I have a lot of gum recession around my teeth that annoys me. It looks terrible and makes me look older. My co-worker had the same concern and received the “pinhole technique” surgery; now, his smile looks terrific. He said I would need a night guard to help me stop clenching and grinding my teeth before I get the procedure. Can this be right? I know I grind my teeth at night, and my wife is always on me about it. I don’t wear a night guard, but if it’s required for me to get the surgery, I will wear one. What’s the best way to proceed? Thanks. Noel
Thank you for your question. Your co-worker is right. Teeth grinding contributes to gum recession, and a night guard will help you control it before getting the pinhole surgical technique. Otherwise, the treatment will have limited benefits.
What Is the Pinhole Surgical Technique™?
The Pinhole Surgical Technique™ is a minimally invasive f treatment for gum recession. Rather than gum grafting, which requires using grafts taken from your palate, a periodontist will gently reposition the gums. The periodontist will follow these steps:
- Use a specialized instrument to make a “pinhole” above the affected area
- Gently lift and stretch the gums
- Place a small amount of collagen material to encourage the gums to reattach
The recovery time is surprisingly short, and the results are pleasing.
How Does Teeth Grinding Affect Your Oral Health?
Teeth grinding affects your oral health in several ways:
- Creates smooth, shiny areas where the teeth slide against one another during grinding.
- Gum tissue absorbs the constant chewing motion and pulls away from the enamel.
- Receding gums make teeth look long.
- Exposed root surfaces detract from your smile and promote tooth decay
Typically, a dentist will provide a custom oral appliance called an occlusal guard for you to wear at night. The guard will protect the teeth by keeping the jaw slightly open and relieving tight jaw muscles. The appliance absorbs grinding forces and removes stress from the teeth and gums, stopping the recession.
Are You a Candidate for the Pinhole Technique?
A few considerations may determine whether you are a candidate for the pinhole technique.
Some disqualifying reasons may include:
- Untreated bruxism
- Poor oral hygiene
- Periodontal disease
You must diligently wear a custom occlusal guard to resolve bruxism before your periodontist plans surgery.
Schedule an Exam with a Periodontist
Schedule an exam with a periodontist to discuss your options for gum recession. Be willing to wear a night guard to control teeth grinding and clenching and ensure your gum procedure will have lasting results.
Dr. David Pumphrey, an Atlanta periodontist, sponsors this post.