Examining the Pinhole Surgical Technique -- a New Treatment for Receding Gums

Until recently, the methods for treating severe receding gums involved a tissue graft to cover the exposed root. This procedure required a lengthy recovery and could be painful. It could only be used to repair a few teeth at a time, so repeated procedures were required for multiple teeth. There is now an alternative called the pinhole surgical technique. Read on to find out what it is and whether you should consider it.

What Is the Pinhole Surgical Technique?

The pinhole technique was invented by John Chao and is patented under the name The Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique. The scalpel-free treatment involves no stitching and is minimally invasive. It is performed via a small hole that is made in the upper area of the gum using a needle. The gum tissue is loosened through the hole then repositioned over the teeth. The minimally invasive nature of the procedure means less recovery time and pain for patients. The technique also allows for a whole row of affected teeth to be treated in one go.

What Does the Traditional Soft Tissue Gum Graft Entail?

The traditional surgical treatment for receding gums is the soft tissue grafting procedure. This involves cutting a small section of gingival tissue, usually from the roof of the patient's mouth. This tissue is then sutured onto the receding gum area to cover the exposed tooth root. Donor tissue can be used to perform this procedure, making it less invasive. When tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth, the healing can take over a week, and there may be a lot of post surgical pain. Because the procedure can only be used to treat a few teeth at a time, multiple operations may be necessary for people with a lot of affected teeth.

What Risks Are Involved?

Pinhole surgery poses fewer risks than traditional gum grafting, but there can be complications. These include bleeding, swelling, post-op bruising and infection. Patients can be left with permanent tooth sensitivity and numbness issues that can affect the lips and chin. This is not an exhaustive list and risks should be fully discussed with your dentist before opting for the procedure.

Does It Always Work?

The success of the procedure depends on various factors. The severity of your recession will play a part as well as bone and tissue loss. The success can also be influenced by how well the post-surgical care is observed as well as various medical conditions that you may have. Problems of a dietary and nutritional nature can also influence the outcome of the technique's success. Smoking and alcohol consumption may hinder healing too. If you are to benefit from the long-term success of this technique, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene for the rest of your life.