In October of 2012, The International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry published a 33-month study involving 43 patients with 121 gum recessions using the Pinhole Surgical Technique. This new technique invented and patented by Los Angeles dentist Dr. John Chao - is a minimally invasive option for treating receding gums without the pain and recovery time required with gum grafting surgery. The results of the study were as successful as traditional gum grafting procedures, which require cutting and sutures, while patients who underwent the Pinhole Surgical Technique reported virtually no pain, no bleeding and high satisfaction with a rapid transformation of the defective gum line.
Dr. Christian S. Berdy is among the first periodontists in Jacksonville, Fla. to be trained in the Pinhole Surgical Technique.
Receding gums make anyone look older and two of the end results are tooth sensitivity and tooth loss. Recession can be caused by gum disease, excessive tooth brushing or just normal aging. What have some of your patients experienced before they decided to get treated for receding gums?
BERDY: Many people are unaware of the condition until their teeth become sensitive to cold temperatures because of root exposure. Others may be concerned by the unsightly appearance of their receding gums.
A standard treatment for receding gums has been gum grafting surgery. This is considered by some as a painful and invasive procedure in which a selection of gum tissue must be cut out of the palate then sewn on to the affected area. Are there any other downsides to this type of treatment?
BERDY: Because of the pain and recovery time, dentists can usually treat only one or two teeth at a time. Then patients have to wait to heal before we can treat any additional teeth. For some patients, the treatment process could take months or even years.
How is the Chao Pinhole Rejuvenation Treatment Process different?
BERDY: The area of gum recession is numbed with a local anesthetic and depending on the number of recessions to be treated, one or two small entry points about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen are made in the gum area near the tooth or teeth to be treated.
What happens next?
BERDY: A small, specially-designed dental instrument is inserted into the entry point to loosen the gum tissues and move them back into a normal, healthy position. Then tiny collagen strips are placed through the entry point under the gums. The collagen helps to keep the gums in place during the healing process.
How long does this treatment take?
BERDY: The treatment takes about 20 minutes to an hour or so, depending on the number of teeth treated. The entry site quickly heals and the pinhole is virtually undetectable the next day with no downtime needed for healing. Some patients may experience mild swelling, which dissipates in a few days.