The rather disparaging phrase “long in the tooth,” referring to someone getting on in years, is an expression that originates with horses whose teeth continue to grow with age. No one wants to be compared to a horse, but this less than complimentary adage has been used to describe the appearance of adult teeth that, although not still growing, can seem to be getting longer due to the consequences of gum tissue loss, known as gum recession.
In the past, severe gum recession treatment was often a laborious procedure that meant cutting tissue from the mouth’s roof and then suturing it into place to cover the recessed areas on one or two teeth. The biggest limitation would be the number of sites that could be treated in one treatment. Today, thanks to special instruments involved in a revolutionary new procedure called the Chao Pinhole® technique, gum restoration is a fast, non-invasive procedure in which up to 16 recessed tooth areas (one whole jaw) can be treated in just one, virtually pain-free periodontal visit.
What is Gum Recession?
Healthy gum tissue acts like a seal to keep our important teeth roots safe. Receding gums, which can often start out as sensitivity to cold or hot liquids or temperatures, can undermine tooth safety. Depending on the severity of the problem, you could be susceptible to tooth decay on the root and along the gum line. Root decay commonly leads to tooth loss as the subsequent result.
Additionally, exposed tooth roots can indicate gingivitis (gum disease) or even periodontal disease, the most serious form of gum disease. Early detection and treatment of gum recession is critical in maintaining your overall dental health and saving your teeth.
Why Do Gums Recede?
Gum recession can result for numerous reasons, some of them seemingly innocuous and others beyond our control. Some of the most common factors that contribute to receding gums include simple genetics (having thin gum tissue), brushing too hard, smoking and lack of preventative dentistry. Even malocclusion (crooked teeth) as well as grinding and clenching your teeth can cause stress and wear, resulting in problematic enamel erosion at the gum line.
When to treat?
Gum recession is classified on a one-to-four rating system with Class 4 being the most severe. The classification takes many factors into consideration, such as tooth position, gum tissue height, as well as remaining gum tissue. Although all recession defects can be treated, and treated successfully, the most predictable treatment results are on Class
1 and 2 type recession defects. This means that early intervention is the best intervention.
Pinhole® Gum Rejuvenation
With Chao Pinhole® Gum Rejuvenation, esthetic enhancement is nearly instant. Gum recession can be quickly addressed without scary dental instruments or lengthy recovery periods. A tiny (0.1”) “pinhole” entry point is made with a specially designed instrument which allows healthy tissue to be shifted over the recessed part of the tooth. Tiny collagen strips further help keep the gum tissue in place. No sutures are required and multiple teeth can be treated in just one office visit.
If you have a “toothy” smile and have avoided dental care because of fear of a possibly painful surgical procedure, you shouldn’t hesitate to consider the Pinhole® treatment option alternative. Look for a Pinhole®-certified periodontist in your area for long-lasting, natural results with little to no discomfort.
Say goodbye to scalpels and stitches and hello to pain-free, fast gum recovery!
Philip L. Fava, II, DMD, MDSc, is a certified Pinhole® gum rejuvenation practitioner. He and his partner Robert A. Levine, DDS, FCPP, FISPPS, at the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics, treat patients at Einstein Center One, Suite 211-212, 9800 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19115. The practice provides “All-on-4™ dental implants; SameDay Smile® or “Smile Zone” dental implants; implant, crown and bridge implant restorations; in addition to LANAP laser treatment of periodontal disease and reconstructive dental surgery.