Pinhole Surgery for Gum Recession


Receding gums, also known as gingival recession, is a very common condition, especially among adults over the age of 65. 88% of people over 65 years of age experience some form of gingival recession in at least one tooth, it is of no surprise that this is a dental issue that comes up frequently in conversation. Currently, the most common way that gingival recession is treated is through soft-tissue grafting. While this is the traditional method, many patients steer clear of the treatment because of the fact that soft-tissue grafting can be painful and can be a relatively lengthy process if multiple teeth are affected by gingival recession. The Pinhole Surgical Technique is an alternative treatment to receding gums that is faster, not nearly as painful, and shows great promise as a long-term solution to dealing with receding gums.


Gingival recession is, essentially, the technical term for when gum tissue deteriorates and exposes more of the tooth. Problems arise because the more that the gums recede, the higher the likelihood is that the tooth’s root will be exposed. This creates pain, sensitivity, and over time can result in the loss of the teeth affected. There are numerous reasons why gums recede. Genetics play a big role in determining susceptibility to things like periodontal disease (also known as gum disease), which is the leading cause of gum recession. If left untreated, gum disease results in the loss of teeth and other more alarming health issues. Aside from periodontal disease, gingival recession can also be caused by the lack of proper dental care. Adversely, it can be caused by too much brushing of the teeth or by brushing the teeth in a forceful, extreme manner.


The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a minimally invasive alternative to treating gingival recession. Unlike soft-tissue grafting, this technique begins by creating a pinhole in the gum tissue that is receding. One the pinhole has been created, a device is placed into the hole. This device peels and stretches the gum into a healthier and more suitable position on the tooth (in layman’s terms, the gums are brought downward). Once the gum tissue is in the desired position, a dentist inserts collagen strips into the pinhole in the gums. While soft-tissue grafting uses stitches to keep the gums in place, these strips keep the gums in place in a much more minimally invasive way and help to create new tissue that will ultimately secure the gums in their new location.


One of the big reasons many people are starting to opt for the Pinhole Surgical Technique over more traditional treatment methods is because this technique can address multiple locations in one sitting. Grafting, on the other hand, requires multiple sessions if multiple teeth are affected by gingival recession. The Pinhole Surgical Technique allows a patient to have their full mouth treated at once which saves them time and money in the long run. Another advantage to the Pinhole Surgical Technique is that the healing process is not as long, nor is it as painful, as the more traditional methods for treating this particular dental issue.


When considering the Pinhole Surgical Technique, it is important to determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. Your dentist or periodontist will have the final say, but there are certain factors that usually make or break a person’s candidacy for the Pinhole Surgical Technique. If your receding gums are more of an aesthetic issue than they are a dental health issue, the Pinhole Surgical Technique is a viable and worthwhile option. If there is tooth sensitivity present due to receding gums, but the cause is not due to an active bout of periodontal disease, a person can opt for this modern treatment option. If you do not smoke or vow to quit smoking, you are also a great candidate for this procedure. It should be noted that if you are interested in the Pinhole Surgical Technique, you must be in good health; this applies to your dental health as well. If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you will likely not be a candidate for this technique. If you do not have an ample amount of gum tissue to use for the technique, your dentist will not be able to perform the procedure as a certain amount of gum tissue is required for the technique to be successful.

Dr. Javdan is a board certified periodontist specializing in implant placement and various periodontal surgeries including using Pinhole technique to restore receding gum line.