One of the most common problems seen in dental offices is gingival recession, more commonly known as receding gums. While most common among adults over the age of 65, some people are born with a genetic predisposition to gingival recession earlier in life. Today, the most common treatment method for this condition is soft-tissue grafting. However, more periodontal experts are recognizing the pinhole surgical technique as a safer, more effective treatment method.
In Asheville, NC, Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS is proud to be on the cutting edge of periodontic treatment. She strongly believes that the pinhole surgical technique is the future of gingival recession treatment.
What Is the Pinhole Surgical Technique?
The pinhole surgical technique is a less invasive, more comfortable alternative to gingival recession treatment than soft-tissue grafting. During treatment, Dr. Willoughby creates a pinhole in the receding gum tissue. Then, a device is carefully inserted into the hole which peels and stretches the gum into a healthier, lower position.
After the gum tissue is in place, collagen strips are inserted into the pinhole in the gums. These strips are used to keep the gums in place in a much less invasive way than the stitches required with soft-tissue grafting.
Does This Procedure Hurt?
This “procedure” does not require any incisions or sutures. With not much more than the prick of a needle, your collagen-rich gums can be moved down to cover exposed roots. You will feel the needle pierce your gum tissue, but the procedure is not painful and does not require any prescription painkillers.
What Aftercare Steps Need to Be Taken?
After treatment, your daily routine will barely change. All you need to do is avoid brushing and flossing for the first 24 hours after treatment to give the pinhole time to close. You’ll cleanse your mouth with a prescription mouthwash during this time You may also want to eat soft foods, like oatmeal and bananas, for the first 24 hours.
How Should I Prepare for This Procedure?
After Dr. Willoughby has assessed your teeth and health and determined you are a good candidate for this procedure, you need to start thinking about preparation. During your initial consultation, should you be a good fit for this procedure, she will review all necessary aftercare steps and diagnose the cause of your gum recession.
To prepare for pinhole surgery, schedule a professional cleaning the week before your surgery date. It is essential that your teeth be clean before the procedure is performed. You must also ensure that you have a ride to and from your appointment. You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the treatment site to ensure comfort, and this anesthesia may affect your motor skills. You should not drive within 24 hours of receiving local anesthesia.
What Are the Advantages of This Technique?
One of the most compelling benefits of the pinhole surgical technique is that several locations can easily be treated in one session. With soft-tissue grafting, you will need to come in for multiple appointments if several teeth are affected by your receding gum line. Coming in for multiple treatment sessions will cost you a significant amount of time and money over the course of your treatment.
Also of note is that, because the pinhole technique is so much less invasive than soft-tissue grafting, the recovery is much shorter and more comfortable, even if you’re having multiple teeth treated. It can take a week or two to fully recover from soft-tissue grafting. It only takes around 24 hours to fully recover from pinhole surgery and return to your normal routine.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
There are several factors to consider when determining if you are a good candidate for the pinhole surgical technique. If your gingival recession is more of a cosmetic concern than a dental health issue, there is an excellent chance that you are a good candidate for this procedure. Moreover, you may be a good candidate if your receding gums are causing you tooth sensitivity but you do not suffer from periodontal disease.
Moreover, you must be a non-smoker or committed to never smoking again to be considered a candidate for this procedure. Tobacco use will continue to damage your gums and negate the effects of the procedure. Over time, you will no longer have enough gum tissue left for this technique to be successful in the future. Finally, you should be in good general health.
How Can I Prevent Gingival Recession?
The leading cause of gingival recession is periodontal disease. While genetics play a massive role in whether someone will develop periodontal disease or not, good oral hygiene can help protect you from receding gums in the future.
To mitigate your risk of your gums receding in the future, it is important to practice preventive dental care. This means gently brushing your teeth three times per day and flossing your teeth daily. Moreover, you should stop consuming any form of tobacco or nicotine-containing products. Finally, seek professional help to stop you from grinding your teeth. Also known as bruxism, grinding your teeth regularly is a common cause of gingival recession.
Learn More About Gingival Recession Treatment Today
Gingival recession is a medical condition that affects 88% of people over the age of 65. Often, more than one tooth is affected. If you have not been diagnosed with periodontal disease, multiple teeth are affected by gingival recession, and you are committed to avoiding tobacco products, the pinhole surgical technique may be right for you. To learn more, contact Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS in Asheville, NC to schedule your initial consultation.