Pinhole Surgical Technique®: San Francisco, CA patients consider the cost and benefits
The term “long in the tooth” indicates the effects of aging on a smile. While adult teeth do not continue to grow, they look longer when gum tissue pulls away, exposing more tooth structure. For individuals with this condition, Dr. Leo Arellano suggests the Pinhole Surgical Technique® at his San Francisco, CA office for its affordable cost and the appearance and health benefits.
Causes of gum recession
Gingival recession is loss of soft tissue, as it shrinks away from teeth. It isn’t necessarily age-related. Gum recession can happen at any point in life, to a small area of the mouth or an entire arch.
Receding gums may be caused by:
- Gum disease – Gingivitis and periodontitis are the leading causes of receding gums. When harmful oral bacteria are not removed with good daily hygiene, plaque hardens into tartar at the gum line. Soft tissues become irritated and inflamed. As infected gums lose their seal to teeth, pockets are created, and gums recede to expose tooth roots.
- Forceful brushing – Overbrushing with a hard toothbrush or unnecessarily vigorous technique pushes gums back.
- A stressful or imbalanced bite.
- Injury to teeth or gums from trauma or rough dental treatment.
- Crooked teeth create niches that are difficult to keep clean.
- Aggressive orthodontics – trying to twist or move teeth too quickly or too far.
- Lip piercings, which chronically irritate gum tissue.
- Heredity – Thin gums run in some families, and they are at higher risk for recession.
More than an aesthetic issue
Crowns of teeth are protected with a hard layer of glossy, white enamel. It helps to resist tooth decay and damage. Dentin is beneath enamel. This rigid structure safeguards nerves and blood vessels at the center of teeth.
Tooth roots are not covered with enamel. When they are exposed by gum recession, problems cascade:
- Dentin is not pearly white – Its yellowish color is not attractive in the smile.
- Because dentin is porous, temperature sensations reach nerves more easily. Teeth become sensitive to hot and cold beverages, and even quickly indrawn breath.
- Without the protection of enamel, root structure is susceptible to acid attack, resulting in tooth decay at the gum line. This adds to the appearance of discoloration.
- Receding gums allow bacteria to penetrate deeper. Gingivitis advances to periodontitis, breaking down connective tissue and bone that holds teeth in place. Eventually, teeth loosen and must be extracted or fall out.
- Periodontitis becomes a systemic disorder, with bacteria triggering inflammation throughout the body. Those with advanced gum disease are at elevated risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other serious health conditions.
In the past, treatment consisted largely of addressing symptoms. Topical desensitizing agents were applied, and exposed roots covered with composite resin bonding material. The only way to rejuvenate gum tissue was with invasive gingival grafts. Healthy tissue was taken from another region of the mouth and stitched into place to correct the gum margin, resulting in two surgical sites. This method is painful and requires a considerable healing period.
The Pinhole Surgical Technique® used by Dr. Arellano provides immediate results with minimal healing time. No scalpel or sutures are used, and only local numbing is needed. The doctor uses a fine needle to create a pinhole. Through this access point, he uses special instruments to loosen gum tissue and reposition it, covering exposed root surfaces. Tiny collagen strips are inserted to stabilize the gum flap and encourage natural production of additional collagen to fortify gums.
Comparing cost and value
The cost of the Pinhole Surgical Technique® is about the same as traditional gum graft surgery, but with many advantages that add to the value of treatment:
- The procedure is much quicker, and any number of teeth can be treated in one appointment.
- It is minimally-invasive and non-traumatic. Patients experience little or no bleeding.
- No downtime. There are no open wounds, and pinholes generally close in a day or two.
- There is little discomfort during the procedure or afterward.
- Results are attractively natural-looking.
- Change is seen right away, and improvement continues as the body produces new collagen in gum tissue.
- Results are long-lasting with proper oral hygiene and with the management of stressful bite forces and loose teeth.
Individuals with gum recession are encouraged to consider the Pinhole Surgical Technique® cost and benefits. San Francisco, CA dentist, Dr. Leo Arellano, is eager to answer questions and provide more information. Call 415-881-4343 to schedule a consultation.