. The gum contouring procedure strictly involves changing the gum tissue.

Gum contouring is not for everyone. You can discuss your eligibility as a candidate for this procedure with a dentist. Gum contouring is usually not performed on patients who suffer from serious tooth decay or have gingivitis. Other oral health problems such as this would be addressed before you can qualify for the gum contouring procedure.

Benefits of Gum Contouring

Gum contouring offers long term benefits to patients. Here is what you can expect following the procedure:

  • A better-looking smile that evenly exposes teeth

  • Complete elimination of a “gummy smile”

  • No more overgrown gum tissue

  • More confidence to smile

  • Your teeth will appear more proportioned

  • Possibly put you at less risk of gum disease

  • In some cases, eliminate air pockets within gums that lead to periodontal disease

  • Make other restorative dental work appear more natural

Is Gum Contouring Painful?

There are actually two versions of the gum contouring procedure. There’s the traditional gum contouring that’s been performed for decades. Nowadays, dentists mostly perform laser gum contouring.

The traditional contouring procedure is a typical surgery-type procedure that uses scalpels and similar surgical tools. An oral surgeon would manually remove excess tissue and shape the gums. Cutting off gum tissue causes a lot of bleeding, which would be stalled using gauze. The oral surgeon would then use sutures and stitches to close the wounds and complete the procedure.

While this traditional gum contouring procedure is still in practice, modern dentists prefer to use laser gum contouring. In this method, the oral surgeon doesn’t use tools but instead relies on a diode laser to cut off soft tissue. The laser cauterizes the wound as it trims the excess gum tissue.

Compared to traditional gum contouring surgery, laser gum contouring results is less bleeding. Lasers also offer more surgical assurance, so your gum line could be more even. This method also minimizes discomfort so you can recover more quickly.

If you opt for laser gum contouring surgery, the procedure will be significantly less painful compared to traditional gum contouring surgery.

In either case, the oral surgeon would numb the area before you undergo surgery. So you would not feel a thing. After the procedure, some pain is inevitable. But you can experience less pain with laser contouring.

Is Gum Contouring Permanent?

The gum contouring procedure is intended to be permanent, and in the majority of cases, it is. However, is some cases, the removed gum tissue can grow back. This is called relapse and is one of the risks of the procedure.

If relapse is a concern, the dentist may recommend removing some bone from the top of the teeth to prevent the gums from growing back. You may be able to undergo another gum contouring procedure if relapse occurs.

Gum Contouring Procedure Explained

Gum contouring is a minor procedure compared to most other dental surgeries. Laser gum contouring can be performed in-office with a single visit. The procedure is performed by a cosmetic dentist, an oral surgeon, or a periodontist.

Consultation

The biggest part of the gum contouring procedure would be consulting with a dentist and planning your treatment. You can express your interest in gum contouring surgery to the dentist. He or she will then examine your gums and teeth to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.

Why you need to perform gum contouring would matter before undergoing the procedure. If you want gum contouring done for purely cosmetic reasons, your dentist would discuss your medical history with you. You will be checked for possible oral health issues, such as gingivitis or tooth decay. The dentist would perform a thorough examination of the gums to determine if it’s viable to remove gum tissue to fix your smile.

Your dentist would recommend gum contouring surgery as an option to treat periodontal disease. However, there would be other alternatives to consider, such as tissue stimulation or bone grafts.

In some cases, the dentist may recommend gum reshaping as a part of a total smile makeover. If you are getting veneers or crowns, the dentist may suggest gum sculpting to make the smile appear more even.

The initial consultation for a gum contouring surgery would vary depending on each individual case. Some patients undergo thorough medical consultations with their dentist before the procedure. But gum contouring can be done as part of a routine checkup or teeth cleaning. Because of the minimally invasive nature of laser gum contouring, the procedure can be completed with little to no risk.

The Contouring Procedure

The process of getting your gums reshaped would depend on whether you choose the laser or the traditional method. The laser method is used most commonly, though in rare cases the dentist may opt for a traditional gum contouring surgery.

Laser Gum Contouring

This process is quite simple as straightforward. Your dentist will prepare you for the process by applying a local anesthetic to the gums. This numbs your gums, but won’t put you “to sleep” like a general anesthetic.

Then, the dentist would use a diode laser to trim the excess parts of the gums, sculpting to make it more aesthetically appealing. The laser procedure doesn’t cause excessive bleeding. The process only takes about half an hour to complete. Once done, the dentist would seal the contoured area. Stitches are not necessary.

Traditional Gum Contouring Surgery

This is performed by an oral surgeon. To start, you would be given a local anesthetic. In some cases, the dentist may recommend a general anesthetic, especially if you have a dental phobia.

The procedure would involve the dental surgeon making incisions on your gums to remove excess tissue. There will be a lot of bleeding and the dentist would put gauze in your mouth to control it. The dental surgeon would contour your gums by hand.

When done, the surgeon would stich the wounds. The total time will be around an hour, but time can vary depending on the dental surgeon’s skill level and style.

Recovery

Recovery time and comfort level will depend on whether you chose the laser procedure or traditional surgery. Following laser gum sculpting, you will experience some minor discomfort. There could be some swelling of the gums and you may feel some pain. It’s possible that some bleeding occurs.

Most patients, however, recover quickly within a day from laser gum contouring. Your healing process can last up to a week or more. Your dentist would recommend a liquid diet or soft foods for several days afterwards. Total recovery time is a few days in most cases.

