Pinhole surgical technique: How a single visit can stop receding gums
Up to half of the adult population in the U.S. suffer from receded gums, which threatens their ability to keep their teeth. In the past, stopping gum recession in order to prevent tooth loss and to give cosmetic improvements required soft-tissue grafts. These grafts required extended recovery times and sutures, and some people who needed them avoided getting the work completed because of the fear of pain. Pioneered by Dr. John Chao, the pinhole surgical technique is a minimally invasive surgical technique that offers minimal pain and that can be performed in a single office visit to correct receded gums and to give cosmetic improvements.
What is pinhole surgery?
Pinhole surgery is a minimally invasive procedure in which a syringe needle is used to make small pinholes above the teeth that require treatment. Collagen strips are then inserted through the pinholes to hold the gums in place. The gums are then gently pulled down over the teeth to the correct position. This technique offers results that are similar to those obtained through soft tissue grafts but with less downtime and pain.
How does the pinhole surgical technique work?
When people get pinhole surgery to correct gum recession, they can choose to treat all of their affected teeth in one appointment or to instead divide up their treatments according to the quadrants that require treatment. The dentists may use local anesthetics to numb the gums. They will then use syringe needles to make the pinholes in the tissue above the teeth that need treatment and insert the collagen strips. The receded gums are then gently pulled down to their correct placement over the teeth. Each tooth that is treated only takes a couple of minutes, meaning that the entire treatment process may take just an hour or two.
What are the advantages of pinhole surgery over soft-tissue grafts?
In soft-tissue grafting, the gum tissue is taken from one area of the mouth and moved to the area that needs treatment. The graft is then sutured into place. Some patients avoid gum grafts even when they need them to save their teeth because of fears that they have of surgery and of getting sutures. Pinhole surgery is minimally invasive and does not require grafting. There are no sutures or incisions that are required. Instead, the dentist simply makes small pinholes in the gum tissue above or below the teeth that need treatment and then loosens the gums so that they can be pulled into place over the exposed parts of the teeth. They also offer immediate results and do not require time to heal before people see the improvements.
People who have receding gums may need to take corrective measures so that they can stop the recession and save their teeth. The pinhole surgical technique may be an excellent option for patients to choose over gum grafts. They may complete the treatment in a single visit, enjoy minimal pain and see the cosmetic improvements immediately.