How much does Gum Treatment Cost?

The cost of treatment for gum disease (periodontitis) varies quite considerably according to how severe the disease is.

At the one end of the spectrum, all that may be required is a simple scale and polish ITEM 114 which will set you back $75- $150.

The ADA 2012 member dental fee survey found the average cost for ITEM 114 to be $107 (across all states).

Some dentists will take the clean slightly under the gum if the periodontitis is mild. Here we are only talking shallowish pockets (of up to 4mm) and only if it is comfortable. There is a considerable variation in what individuals can tolerate, so if it is tender then it may be necessary to come back and have it done under local anaesthetic.

This initial gross clean is always required and if there is heavy build up or considerable bleeding then a second standard clean at the same cost (ITEM 115) would be needed.

periodontal chart is often required to map out the areas of periodontitis that require further treatment. The item number is 221 and it will cost you approximately $40- $80.

Root planing or sub gingival debridement (under the gum cleaning) is the next stage for any deeper pockets. This is charged per tooth so following the chart the dentist will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the costs involved. The ITEM number for this is 222 and will generally cost in the range of $30- $140 per tooth (the ADA survey reports an average of $72).

You can see, if you have many teeth that require treatment, this can get quite expensive. Especially when you consider the nature of the periodontitis and that it may need to be repeated a number of times as part of a gum disease maintenance programme. How often it needs repeating will vary on your response and how aggressive the disease is.

Periodontal pockets not responding to this treatment may require a surgical approach (ITEM 232) for more efficient cleaning or referral to a specialist. The ADA member average cost (2012) for this service is $234 (range in the region of $200- $400).

There total cost of your gum treatment will depend on a number of factors:

  • Number of teeth affected– Since costs are per tooth for under the gum cleaning, this is the biggest factor determining how much gum treatment will cost you.
  • Response to therapy– Some people respond well initially and with execllent oral hygeine can go back to standard check up and cleans pretty quickly. In others, the disease will progress more rapidly or not respond as well, in which case repeated sessions of deep cleaning will be necessary over the years to hang onto the teeth as long as possible.
  • General dentist or specialist- A periodontist who specializes in gum disease and associated treatments will cost on average 20-30% more than a general dentist. They have received 3 years further training so the level of care and cleaning you get will be superior and the practices are equipt with specialised high- tech equipment for just this purpose.
  • If gum surgery is required
  • The country, location and individual dentist- The cost of treatment will vary from practice to practice and location to location. There are no set fees so quite a range in price exists.

What is the Rebate on Gum Treatment?

To be able to check all the out of pocket expenses, you will need the item numbers for any treatment you that you are going to be having. These are discussed above, but only your dentist will be able to tell you exactly what is necessary after they have examined you and done a full periodontal chart.

When you have this information, which we often refer to as a treatment plan, you need to get in touch with your health fund and find out what your rebate is on each particular item number. Everybody has different levels of cover, so this is the only way to figure out exactly what the gap will be.