Pinhole Surgery vs. Gum Graft Surgery
What is the difference between pinhole surgery and gum graft surgery?
Pinhole surgery is a minimally invasive procedure for correcting receding gums that involves a tiny “pinhole” entry point, requiring no cutting or stitches. Gum grafting surgery typically includes removing material from the roof of the mouth, cutting the gums, and suturing the graft material to the receding gums.
Why are these surgeries needed?
Pinhole surgery and gum grafting are used to restore receding gums. When gums recede, it can lead to gum disease/gingivitis, sensitive teeth, and other dental problems.
Causes of gum recession:
- Gum disease, or periodontal disease: the buildup of bacteria on the gums which cause damage to the tissue and bone holding your teeth in place.
- Over-brushing: brushing too aggressively can cause damage to the gums leading to recession.
- Neglecting dental care: failing to brush or floss regularly can lead to a buildup of plaque and tartar, which can then only be removed by visiting the dentist. This leads to a compounding effect of bacterial damage and receding gums.
- Tobacco use: smoking, chewing tobacco, and other products can lead to increased plaque, gum disease, and gum recession.
- Teeth grinding (bruxism): habitual grinding or clenching of teeth, while awake or sleeping, can cause receding gums.
- Misaligned teeth: teeth that are misaligned due to natural reasons or trauma can lead to receding gums.
- Genetics: some people are more likely to develop gum recession due to hereditary factors.
Gums can recede gradually over time, so it can be difficult to notice. Keep an eye out for these symptoms:
Symptoms of gum recession:
- Teeth that appear longer, due to a receding gum line
- Pockets or gaps appearing between the gums and teeth
- Loose teeth
- Teeth that are sensitive to cold or chewing
How does the Pinhole surgical procedure work?
Pinhole surgery is a technique developed by John Chao, DDS, MADG to treat receding gums without cutting or stitching. The procedure includes the following steps:
- A small entry point is made in the gums (the “pinhole”) through which a special dental instrument is placed
- The gums are guided into their correct position
- Collagen strips are inserted to stabilize the gums
The procedure is quick, effective, and leaves the patient with very little post-operative symptoms. The pinhole typically heals overnight.