In short, the answer is a scary yes. It is shocking how many patients we see that present with gum recession (loss). The most common thing a patient says when being evaluated for this disease is that they are “watching” it. In essence, they are really saying, I am “watching” my jawbone go away. That would be exactly the same as saying, “I have a fire in my kitchen… and I am “watching” it until later when I may call the fire department.” Clearly, acting on the fire in an appropriate manner may help decrease the overall destruction and amount of energy and time to rebuild. The exact same thing is true of gum recession. Fortunately, there are treatments available, including an incredible technique that does not involve a scalpel or stiches.
Gum loss can be caused from a variety of reasons including genetics (let’s blame mom and dad), trauma, poor/improper oral hygiene or a number of other issues. As the gum recedes, the jawbone beneath it is also lost. This bone aides in holding the teeth in place. The more the gum recedes, the more the bone deteriorates. People with this type of problem often notice they have longer looking teeth. As this bone disappears, the support for the teeth goes away, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Slowing this bone loss can help preserve your teeth. As the gum and bone recede, more of the tooth structure becomes exposed (the root). The root does not have an enamel coating and often gets decay at a faster rate than the crown part of the tooth. In addition, other common complaints related to gum recession include an unpleasant appearance and sensitive teeth.
What Can Be Done:
Gum recession is usually treated by trying to slow the loss of the underlying jawbone. The main goal of treatment is to redevelop or increase the presence of the thick tissue. “Soft Tissue Grafting” procedures are used to help develop this thicker tissue. In doing this, we are working to slow or prevent the continued loss of gum and bone.
In some instances, we are able to not only thicken the zone of tissue, but also bring the gum level back to where it was before it receded (“root coverage”). This is usually done in conjunction with the redevelopment of the thicker tissue. It is not always possible to achieve this root coverage in all circumstances. Over the years newer techniques have been developed which are less invasive, one of which is Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation.
Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation:
This procedure is similar to a laparoscopic technique and has been developed with over 10 years of research showing its effectiveness in treating gum recession. It is performed by making a small pinhole in the gum tissue. Using specially designed instruments, the gum tissue is loosened and guided over the receded part of the tooth. There is no incision, suturing or tissue graft placement. Due to this fact, patients can expect minimal post-operative symptoms (pain, swelling and bleeding). Most patients also are pleasantly surprised by the instant cosmetic improvement. The technique is also known as the Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST) and the “Lunchtime Gum Lift”. The procedure has been featured on “The Doctors Show”, “Dr. Steve Show”, “ABC”, “NBC”, and over 240 stations across the United States and Canada.
Pinhole has helped treat thousands of patients with gum recession. Our patients have been extremely satisfied with both the immediate cosmetic results and quick recovery due because no scalpel or sutures were used. An evaluation by a Certified Pinhole Technique Clinician can help determine if your recession can effectively be treated by this amazing, non-invasive therapy.
Lee R. Cohen, D.D.S., M.S., M.S., is a Dual Board Certified Periodontal and Dental Implant Surgeon. He is a graduate of Emory University and New York University College of Dentistry.
Dr. Cohen completed his surgical training at the University of Florida / Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. He served as Chief Resident and currently holds a staff appointment as a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Dental Implantology. Dr. Cohen lectures, teaches and performs clinical research on topics related to his surgical specialty.
The focus of his interests are conservative approaches to treating gum, bone and tooth loss. He utilizes advanced techniques including the use of the Periolase Dental Laser (LANAP procedure) to help save teeth, dental implants, regenerate supporting bone and treat periodontal disease without the use of traditional surgical procedures. Additionally,
Dr. Cohen is certified in Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation, which is a scalpel and suture free procedure to treat gum recession with immediate results.
Dr. Cohen uses in-office, state of the art 3D Green 2 CT imaging which offers Hi Resolution 5 Second Low Dose Scans to develop the least invasive dental implant and bone regeneration treatment options.
Dr. Cohen and his facility are state certified to perform both IV and Oral Sedation procedures. Botox® and Dermal Fillers are also utilized to enhance patients’ cosmetic outcomes.
Dr. Cohen formerly served on the Board of Trustees for the American Academy of Periodontology and the Florida Dental Association. He is past president of the Florida Association of Periodontists and the Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. Dr. Cohen is a member of the American College of Maxillofacial Implantology and the American Academy of Facial Esthetics. In addition, he has been awarded Fellowship in the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.