Receding gums is a common dental problem in those over 65. In fact, it’s estimated that around 88% of all dental patients of this age experience some type of gingival recession. Up until a decade ago, if you asked a dentist how to fix receding gums, they would tell you that the most successful way of dealing with gum recession was through soft tissue (gum) grafting.
The issue with this type of receding gums treatment is that can be a painful and lengthy process, especially if more than one tooth is affected. Thankfully, there is an alternative and one that is faster, more comfortable, and shows great promise as a long-term solution – the pinhole surgery technique!
Before we get into the ins and outs of this ground-breaking technique, it’s worth taking a closer look at what causes receding gums and why they occur.
Gingival Recession – Causes and Effects
Gingival recession is the term used for a process whereby the soft tissue surrounding the tooth recedes exposing more of the tooth.
So why is this a problem?
Quite simply because the more the gum recedes the more likelihood of the tooth root becoming exposed. When this happens the tooth can become sensitive and painful to brush and may eventually result in the loss of the tooth.
So why do gums recede?
A leading cause of receding gums is periodontal disease. This is an advanced form of gum disease that if left untreated can result in the loss of a tooth or teeth. Aside from periodontal disease, gum recession can also be caused by improper dental care such as extreme or forceful brushing.
Receding Gums Treatment
The old (and still much used) way of treating receding gums is through a process known as a gingival (gum) graft. It is in effect an invasive surgical process that involves the removal of soft tissue from one part of the mouth (normally your palate) and grafting it onto the recession site (the missing gum).
The advantage of this type of surgical treatment is that it has been practiced for decades and is therefore proven. The disadvantages as already mentioned are that if you factor in recovery time, it can be quite a lengthy and uncomfortable process.
How To Fix Receding Gums With Pinhole Surgery?
Unlike conventional gum grafting which involves creating two surgical sites (the removal of soft tissue from the palate and the grafting of the tissue on the gum), the pinhole technique deals purely with the gum area.
So how does this type of receding gums treatment work?
As the name suggests, a tiny hole (pinhole) is created in the gum. Next, a special instrument/device is inserted through the hole created which peels and stretches the gum into its new position. Then via the same tiny hole, a collagen strip or membrane is inserted. This helps to keep the gum tissue in its new position while encouraging new tissue growth over a relatively short period of time. The whole process should take no longer than one hour and can be applied to several teeth at once.
What Are The Advantages of the Pinhole Surgery Technique (PST)?
PST has several major advantages or benefits over conventional gum surgery. These include:
- No cutting necessary – Because there is no need to cut or remove any part of the receding gum, there are no incisions required.
- No sutures – No incisions means no sutures. Instead, gum tissue is held in place by a collagen membrane.
- Minimal discomfort – Unlike most gum surgery techniques patients experience minimal discomfort and swelling using PST.
- Instantly noticeable results – the Pinhole Surgery Technique provides a speedy and noticeable cosmetic improvement. The small entry point should barely be noticeable and any trace should disappear from view within a day or two at most.
- Pinhole surgery saves time and money – You might think that technological advancements like PST costs more money but the opposite is true. Pinhole surgery allows a patient to have their full mouth treated at once. This saves both healing time and money in the process.
How To Fix Receding Gums – Are You A Good Candidate for Pinhole Surgery?
Like many dental procedures (and pinhole surgery is no exception) it won’t be a suitable treatment for every patient. Therefore, it’s important to determine whether it is both practical and safe to proceed with this particular type of receding gums treatment in your case. Of course, your dentist or periodontist will (and should) have the final say, but there are certain criteria which might make or break a patients candidacy.
You are likely to be a good candidate if you…
- Have receding gums that are more of an aesthetic issue rather than one that is driven by a dental health problem such as gum disease.
- Have tooth sensitivity due to receding gums that isn’t due to an active bout of gum disease.
- Do not smoke or vow to quit smoking for good, before treatment begins.
- Are in good overall health and dental health.
Alternatively, you are unlikely to be a candidate for contemporary receding gums treatment if…
- You have been currently diagnosed with periodontal disease – This will need to be treated first (usually with treatments like pocket depth reduction)
- You have lost too much gum tissue and therefore don’t have enough remaining tissue to work with.
- You are a current smoker and you want to continue to smoke or can’t quit.
If you want to know how to fix receding gums, then come and talk to the team at Beyond Infinity Dental in Castle Hill about how we can help.