Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Pinhole Surgical Technique?

The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a way to repair shrinkage through a pinhole in the gum without having to cut. All of the tools and techniques used to perform the Pinhole Surgical TechniqueTM   were created by Dr. John Chao, who trained our doctor.

Why should gum recession be taken seriously?

When gum recession occurs, the root structure of the tooth becomes exposed.  This means that tooth decay and other problems can affect the teeth along the gum line and beneath it. Since healthy gums are essential for a healthy mouth, getting gum recession treated is important for lasting dental wellness.

How long does the standard gum grafting procedure take?

The standard procedure requires cutting out a graft of the gum from the palate and grafting it to where it's needed. This creates two surgical wounds that patients have to deal with. To delicately cut and remove the graft tissue and attach it with sutures takes about an hour to an hour and a half for just one or two teeth.  This requires the patient to recuperate for about two or three weeks.

How is Pinhole Surgical Technique ( PST)Performed?

During the PST, a needle is used to make a small hole in the patient's existing gum tissue.  Through this pinhole, special instruments are used to gently loosen the gum tissue.  These tools help expand and slide the gum line to cover the exposed root structure.  There are no grafts, no sutures, and no incisions needed with the Pinhole Surgical Technique.  It simply involves the adjustment of the existing tissue.

What's the key to the procedure?

The key to the PST is that we don't have to perform graft.  We go through a pinhole which is made by a needle, so there's no scalpel or cutting at all.  Then we can literally shift the tissue down with minimum trauma to the tissue.  also, there are no open wounds.  It's so minimally invasive; nothing could be more noninvasive in dentistry than this.  I know that if you're not used to seeing things like this it seems like it's quite traumatic, but really it's very, very minimal.  There's so much blood supply and so much collagen in the area that when we see the patient the next day, you can hardly tell anything was done.  The tiny pinhole that's been made shrinks away by the next day.

How long will this last?

This is expected to be permanent, and last as long as any other procedure.  Nothing is forever of course, because there the normal aging process goes on.  However, if everything is healthy and there is no over-brushing, I've seen this last years and years.

Does this procedure cure gum disease?

It's not meant to cure gum disease. The PST is meant to restore the gum line to normal.  Any treatment for gum disease must be done before having this procedure. So, we want to do it in a mouth that is not infected with any kind of inflammatory process, such as periodontal disease.

Are there any risks to this technique?

The risks are very minimal, especially compared to other procedures.

How expensive is the procedure?

It's about the same cost as the standard gum grafting procedures, but without cutting , pain and downtime. However, the overall cost can be much less because we can do so many teeth at the same time.  We can reduce the cost by quite a bit when we do more than one tooth. We can do up to 15 teeth at one time.