Gum recession affects upwards of 50% of adults and becomes more prevalent and damaging as age increases. Aside from being unsightly, exposed roots often cause sensitivity and are very prone to getting cavities. When the margin of the gum tissue that protects the teeth wears away, pockets or gaps form between the teeth and the gums allowing bacteria to build up and destroy teeth. As the gums recede, so too does the underlying bone that supports the teeth and tooth loss can ultimately occur. Other warning signs include teeth that appear “longer”, notches in the teeth at the gum line as well as unattractive staining.
There are several reasons that gums recede. Either due to genetics, lack of regular dental care, or poor home care, bacterial gum disease, (periodontal disease), is the leading cause of recession. Aggressive brushing, especially with a stiff toothbrush, abrades the gums. Diabetes, tobacco products, clenching and grinding are other contributing factors. Hormonal changes put women at greater risk during pregnancy and menopause. Usually, it is a combination of risk factors.
What is the solution? Traditional gum grafts have been used successfully for many years, and although effective, these procedures are followed by several days of significant discomfort. Also, if there are several areas of recession, several surgeries using scalpels and sutures will be required. In recent years, however, the development of the Pinhole™ Surgical Technique, or PST™ by Dr. John Chao in Los Angeles has proven to be a safe and effective alternative. I have been following the clinical studies for about 3 years now and I’m now convinced that PST™ is not only an alternative treatment to painful grafting, it my even be superior to it! This year, I travelled to Los Angeles and completed intensive training with Dr. Chao himself. National television shows such as “The Dr. Steve Show”, “The Doctors”, (view on YouTube: “Rocio on The Doctors show”), NBC, (view on YouTube: “Lorraine pinhole surgical technique on NBC”), and ABC, (view on YouTube: “Joyce pinhole surgical technique on ABC”), feature Dr. Chao and his technique.
The term, pinhole comes from the fact that the whole procedure is done through tiny pinholes, (basically a very small scale laparoscopic surgery). Through the small holes, specially designed PST™ instruments are used to gently loosen the gum and glide it over the receded teeth. As there is no cutting and suturing, there is minimal post-operative pain or swelling and patients are pleasantly surprised by the instant cosmetic improvement. Patients are able to resume normal activities within 24-48 hours.
The benefits of the Pinhole™ method are numerous: Multiple sites can be treated in as little as one session. Minimal discomfort and swelling as the method is scalpel, suture and graft free…most often, only over the counter pain pills are needed post operatively. Long term results per extensive studies. In most cases, the pinholes heal in 24 hours. Can prevent tooth loss and the need for costly procedures such as implants and dentures in the future. Treatment sessions can be completed in as little as 2 hours on average. Can yield a more youthful and attractive smile! And lastly, patients describe, “feeling happier” and more confident with ugly areas of recession resolved.