Recovering from traditional gum contouring takes longer. You will experience pain and discomfort following the procedure. There will be swelling in the gums, and the dentist may prescribe you antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection. You would have to wait a few days until the wounds are healed. The dentist may recommend a follow-up visit to remove the stitches. Recovery may last over a week.

In either case, most patients can manage pain with over-the-counter painkillers.

Are There Any Risks or Complications from a Gum Contouring Procedure?

Laser gum contouring is considered a safe procedure. But no surgical procedure is without risks or complications. Here are some of the most prominent risks of gum contouring:

  • Relapse, where the removed gum tissue grows back, reversing the benefits of the procedure

  • Black gums, where new gum tissue grows back in a darker shade than your natural gum color. This is a high risk if long-term medication caused the gums to overgrow in the first place.

  • Tooth sensitivity, if trimming the gums exposes roots of teeth

  • Allergic reactions to the local anesthetic in rare cases

  • Prolonged healing time, especially if some bone was removed with the excess gum tissue.

  • Risk of infection if your underwent traditional gum contouring surgery

You can discuss the above risks with your dentist prior to undergoing gum contouring surgery.

The cost of a gum contouring surgery can vary. In the UK, costs can range from 150 to 300 pounds. In the US, the procedure would cost at least $200 or, most likely, more.

The costs for the procedure largely depend on the dental clinic you choose. Finding budget-friendly clinics may help you reduce the overall costs of the procedure. However, don’t go to a dental clinic with subpar services just to save a few hundred dollars.

If you live in a country where dental care is expensive everywhere, you can consider flying to Turkey to reduce the costs of procedures like gum contouring. Turkey offers low rates for dental care that meets EU standards and regulation. If you are curious about dental treatment prices, you could check our prices page.

If gum contouring is part of a collection of smile restoration treatments, then you would have to spend a lot of money on it. Once more, you can keep all costs low by traveling to a country like Turkey for affordable dental care.

You can check in with your health insurance provider for financing options as well. Health insurance policies typically don’t cover cosmetic dental procedures like gum contouring. However, you may get financial assistance if the procedure is part of a treatment plant for periodontal disease.

New Treatment for Receding Gums: No Pain, Lots of Gain

BOSTON (July 1, 2009, 7 a.m. ET) — Tufts dental researchers conducted a three-year follow-up study that examined the stability of a treatment option for receding gums and found that complete root coverage — the goal of the surgery — had been maintained. This specific tissue regeneration application, developed at Tufts, reduces the considerable pain and recovery time of gum grafting surgery. The case study of six patients is published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

“Patients have a less invasive treatment option for receding gums and we now have evidence to support the stability of this relatively painless procedure. Instead of leaving the dental office with stitches in the roof of their mouth, a patient leaves with a small bandage on the arm that can be removed in an hour,” said Terrence Griffin, DMD, associate professor, chair of the department of periodontology, and director of postdoctoral periodontology at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston.

“One of our previous research studies showed that all of the post-operative bleeding and most of the post-operative pain were related to the gum tissue removed from the roof of the mouth for use as a graft,” he continued.

Traditional gum grafting surgery requires surgically excising tissue from the roof of the mouth (the palate) to replace the gum tissue lost around the teeth. Unfortunately, removing tissue from the roof of the mouth extends recovery time and is a major source of patients’ discomfort or pain. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontal disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults aged 35 and older. Periodontal disease includes gum recession, also called gingival recession, which can result in tooth root decay and tooth loss.

The new tissue regeneration application from Tufts uses platelet concentrate gel applied to a collagen membrane as the graft instead of using tissue from the roof of the mouth. The graft is soaked in the patient’s platelets, using blood drawn in the same visit. Placed over the receding tooth root, the graft is then surgically secured.

In order to examine three-year efficacy of the treatment, measurements were taken from six patients in the gum recession area at baseline, 6, and 36 months after surgery. At six months, 24 out of 37 teeth from the six patients had complete root coverage (65 percent). At 36 months, 21 out of 37 teeth from the six patients had complete root coverage (57 percent). The authors said that the recession over three years was minimal and that the results are comparable to traditional gum grafting surgery.

“Our previous research determined that pain and discomfort were barriers to receiving traditional gum grafting surgery.* We have also shown previously that this treatment for gum recession results in proper coverage of the tooth root, better esthetics than those found with traditional gum grafting surgery, and enhanced patient satisfaction with the results,”** said co-author Wai Cheung, DMD, MS, assistant professor in the department of periodontology at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

Over the last decade, Griffin and his colleagues, including Cheung, have studied alternatives to traditional gum grafting surgery and have more than 20 publications on the topic.

“Gum disease affects most American adults and research is linking periodontal disease to other health problems, including heart disease. Encouraging patients to undergo surgery to fix receding gums can be difficult because the mere thought of this dental surgery is often associated with considerable pain. This treatment, while only marginally more expensive for the patient, is more time-consuming and technically more difficult for us but the end result — improved esthetics, reduced pain, and, most importantly, improved oral health for the patient — make it a valuable and important alternative,” said Griffin.

About Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Founded in 1868, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) is committed to leadership in education, patient care, research and community service. Students obtain an interdisciplinary education, integrated with medicine, with access to training in dental specialties. Clinics managed at TUSDM provide quality comprehensive care to more than 18,000 diverse individuals annually, including those with special needs. Nationally and internationally, the School promotes health and educational programs and researches new procedures, materials and technologies to improve oral health.

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