Receding gums can happen to anyone, including people with good oral hygiene. According to the American Dental Association, diverse factors cause recession, including irregular tooth position, heredity factors, periodontal disease, smoking or chewing tobacco, hormonal changes, and grinding or clenching of teeth. When the gum tissue, or gingiva, is pulled back, hard-to-clean pockets develop causing bacteria to build up leading to gum disease and possible tooth loss.
Until recently, treatment for receding gums required a painful tissue graft surgery. This surgery involves replacing the receding gum tissue with tissue from the roof of the mouth, leaving sutures in two places. Since only one or two teeth can be treated at a time, multiple procedures may be necessary.
The Pinhole® Surgical Technique is the latest advancement available to patients. Rather than using tissue grafts, a dentist will use a needle to create a tiny hole and insert instruments to gently maneuver the gum tissue back into place, reconnecting it to the tooth. The gums are held in place with small strips of collagen.
So what does this mean for the patient? No scalpel, stitches or long, painful recovery. According to the International Journal of Periodontics & Restorative Dentistry, this technique allows multiple sites to be treated simultaneously in significantly less time. Recovery is generally easy; however, for the first 6 weeks post-op patients should refrain from brushing, flossing or touching the surgical site. After that period, hygiene care can include using a soft toothbrush (with a rolling technique, from vestibule down) and flossing without touching the gum. Avoid the use of electric toothbrushes for at least 6 months. The tissue below the surface may take a few months to return to its former condition.
According to Dr. Richard Whalen at Dental Design Studio in Poughkeepsie, “in the past, patients would put off taking care of their receding gums, afraid of painful operations. Now they have no reason to let themselves become ‘long in the tooth.’ They can come in for a much more comfortable procedure and quickly bring back healthy gums and a youthful smile.” Dr. Whalen is skilled in performing this advanced, minimally invasive procedure, and he has been caring for patients’ oral health for over 25 years. He and his friendly team at Dental Design Studio are committed to providing the most up-to-date procedures with state-of-the-art technology to ensure exceptional care and comfort for his patients.
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