Gum recession is the process of your gums slowing moving away from your teeth and exposing the roots. Normally, the gums protect the roots from the bacteria and acids that pass through your mouth. Left exposed, the softer roots are easily destroyed, sometimes leaving solid teeth without a foundation.
Gum recession is caused by multiple factors. One is simply aging. As we get older, we become “long in tooth,” as the saying goes. This reflects the fact that the gums tend to recede the older we become. This recession process is greatly sped up, however, by certain other factors. One is gum disease. Bacterial inflammation often sends the gums in retreat, sometimes rapidly. The other major factor is the use of lip and tongue piercings. As a pierced person goes through their day, the jewelry rubs against the gums, initiating significant recession in a short period of time. Excessive tooth brushing, or brushing with any kind of bristles that are harder than “soft,” can also result cause gums to recede.
No matter what the cause, excessive gum recession generally leads to the eventual decay and loss of teeth. Curing the problem is vital to retain your natural smile and chewing abilities. While grafting new tissue onto the gums with oral surgery has long been the standard treatment in severe cases of gum recession, the Sacramento Dentistry Group now offers the pinhole surgical technique (PST).
To understand why Dr. John Chao invented the PST method for repairing gum recession, you need to understand the primary alternative to this new treatment. Normally, periodontists and other dental professionals use tissue grafts to solve gum recession. Unfortunately, grafting involves the following steps:
Using grafting, dentists typically fix one to three teeth per treatment. If a patient has multiple recession sites, fixing all of them takes a considerable amount of time.
In contrast, with PST you do no cutting and little, if any, suturing. The dentist simply inserts a specialty tool that looks much like a dental probe inside your gum. This creates the “pinhole” mentioned in the name of the procedure. Since gum tissue is somewhat elastic, the dentist lifts and stretches it to reach down to its former location, up against your tooth enamel. The interior of the gum tissue is then packed with a biomaterial that encourages healing and holds the tissue in place. Patients generally feel very little post-procedural pain and return to their typical activities that very day. The gums heal rapidly in a matter of days, instead of the weeks associated with tissue grafts. The biomaterial is simply absorbed and your gums remain in place.
Since PST is easier than tissue grafting, our dentists can treat far more teeth in one twenty to thirty minute procedure. Patients also require little, if any, time off to recuperate. While the cost of the procedure is similar to grafting, more teeth can be treated each time, leading to significant savings with equally effective results. Also, instead of having two painful sites with multiple stitches, PST patients just have a tiny pinhole that heals on its own.
If you have persistent or severe gum recession, the pinhole surgical technique may be right for you. The Sacramento Dentistry Group encourages you to consider this simple procedure before attempting any other surgical solution for receding gums. Our Sacramento dentists are prepared to help you keep your natural smile with the aid of PST!