A sparkling smile is one of the first things people notice about you. But, less than perfect gums can take away from the appeal. Oral surgeons can repair both, receding gums and an overgrown gumline to restore your smile and good looks. If not fixed in time, gum recession can lead to loosened teeth, tooth sensitivity, and even tooth loss. While getting tissue grafts is one of the most common solutions, your dentist may recommend gum surgery alternatives. Such options are far less painful and help you recover faster.
Since gum recession takes place gradually, chances are that you may not notice you have a problem. Over time, you might start to notice that a couple of teeth seem longer than normal. You may also feel that the teeth are becoming more sensitive to hot and cold foods. Or, that there are new gaps and spaces between the gums and teeth. Talk to your dentist about the problem and she might suggest that you repair the condition with gum graft alternatives like the Pinhole technique.
Prevention is Always Better than Cure – You Can Avoid Gum Recession
Several factors can cause a toothy grin, and by taking proper care, you can avoid that from happening.
- Visit your dentist for regular cleaning and the removal of plaque. Excessive plaque turns into tartar that causes your gums to become inflamed and swollen. Your doctor will likely perform root planing where she reaches under the gumline to smooth the tooth and prevent the accumulation of infection-causing bacteria. As a result, the gums start to heal and restore their firm grip on the teeth. If the tissues don’t heal as expected, your dentist will suggest that you consider gum graft alternatives.
- Plaque results in periodontitis or infections of the gums. You may develop bigger gaps between the teeth and the tissues holding them because of the wearing away of the gum.
- Brushing too hard using a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause gum erosion. Typically, people have more erosion on the left side of their mouth. That’s because if you’re right-handed, you tend to exert more pressure on the left. After examining you, the dentist may ask you to switch to a softer-bristled brush and be careful about the pressure you’re using.
- Smoking and using other tobacco products lower your body’s defenses against oral infections. Further, the poor blood circulation in your mouth makes recovery slower. If you have tissue recession, your dentist will advise that you quit smoking before signing up for gum surgery alternatives to restore your smile.
- Misaligned teeth can make it difficult for you to maintain proper dental hygiene, so you develop plaque and gum disease. Before advising gum graft alternatives, your dentist will likely work on restoring dental alignment with Invisalign or any other braces.
- If you have lip and tongue piercings, you have a higher risk of developing a toothy grin. That’s because the jewelry may rub against the gums and cause erosion.
Medical Conditions Can Cause Receded Gums
- Diabetes and high sugar levels can lower blood circulation. Further, diabetics typically have dry mouth syndrome and without the protective flushing of saliva, they may raise their chances of gum infections.
- Genetics is a contributing factor because of which you have naturally thin tissues also results in gum damage. Your dentist may suggest that you opt for minimally-invasive alternatives to gum graft surgery that can repair the problem.
- Interestingly, aging is another risk factor with at least 88% of patients developing gum recession in at least one tooth after the age of 65 years.
When you come in for regular checkups, your doctor will advise the best methods of maintaining dental hygiene, so you can avoid the possibility of gum recession.
Conventional Solutions for Gum Recession are Typically Painful with Long Recovery Times
Gum grafting is one of the conventional treatments for oral tissue recession. Your oral surgeon harvests a piece of skin from your palate and affixes it on the exposed areas of your teeth. Not only can you prevent periodontitis from getting worse, but the procedure also helps you avoid tooth loss. Depending on the condition of your entire jaws, the dentist might opt to perform surgery on single or multiple teeth.
Traditional gum grafting techniques have several downsides:
- Patients go through a long and often, painful recovery process that can extend to three weeks and more.
- To match the color and texture of the gum tissues, the surgeon must take grafts from the room of the mouth. As a result, patients have two wounds that need healing.
- You’ll also need frequent follow-up visits to the doctor for changing the dressings. Do keep in mind that periodontal dressings need to be kept in place for around two weeks.
- You must take precautions like eating soft foods and not rinsing your mouth.
- Some dentists may suggest opting for donor gum tissue. In this way, patients avoid an additional wound in the roof of the mouth. However, this option comes with the risk of the body rejecting the donated tissues.
Thankfully, new developments in dentistry now include gum graft alternatives that ensure quick healing and restore a beautiful smile.
Periodontal Treatment for Minor Gum Recession
Your dentist will recommend the appropriate alternatives to gum graft surgery according to the severity of your gum recession. For instance, if the problem is minor and resulting from infections and tooth decay, the doctor may opt to remove the pockets of infection, so that the gum tissue heals on its own. After removing the inflammation-causing bacteria, an iodine solution is used to flush away the germs. Next, an ozone-infused water solution is sprayed on the affected area to stimulate blood circulation and quick healing. A final rinse with distilled water helps in the recovery process.
Pinhole Rejuvenation Surgery
One of the most effective gum graft alternatives is pinhole rejuvenation for gums. This process nudges the existing tissues into covering a larger section of the tooth. Since no harvesting or grafting is needed, patients recover more quickly and have far less discomfort. After numbing the area with local anesthesia, your oral surgeon will make a tiny incision in the gum higher up the tooth. Reaching through the gap, she gently lifts the tissues and guides them into a position lower down the tooth. A tiny amount of collagen placed in the area before closing helps in getting more effective and lasting results. That’s because the collagen bulks up the tissues and gives them elasticity and strength. Aa a result, the new tissues can cover the exposed tooth better. As the area heals, you’ll notice an improvement in your smile and less of a gummy appearance.
