Gum surgery involves the grafting of gum tissue to a part of the mouth where gums are receding, due to periodontal disease, aging, or natural wear of gum tissue. Gum Contouring involves the removal of excess gum tissue, either manually or more commonly with a laser, to improve a “gummy” smile.

If a patient is at risk for tooth loss due to receding gums, Gum Surgery may be performed as a preventive measure. Other indications of needing gum surgery include the appearance of very long teeth and weak gums due to periodontal (gum) disease.

Gum contouring may be required to correct a “gummy” smile. A gummy smile is indicated as teeth that appear to be too short and/or gums that appear to be too prominent. This can occur by either an excess of gum tissue over the teeth (Excessive Gingival Display), or by excessive grinding of the teeth, causing the teeth to become shorter and making the gum tissue appear more prominent.

Gum surgery or gum contouring are often performed in conjunction with other procedures such as composite resin bonding, crowns, and veneers.

Gum Procedures

  • The Gum Contouring procedure involves removing excess gum tissue, usually to correct a “gummy” smile, but can also involve the removal of bone. The gum tissue can be removed manually, but is usually done with a diode laser. If a larger amount of tissue needs to be removed, then an additional gum and bone surgery (called Crown Lengthening) may need to be performed. The gum contouring procedure typically takes between 15 to 30 minutes.
  • The Gum Surgery procedure involves the removal of a tissue graft from the roof of the mouth (palate) and suturing the tissue onto the affected gum area. The affected gum area is locally anesthetized and prepared for the graft. For larger treatment areas, general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation may be preferred. This newly grafted tissue reinforces thin gums or fills in areas where gums have receded. Typically, a dentist will prescribe an antibacterial mouth rinse to be used twice a day for a 2-week period following surgery.

Gum Surgery & Contouring Costs

Gum contouring procedures can range from $ 1,200 to $ 3,000 depending on how much contouring is needed. This does not include the costs of coupling other cosmetic procedures (such as adding crowns or veneers), which may incur additional expenses.

The costs for gum surgery depends on variables such as how much grafting is required, how much of the mouth is affected, and additional costs incurred by coupling other cosmetic procedures with gum surgery, such as adding crowns or veneers. The average cost of the gum surgery alone can range from $600 to $2000.

Consult with your dental insurance company to see if gum surgery is covered.

Gum Surgery Pros & Cons

Pros: A change in the smile is noticed immediately after gum surgery. Gum surgery may improve the health of the gums and reduce tooth sensitivity. The procedure will also protect the roots of teeth from decay by lessening further gum shrinkage. Recovery and healing time is usually very short.

Cons: Gum surgery procedures may require multiple visits to the dentist.