In the medical field, the complexities of many surgeries were greatly reduced when laparoscopic surgery became widespread. It has less risk, less pain, and even less recovery time. Recently, something similar happened for the dentistry field. Since the Placerville Dental Group keeps up to date with proven dental methods, we now offer the Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST) for treating gum recession.
Ever heard of someone described as “getting a little long in the tooth”? That phrase comes from the gum tissue receding as we get older, exposing more of our teeth. If roots become exposed, they become more vulnerable to the acids and bacteria in our mouths – and roots are not as resilient as the enamel. Besides aging, gum recession increases due to gingivitis and periodontitis, lip and tongue piercings, and poor oral hygiene. Gum recession is a leading cause of tooth decay and loss. Until recently, the only treatment was tissue grafting.
Tissue grafting involves removing a strip of tissue from the mouth (usually the roof), placing the graft on or under the receded area, stitching the graft in place, and then waiting for it to heal (two to three weeks) before moving to the next area. Up to three teeth are done at a time, then the procedure is repeated – including another healing session. Tissue grafting is delicate, usually painful and awkward for the patient, and typically takes significant time. Much like laparoscopic surgery, PST reduces these concerns.
PST is documented and tested, with the results published in the International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry. For those who like the technical details, here’s a link to the article. The technique was developed by an experienced dentist, Dr. John Chao. Other dentists get special training for this technique, and so did your dentists at Placerville Dental Group.
The pinhole technique does not cut anything out of your mouth and seldom requires stitches. Using a special tool, your dentist creates a small hole in the gumline (hence the name) and then lifts and expands your gums closer to their original position on your teeth. The elastic nature of the gum tissue works very well with this. Biomaterial, such as collagen strips, are packed into the gum tissue to promote healing and hold the tissue in its new position.
The benefits of PST include:
Usually, recovery time is limited – the pinhole heals on its own, and you eventually go about your business with an improved smile.
Is PST right for you? Are there any concerns for your situation? Please contact the Placerville Dental Group for more information on this new technique and a consultation to determine if you qualify for this treatment for gum recession.