Believe it or don’t, but in a world of constant change, there are still some things that don’t. Death. Taxes. A majority of Americans who don’t like how their smiles look – even to the point of never showing their teeth in pictures or always covering their mouths when they laugh.
One of the most common reasons for this? Gum recession.
Gum Recession Isn’t Just a Cosmetic Problem
A lot of things can cause your gums to recede. Sometimes, it’s an effect of brushing your teeth too hard or with too hard of a brush. Sometimes, it’s an effect of gum disease. Vaping, smoking, and tobacco use can damage the gums in this way, as can oral piercings. Misaligned teeth and bruxing (habitual grinding) can also lead to gum recession.
Receding gums expose some of the tooth roots, which are darker in color than enamel. That two-tone look in a smile isn’t exactly popular. More importantly, it’s not just a cosmetic concern.
Because the roots aren’t covered with enamel like the crowns of your teeth, nerve endings are more accessible. You may experience sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet sensations in areas where your gums have pulled back.
Your risk of tooth decay – including decay below the gum line – and worsening gum disease goes way up, as well. In some cases, recession can pave the way for tooth mobility, bone loss, and, thus, even tooth loss.
Tissue Grafts Aren’t the Only Option for Recessed Gums
The traditional fix for gum recession has been tissue grafting. This involves harvesting tissue from the roof of the patient’s mouth, then suturing it over the areas of recession. It’s effective, but it’s also invasive. It can be a lot for a patient to handle, involving at least two surgical sites and a week of waiting for the stitches to dissolve or fall out at both sites.
But grafting is no longer the only option available. In our office, we offer a far less invasive and extremely effective alternative called the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique. It can have your smile looking great again in as little as 24 hours, no cutting or stitches required.
How Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Works
As its name suggests, the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique involves making very small holes in your gums. These access points are just large enough for the dentist to insert a special instrument to loosen and move gum tissue to cover any areas of recession. Small collagen strips are then placed at the sites to stabilize the tissues as they heal.
Here, you can take a look at how it’s done – and how it compares to conventional grafting:
Our patients who have had Chao Pinhole Surgery experience less pain, swelling, and bleeding than are typical with grafting. They find it more convenient, too. Multiple sites can be treated in a single appointment, quickly and comfortably.
Healing is usually speedy, as well, yet science has shown the results to be lasting. For instance, one study of five cases found that Pinhole Surgery “resulted in overall root coverage of 96.7% after 6-month follow-up with minimal complications” and excellent aesthetics.
Addressing the Cause, as Well as the Symptom
Of course, there’s more that you can do as a patient to make sure the results last: address what caused the gum recession to begin with.
That can mean improved nutrition and gentler, more effective hygiene. It can mean appliance therapy to alleviate clenching or grinding. It can mean kicking a tobacco or vaping habit, or correcting a misaligned bite.
And that’s another part of what we do here at the Holistic Dental Center: identify root causes and help you address them so you get the maximum benefit from the treatment we provide. Instead of a Band-Aid approach, we offer support for real healing and a healthier future while correcting the immediate problem.