Pinhole® Surgery Technique is a Revolutionary Option
The Pinhole® Surgery Techniques (PST) as gum graft alternatives has several advantages over conventional methods of repairing your smile.
- Pinhole surgery is minimally invasive, which means that you won’t have to deal with sutures and incisions. Your dentist can repair the gum through a tiny cut.
- The entire PST process will likely take a shorter time as compared to traditional grafting. Repairing gum recession in a couple of teeth using alternatives to gum graft surgery may take around 20 minutes.
- You’ll avoid the need for harvesting and that typically, lowers the downtime significantly. You can go back to your normal activities without worrying about stitches and dressings. Typically, the cut heals within a day and, you’ll be back to normal within 48 hours. Of course, the recovery process will depend on the natural healing abilities of your body.
- You won’t need to take powerful pain medications to deal with the pain.
- In case you need gum repair in more than one tooth, you may have to come in for multiple appointments if you opt for traditional methods. But, Pinhole surgery may need you to come in for only a couple of sessions.
- You’ll save on the cost of dental treatment and the need to go back for appointments over an extended time.
- You should be able to eat soft food within a few hours after surgery.
- The bleeding is minimal during PST as a gum surgery alternative. As a result, patients are likely to have fewer complications and healing is quicker.
- Local anesthesia will help you with any pain during the procedure. If you’re not comfortable being awake, you can talk to your doctor about getting sedation dentistry.
- You’ll get absolutely natural results and the perfect smile you’re looking for.
Precautions to Take After Pinhole® Dental Surgery
Since recovery after gum graft alternatives like Pinhole surgery is quick, you won’t have to worry about extensive aftercare. Here are some of the precautions may have to take:
- Place an ice pack every 20 minutes to help with the swelling if any.
- Refrain from brushing for a few days to let the tiny cut heal. Instead, you’ll use a mouthwash gently to maintain dental hygiene.
- Smoking can constrict blood vessels and delay healing. Quit smoking or chewing tobacco before the procedure.
- Avoid activities that may cause suction on the surgical site including drinking from a straw, playing wind instruments, or inflating balloons with your mouth.
- If you do feel pain or some amount of swelling, normal over-the-counter medication can help with the discomfort from your gum surgery alternative
- You must schedule a couple of appointments to ensure that the area is healing as expected.
- Do not touch the wound with your fingers or cotton swabs and prevent infections.
- Avoid crunchy foods that exert pressure or irritate the wound.
- Take a break from exercising or any other vigorous, physical activity for at least 2 weeks.
- Do not get facials, massages, or any other treatments that exert pressure on your cheeks. Take care not to sleep on the wounded cheek or place your hand on it.
- If you wear night guards for teeth grinding or Invisalign braces, inform the dentist so she can ensure the appliances don’t touch the wound as it heals.
Not Everyone Can Opt for Pinhole® Oral Surgery – Your Dentist Will Assess You as a Good Candidate
Interestingly, not everyone can sign up for the Pinhole technique. Your dentist will evaluate you carefully as a good candidate for gum surgery alternatives by checking you for other factors. For instance:
- Condition of your bones – Patients with major bone loss may need more extensive options like full mouth rejuvenation.
- Overall condition of your gums – If you have periodontitis and gum disease, you’ll need to treatment to get rid of the infection. Once the tissues are healthy, you can sign up for gum graft alternatives.
- Gum recession due to bruxism – Patients who have gum erosion because of bruxism can go for gum repair. Your dentist will likely recommend that you wear night guards for teeth grinding. Once you break the habit, going for Pinhole surgery is the next step in getting back a perfect smile.
- Any other medical conditions – As long as you don’t have any medical issues that may prevent normal healing, you can safely get less invasive options like gum surgery alternatives for correcting recessed gums.
Performing Pinhole® Dental Surgery Needs Expertise
Alternatives to gum graft surgery such as PST needs extensive training. Dentists also need to learn how to use the tools and instruments for the procedure. For this reason, you may want to contact a highly-qualified periodontist who has the necessary certification to perform the procedure on you. Dr. Jennifer Silver specializes in gum surgery alternatives like Pinhole techniques having attained the accreditation. She has been helping patients get back that flawless smile that they’ve always had with gum graft alternatives that are minimally invasive.
If you need gum graft alternatives to help with recessed teeth, contact one of the best practitioners in Calgary at Southcentre Dental. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Silver and she’ll advise you about how PST can help you. If you need added information, you can always call us at this number: (403) 278-1415. We also welcome queries by email. Contact us by adding your information on the page and we’ll revert to you at the earliest.
- Everything you need to know about receding gums
- Pinhole Surgical Technique for treatment of marginal tissue recession: A case series
- Gum Tissue Grafts
Dr. Jennifer Silver is a highly accomplished dental surgeon with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her educational accomplishments include deans honours list, an oral surgery award and best research project. Prior to this degree, she graduated with honors from Dalhousie University’s Dental Hygiene Program and worked in this field for 10 years.
The areas of dentistry that holds special interest for Dr. Silver include oral medicine and whole-body dentistry. She currently devotes time and resources toward helping patients with TMJ pain and sleep apnea, while continuing to provide general dentistry as well. Future interests include devoting time to additional oral surgery training. Jen strives to treat her patients as if they were family. She strongly believes in a multi-disciplinary approach for patient care. She is part of a large network of specialists that she trusts and collaborates with when helping patients.