Pinhole Gum Surgery: Treatment for Gum Recession

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If you frequently brush your teeth too hard, have suffered injury to your gums, have gum disease, use tobacco products or contend with other medical or genetic factors, you might experience gum recession, as the American Dental Association (ADA) notes.

When your gums recede, it can expose the roots of your teeth. As a Cochrane review article explains, this can increase your risk for cavities in the roots of your teeth. The ADA also observes that gum recession can make your teeth sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Luckily, there are treatments available for receding gums, including pinhole gum surgery.

What Is the Pinhole Surgical Technique?

The pinhole surgical technique‚ also known as pinhole gum surgery, is one treatment option for gum recession. It is a minimally invasive technique to manage gum recession without surgical stitches, as a case review in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology (JISP) explains. During the procedure, your dental professional makes a small incision in your gums above the recessed area. Then, they move the gum tissue further down and secure it to cover the exposed tooth structure.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pinhole Gum Surgery

Pinhole gum surgery does not require stitches or scalpels, as other treatments do, according to an article in Dental Economics. It can often be completed on multiple teeth in a single session‚ unlike other techniques, which may take over a year. As the JISP case review reports, root coverage has been successful in 96.7% of cases. Additionally, 95% of surveyed patients were highly satisfied with the aesthetic outcome of their treatment.

As this is a surgical procedure, recovering patients may experience minor bleeding and swelling, and several days of discomfort that can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. Furthermore, not everyone is a candidate for the pinhole surgical technique. In order for the treatment to be successful, notes the Dental Economics article, the patient must have no active gum disease or inflammation. This requires the patient to be meticulous with their oral care routine. Because every case of gum recession is different, this procedure may not be the optimal treatment for everyone.

Alternative Gum Recession Treatments

If you are not a candidate for pinhole gum surgery, there are alternative treatment options. As the Mayo Clinic notes, your dentist may recommend flap surgery, also known as pocket reduction surgery. During this type of procedure, your dentist cuts a flap in the gum and folds it back to clean the surface underneath. Afterward, the gum tissue is sutured back into place.

Another option is taking a soft tissue graft from the roof of your mouth or another site to help cover the exposed tooth roots. This procedure aims to stimulate tissue production by placing biocompatible material on the damaged tissue or bone surface. A similar method involves applying a special gel to the affected root to help new tissue grow.

When considering gum recession repairs, look into pinhole gum surgery for a minimally invasive option. Because of its high success rate and reduced treatment time, it is worth asking your dentist if you are a candidate for this procedure.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions For ADULTS 55+

  • Gum disease
    This potentially serious condition occurs when the gum tissues surrounding teeth become infected because of a buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is recognizable by swollen, red or bleeding gums. Gum disease is a concern for older adults for a number of reasons, including plaque building up on teeth and gums from not developing proper oral health care habits earlier in life.

  • Tooth or root decay
    Even at 55-plus years, adults can still develop tooth or root decay if gum recession has occurred. It is important for older adults to effectively clean the gums, the teeth and exposed root surfaces to remove dental plaque and food debris.

  • Sensitive teeth
    At some point, we've all tossed back a nice, cold glass of water only to grimace at that sharp, tingling sensation in our teeth. A number of factors cause tooth sensitivity, including brushing too aggressively with a hard-bristled toothbrush, worn tooth enamel, and a cracked or fractured tooth.