Chao Pinhole® Treatment for Receding Gums
A significantly faster, cheaper, and more comfortable treatment for receding gums than traditional gum grafting surgery
About the author, Dr. Stella Kim
The materials on this page were prepared and medically reviewed by Dr. Stella Kim, DDS, a San Francisco dentist and a graduate of the UCSF School of Dentistry.
Receding gums are not just unsightly, they can be a sign of serious dental problems.
Traditional gum grafting treatments for receding gums are very unpleasant for the patient and don’t always produce great results. However, at SF Dental we offer a new, more effective approach for treating receding gums called the Chao Pinhole® technique.
With this approach, we can treat more teeth at once, with less discomfort, and you’ll see immediate results after a single session. Here at SF Dental, we were one of the first dental offices in San Francisco to offer certified Chao Pinhole® treatments.
Why receding gums matter
Receding gums (gingival recession) can cause many health complications, even tooth loss. This is because recession exposes the root structure of the tooth to bacteria, food acid and other threats. These parts of the tooth are not meant to be exposed, and they become much more vulnerable when they are.
In addition, receding gums do not regenerate on their own. Once the deterioration has progressed to the point of being problematic, the only option is to graft gum tissue onto the affected area using Chao Pinhole® or a more traditional approach.
There are also cosmetic reasons to treat receding gums. When people complain that their smile doesn’t look that great, often what they’re noticing are receding gums, which can make your smile look older and less vibrant. The Chao Pinhole® technique can restore your gums to a more youthful appearance and protect against the effects of gingival recession.
How Chao Pinhole® works
Prior to the Chao Pinhole® procedure, we work with you to improve your oral hygiene techniques and ensure that your gums are healthy. Good gum health is a critical prerequisite to Chao Pinhole®, as it gives you a much higher likelihood of long-term success.
When it comes time for your treatment, we use specialized tools to gently loosen the gum tissue above the affected area. The tissue is pulled down to cover recessions, and then it is shaped so that it sits naturally over the tooth root. Collagen strips are then placed under the gums to secure them in place and stimulate the natural healing process of the body. Because only small pinholes are created, the gums heal very quickly, usually within 24 hours. The following video animation (no audio) shows the Chao Pinhole® technique at work:
Causes of receding gums
There are many reasons why gums may recede, but here are the most common ones:
- Brushing too hard: Some people think that if they press harder, their teeth will be cleaner. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Gentle brushing with a soft-bristle brush is the best way to protect your oral health. Brushing too hard can damage the gums and lead to recession.
- Not brushing enough: On the other end of the spectrum, if you don’t take good care of your dental hygiene, your gums may become inflamed and start to recede due to infection.
- Injuries due to sports or fashion: The gums can become damaged through trauma resulting from sports. They can also be damaged by piercings in the lip or tongue that rub against them regularly.
- Teeth alignment: Certain types of orthodontic issues can displace the gums and lead to recession.
- Tobacco use: Cigarettes and chewing tobacco both contribute to gum recession.
- Denture maladjustment: If you wear dentures and they aren’t fitted properly, they can wear down your gums. Please contact us to have your dentures adjusted.
- Medical conditions: Certain diseases, including diabetes, can cause receding gums.
Preventing receding gums
If you have early signs of receding gums, it is important that you discover the cause and have it treated. Come into SF Dental so we can develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Some of the most common approaches used to prevent receding gums include:
- Improved oral hygiene routines
- Prescription mouthwash to treat gingivitis (gum inflammation)
- Deep cleaning under the gumline, including scaling and root planing
- Lifestyle changes, including diet and smoking cessation
- American Dental Association. (n.d.). Scaling and Root Planing.
- Chao, J.C. (2012). “A novel approach to root coverage: the pinhole surgical technique.” The International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2017). Gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease).
- Johnson J. (n.d.). Gum recession: Causes and treatments. American Dental Association.
- Mayo Clinic. (2017). Periodontitis.