When you smile, people aren’t only seeing your teeth — they’re also checking out your gums. Your teeth and gums combined form your overall oral appearance, and having healthy gums is as important as keeping pristine, polished teeth.
Still, receding gums is a common issue that affects the appearance of many people’s grins. You can turn that frown upside down with gum contouring, a procedure used to fix receding gum lines.
Here is what you need to know about affording that procedure — with and without insurance.
Gum contouring is a procedure in which the gum line is reshaped or sculpted. Your gum line is the area where your teeth connect to your gums. Typically, it involves cutting away or removing excess gum tissue if you have too much. If you have too little, the process involves restoring some of your gum tissue.
It’s commonly done for people with receding gums. This is a form of gum disease where the gum pulls away from the teeth and exposes the roots underneath. Not only is this visually unwanted by most people, but it can also put you at a higher risk of developing cavities. It can also make your teeth more sensitive when brushing or eating certain foods, especially those that are hot and cold.
Gum recession can be caused by a lot of different things, including:
Fixing receding gums with gum contouring is usually an elective procedure to improve the appearance of your teeth. However, some dentists might recommend it for oral health reasons, especially if it is making you more susceptible to cavities.
The most recognizable sign of gum recession is that the gums pull away from the teeth, making them appear bigger and exposing more of the root.
There are some other symptoms that often accompany the visual signs:
A dentist can diagnose receding gums by taking a look at the size of your pockets, which is the space between the gums and the teeth. A normal pocket is about one to three millimeters, but a larger pocket can be a sign of gum recession.
Once your gums shrink, there is no magical pill or potion that will make them regrow, unlike other tissue on the body. However, you can get a gum contouring procedure to help restore the appearance of your gums.
Additionally, you can work to prevent them by taking proper care of your oral health and addressing any underlying conditions that might be resulting in gum recession.
Gum contouring can occur in different ways depending on your goals for treatment. If the goal of treatment is to remove parts of the gum, then the procedure involves using a soft tissue laser or scalpel to gently remove excess gum tissue and resculpt the gumline. Sutures may then be added depending on how much tissue was removed.
If the goal of treatment is to restore the gums, then a gum graft is used. The doctor will remove tissue from another part of the mouth, like the inside of the cheeks or the palate, and secure the tissue to the gum line to make it appear more lengthened. Sutures are put in place to keep the skin graft in place as it heals.
Either way, you usually remain awake for the procedure, and you receive a local anesthetic to numb the area. For that reason, this treatment is often painless from start to finish.
The length of the procedure varies depending on the extent of the contouring and the type of resculpting necessary. Usually, gum contouring takes anywhere from one to two hours.
While the procedure is painless, the recovery period might come with a little bit of tenderness and discomfort as the gums heal. But the recovery time for oral surgery is generally short because wounds in the mouth heal faster than any other part of the body. This is thought to be due to saliva, which promotes the healing of wounds in several ways.
If you feel pain and discomfort after your surgery, you can take over-the-counter pain medications as directed by your doctor. Most will recommend Ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as these do not act as blood thinners like aspirin.
Additionally, add ice packs or cold compresses to the mouth during the days after the procedure for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and enhance the comfort level.
You might also need to change up your diet during the recovery period since it might feel painful to eat solid foods. Be sure to load up on soups, yogurt, applesauce, Jell-O, smoothies, and even ice cream to soothe your mouth without adding any extra irritation.
You’ll also likely have a follow-up session just so they can monitor how well you’re healing after the procedure. They’ll also check your gums to monitor for infection.
Gum contouring is a great procedure for a number of reasons, depending on your reasoning for getting the procedure done in the first place. For one, gum contouring can improve your sense of confidence and enhance the appearance of your smile. This is important because your smile is one of the first things people notice about you.
It can also benefit your physical well-being, too. Fixing receding gums can help reduce the risk of cavities and other oral health problems.
Gum contouring is a procedure that can help many people feel more confident with their smiles. If a dentist prescribes this to help prevent cavities or as a preventative measure, then insurance may cover some of the cost.
In most cases, this is an elective procedure done for cosmetic reasons. Insurance won’t cover the cost of cosmetic procedures, so you’ll likely be responsible for paying for your contouring out of pocket.
While the average cost can vary depending on how much gum tissue is removed or restored, you can anticipate paying anywhere from $50 to $350 for only one tooth. This price can cost much more if you get a specialist to do it as well.
But just because you don’t have insurance doesn’t mean you should be stuck paying such insane prices for dental care. Flossy is a pay-as-you-go provider where you only pay for the services you receive. Plus, we can save you up to 50% off the cost of common dental care, like gum contouring.
A Flossy membership is free, and you don’t need to worry about those frustrating annual premiums or monthly dues like you would with typical insurance plans. Not to mention, you can book online through our easy-to-use app without a waiting period to see a dentist.
Speaking of dentists, they’re all vetted against a set of rigorous criteria to ensure you’re getting quality care, like excellent patient reviews and accreditation from top dental schools.
There’s no reason to pay more than you have to for top-of-the-line dental care. Download the Flossy app and get started today.
You might not need to worry about spending any money on your gum contouring treatment if you just work to prevent gum recession in the first place. There are ways you can work to prevent receding gums from the get-go.
Practicing proper oral hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent receding gums, as well as other types of oral health problems. If your teeth and gums are healthy, it’s not likely that they will recede.
This means brushing and flossing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be sure to also avoid triggers like sugary foods, smoking, and physical trauma to the teeth.
Some studies have also found that you can consume more omega-3 fatty acids. One study found that supplementing with these vitamins for three months significantly reduced gum inflammation. You can take omega-3 supplements, or you can eat seafood like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and oysters, which are extremely high in this vitamin.
Sometimes, no matter how well you take care of your teeth, bacteria can continue to build. This creates deposits of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums which increases your chances of various dental health conditions. You can prevent this with dental cleanings twice a year.
Bi-yearly dental cleanings are covered by most dental insurance plans. But even if you don’t have insurance, Flossy can save you 50% on the cost every time you get your check-up.
Gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure that serves to change the appearance of your gum line. In most cases, it is used to fix gum recession, but some people might need it to remove some of their gum tissue to improve the appearance of their mouth.
Since it is a cosmetic procedure, unless recommended by a dentist to prevent cavities, you usually need to pay for this procedure out of pocket. It can cost upwards of $3,000 to fix your front teeth with gum contouring, which is inaccessible to most people.
Don’t let price be a barrier between you and your smile. Flossy is a pay-as-you-go service that can save you up to 50% on common dental treatments, like gum contouring. Find a dentist today and get started.