What is the Pinhole Surgical Technique?

Pinhole gum surgery vs. the graft technique; new treatment for receding gums that is minimally invasiveBefore the Pinhole Technique was commonly used, the best way to treat gingival recession (or receding gum line) caused by gum disease was with traditional gum grafting. This required a surgical procedure that would take a section of tissue from the roof of your mouth and graft it onto the existing receding gums in order to make a more natural gum line. This would be done with sutures and required incisions in the existing gum.

Because of the time, expense, and pain involved many patients avoided following up on their receding gums. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to address gum disease the greater your risk for tooth loss, causing more pain and more expense required to repair the damage.

Thankfully, there is now a new technique available to treat gum recession called the Pinhole Surgical Technique. A minimally invasive procedure, PST is also sometimes called the Lunchtime Gum Lift because of the quick recovery time and minimal postoperative discomfort involved. PST does not require grafts to be taken from the roof of your mouth; instead, a small pinhole is made in your gum in the vicinity of the receding tissue and a special tool is inserted to gently loosen the existing gum tissue. That tissue is then lifted and pulled down to cover the exposed bone and form a natural looking gum line. Another unique feature of PST is that sutures are not used to secure the gum. Rather than traditional stitching, special collagen strips are utilized. Resorbable collagen pieces called “Bio-Gide” anchor the loosened gum into place until they reattach themselves in the natural position. No stitches are left behind and the mouth looks natural and back to normal moments after the procedure is done.

Because of the less invasive nature of this technique, a patient can have as many areas of the mouth treated at once as they like. With traditional grafting it can take up to a year to do an entire mouth. PST allows a mouth to be done in a single sitting if so desired. Not only is the procedure easier and less painful, it also requires significantly less chair time overall.

Aside from these benefits, possibly the most important one is a shorter hesitation time. Time lost is gum loss—and can even be tooth loss—so it’s important that once you are diagnosed with receding gums the solution is to make sure you follow-up so as not to increase damage. The idea that receding gums can be treated with less pain and a quicker recovery period is a great thing not only for periodontists but also for the patients they treat.