Patients that have gums that are receding can feel self-conscious about making appearances in public or holding intimate conversations with friends and family. As their gums recede, it exposes more and more of the root of your teeth. The roots of your teeth can often be discolored, and the appearance of longer teeth can be a constant thought for many patients.
Previously, patients didn’t have many feasible options for treatment. Left untreated, gum recession continued to expose the vulnerable roots of the teeth to infection. Patients with moderate or severe gum recession even found that they lost their natural teeth at a higher rate than other people. Some patients used skin grafts, where the skin was pulled from the soft palate of the mouth, and then replaced and sewn into place underneath the existing skin of the gums. Unfortunately, this procedure was very specialized and incredibly painful.
Fortunately, modern dentistry now offers the Chao Pinhole Technique. This method is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t involve any cutting, grafting or placement of new skin. Instead, the Chao Pinhole Technique uses the existing gum tissue and helps to reshape and push it further up the teeth. This technique can improve your gumline, appears more natural than skin grafting, and requires shorter recovery time than other methods of gum recession treatment.
The Actual Technique
The Chao Pinhole Technique places a small needle through the upper portion of the gums. Through this tiny hole, small, specialized instruments are inserted. These instruments help to loosen the gum from their existing attachment sites on the teeth. Once the gums have been freed, the gums are gently expanded, and then pushed further up the tooth to cover the roots of the teeth. The gums are then held in place with collagen strips. The strips are inserted through the pinhole and placed in strategic locations that help keep the gums in place as they naturally heal in their new location and give you the full gumline that you used to have.
Advantages of Chao Pinhole Technique
One of the biggest benefits of this technique is the ability of your dentist to treat many more teeth and a much larger area in a single appointment. The specialized tools can move into different areas through a single pinhole site. Of course, if new pinhole sites are required, the placement of a pinhole is so fast, that it does not prohibit your dentist from making that determination quickly.
While your dentist may schedule you for multiple appointments, typical treatment does not last more than a year, which is very different from skin graft procedures.
This technique offers less time in the dental chair, reduced postoperative healing time, less postoperative pain, increased satisfaction with the results, and less chance of insurance restrictions.
With all of these benefits, the Chao Pinhole Technique is gaining rapid acceptance by both patients and dentists for the treatment of gum recession.
Unfortunately, Chao Pinhole procedures aren’t right for everybody. Root coverage using this technique is less assured for patients who have advanced bone loss in the same area that they are trying to attach the gums. This has to do with the gums having more ability to freely move around the mouth than in patients with more bone material. Additional bone material helps to hold the gums and the collagen strips in place and produces more predictable patient outcomes.
Additionally, patients who have gum recession as a result of behavioral issues, like overbrushing, or poor dental hygiene fail to see great results if the same behaviors persist. Proper education can help these patients have better long-term outcomes.
If you are suffering from gum loss but don’t know your options, schedule an appointment today at Ironwood Dental to discuss the Chao Pinhole approach with your dentist. With all the benefits, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for you.