The Costs of Periodontal Disease

The cost of periodontal disease varies according to the extent of the bone loss and tissue inflammation and the treatment prescribed by the dentist. There are a number of treatments, called periodontal therapy, available for periodontal disease.

Periodontal therapy is the removal of tarter or calculus along the gum line and on the root surface of teeth. This removal can only be done by a dentist or hygienist. The treatment, when needed, is called root planning and scaling. A local anesthetic may be administered during these procedures. Your dentist may also administer antibiotics to treat the bacteria housed in the pocketed areas of the gums. Sometimes home care includes a disinfecting mouthwash, such as chlorine dioxide or chlorhexidine. If inflammation is local and is only present in a few sites along with very small pockets, then the treatment cost is much less than if the bone loss is generalized and is great around most of the teeth.

In some cases surgery is also needed to remove the diseased tissue and create an environment that will respond to home care. Periodontal flap surgery is performed to decrease the pocket depth along the tooth. If the bone around the tooth has a pocket defect housing bacteria and contributing to this disease, the bone may be reshaped through bone surgery to eliminate the defect and help prevent future re-colonization of bacteria growth.

A study in the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) found that the prevention of periodontal disease helps save money not only in dental costs but in medical care costs.  Since this oral disease has been connected with other health condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, respiratory problems and recently colon cancer, it makes sense to prevent periodontal disease.

The JOP study inJapanexamined 4,285 people over a 3.5 year period to ascertain the costs of periodontal disease (PD) on medical and dental health. The examined patients were between 40 and 59 years old. Researchers show that cumulative health care costs were 21% higher for those patients with severe PD than those with no PD. The result shows that the patients with severe PD have much higher expenses than patients without periodontal issues.

One simple way to reduce total health care costs is to treat this gum disease. When caught early, periodontal diseases can be treated using simple non-surgical techniques which can restore your mouth to a healthy state.

Fees to remove damaged or inflamed gum tissue and contour the remaining gum surface run from $250-$500 per quadrant. A quadrant is either the upper right, lower right, upper left or lower left side of the mouth. This equates to approximately $1200 - $2000 or more for the whole mouth. Tissue regeneration or tissue grafts to replace receding gums start around $500-$1000 for a single procedure in one specific area. The extent of the gum tissue damage in your mouth will determine the number of procedures or visits required.

A lot depends on the specific work needed. Treatment for gum disease usually begins with a periodontal diagnosis exam and x-rays which can add an additional $150 -$400, if not included in the total fee. A full mouth debridement – cleaning away excess buildup so the gums and bones are visible and can be evaluated – can cost $75 -$150 or more. This is sometimes needed for new patients who have not had dental treatment for quite awhile. While most dental insurance covers exams and x-rays, they usually do not cover debridement. Periodontal maintenance procedures, when needed, can cost $150 -$250 per visit.

Research shows that the money spent in the prevention of periodontal disease is better than the money spent for the treatment. And don’t forget, if you prevented one systemic disease or one trip to the emergency room (let’s say from diabetes), the cost of taking care of your mouth is minimal compared to the cost to your health. It also is minimal if it prevents your loved ones anguish due to you contracting cancer or heart disease from your periodontal disease.

About the Author
Dr. Piero, a practicing dentist for over twenty five years, is the inventor of Dental Air Force® (www.dentalairforce.com). Articles published are on periodontal health related to heart disease, respiratory health, diabetes, strokes, and other systemic diseases. He is the Executive Editor for Journal of Experimental Dental Science due to be published in July 2012 and a contributing author to Hospital Infection Control: Clinical Guidelines.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



Leave a Reply