The Many Benefits of the Pinhole Technique in Restoring Your Gum Health

Receding gums may not seem like a major health problem. But actually, gum recession is one of the first signs of gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults.

Don’t think you have gum disease? You might be surprised — gum disease often causes no symptoms or very subtle symptoms during its early stages, which means you might not know you have it until your tooth roots are affected and weakened.

For years, traditional gum graft surgery was the standard treatment to repair receded gums, removing tissue from one part of your mouth and transplanting it to the area of recession. 

While traditional surgery can be effective, it uses incisions and sutures, and that means discomfort and a relatively long healing time. 

As a top-ranked family dentist in San Francisco, Nataly Vilderman, DDS, uses the much-less-invasive pinhole gum rejuvenation technique to treat gum disease. Here’s how the pinhole technique works.

Why receding gums are a problem

Gum recession may seem like a natural part of getting older, but there’s really nothing natural about it. The main reasons your gums recede as you age have more to do with years of wear-and-tear and a buildup of plaque and tartar than any aging of your gums and teeth. 

Over time, gum irritation causes the tissue to pull back from the tooth surfaces, creating pockets that allow bacteria to move toward the root pocket, where they can cause infection, weak roots, and tooth loss.

While receding gums may become more common with age, years of wear-and-tear, and less-than-perfect oral hygiene are just a couple of the causes. Being too aggressive with your brushing can irritate your gums and cause them to pull back.

Diabetes, dry mouth, smoking, and other issues can also increase your risks of gum recession and periodontal disease.

Regardless of what causes receding gums, the result is the same: When your gums move backward toward the tooth root, they expose more of the tooth surface, and that means tooth decay and root infections become a lot more common.

How the pinhole technique works

Unlike traditional gum grafting, the pinhole technique uses a tiny opening and special instruments to access the deeper layers of gum tissue. Dr. Vilderman creates a tiny flap of tissue that she can lift and reposition over the exposed part of your tooth. 

She uses very small strips of collagen to hold the flap in place and protect the tissue while it heals. 

The pinhole technique offers lots of benefits compared to traditional gum grafting:

And because the pinhole technique is so much less invasive than traditional gum grafting surgery, you can have several teeth treated in one visit without worrying about multiple office visits, multiple incision sites, and multiple prolonged recovery times.

Don’t let gum disease ruin your smile

Gum disease typically causes few (or no) symptoms until more serious damage has been done. Even a minor amount of gum recession can leave plenty of room for damaging bacteria to enter your root pockets, setting the stage for infection, root damage, and eventual tooth loss.

Get treatment early to prevent infection and permanent tooth loss. 

If you have receding gums or even if it’s just been a while since your last checkup, call us or use our online tool to book an appointment today at our San Francisco, California office. We serve patients in the city’s Parkmerced, West Portal, and Outer Sunset neighborhoods.

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