Are you experiencing teeth sensitivity? Does your tooth look longer than before? Your gums could be receding, causing your gums to pull back and expose your tooth's root. Bacteria could also build up in the gap between soft tissue and enamel. Our dentists at Encino Dentist are certified and trained in carrying out the pinhole gum rejuvenation technique. Pinhole gum rejuvenation is an almost painless technique that promises a long-term solution to the gingival recession.

What is the Gingival Recession?

Gum/gingival recession occurs when the margin of your gum tissues surrounding teeth pulls back or wears away, exposing more tooth or even the tooth's root. When gingival recession takes place, pockets are formed between the gum line and teeth, allowing bacteria to build up. If not addressed, the bone structure and supporting tissues could be destroyed to cause tooth loss.

Gingival recession is one of the dental problems that most patients don't know they have since it happens gradually. Common symptoms include noticing your teeth look longer than normal and tooth sensitivity.

The condition is caused by:

  • Periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a bacteria gum infection that damages gum tissues and supporting jawbone
  • Genes
  • If your brush your teeth the wrong way or hard, you risk causing your teeth enamel to tear away and gums to recede
  • Inadequate flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and brushing can make it easy for plaque to become tartar that builds between and on the teeth.
  • Hormonal changes in women during menopause, pregnancy, or puberty
  • Smokers are likely to have a plaque on their teeth. The plaque is hard to remove and can result in a recession
  • Grinding teeth exerts pressure on teeth, causing gingival recession
  • Tongue or lip piercing. The metal stud can rub your gum and irritate them to a level that the gum tissue wears away
  • Misaligned teeth (abnormal tooth positioning). A lot of force is placed on given regions instead of being distributed evenly in the teeth

You might be surprised to learn that your gums can also recede after orthodontic therapy. More often than not, the gum recession does not start until many years after the orthodontic is done. People with crowded teeth and thin bone tissues and gums are at an increased risk of developing gum recession. However, having an evaluation before undergoing orthodontic is a great idea to prevent gum recession. This is true, particularly for patients considering braces.

What is Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation?

Also known as Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique, pinhole gum rejuvenation was invented and patented by John Chao. It's a graft-free, scalpel-free, minimally invasive procedure for correcting gingival recession and saving your teeth.

First, the sulcus and roots are debrided, then restoration surface abnormalities, root convexities, and caries are removed. Then, the following takes place:

  • To start the pinhole gum rejuvenation procedure, the dentist will numb your gums and administer sedation, if required
  • Then a 3mm incision is made in the affected gum tissue
  • Specifically designed instruments are inserted through the opening where your gum tissues are loosened at the buccal and papillae, forming a flap and pulled over your receded regions
  • Then collagen strips are put along buccal and between papillae to hold the flap in place. The collagen strips fatten the buccal and stabilize your tissues during the recovery process

The process is repeated until comprehensive gum rejuvenation is achieved. You will see the results immediately.

Unlike the traditional gum recession procedure that takes approximately two hours to repair a tooth or two, the Chao pinhole surgical technique can allow a dental expert to work on up to fourteen teeth simultaneously. It should not take more than ten minutes per pinhole or tooth. Additionally, the gums of three teeth can be repaired using a single pinhole. However, this differs from one patient to the other. 

You are required to make a few dental visits. During the initial consultation, your dentist will evaluate the number of teeth that require pinhole gum rejuvenation treatment for the optimal outcome.

Periodontal Should be Treated First

Gum disease should be treated before undergoing the procedure. Usually, this is achieved through non-surgical gum treatment that involves root planing and scaling. The procedure removes pockets of infection and inflammation and prepares your teeth for regular gum disease maintenance.

Gum disease maintenance requires that you visit the dentist at least four times a year for cleaning and check-up. Moreover, you should practice good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing daily). That way, you will ensure plaque doesn't become tartar.

How To Tell If You Qualify for Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation

Any person with receding gums can be an ideal candidate for the procedure. However, your experienced dentist should be able to determine if you qualify for the surgery after the initial evaluation.

Ideally, you should be:

  • A non-smoker
  • Healthy
  • Free from any autoimmune condition or diabetes
  • Periodontally stable from decay, failing restorations, and disease

The above conditions can prevent or slow down the recovery process.

Post-Operative Instructions

To make sure the surgical site heals and no complications arise, your dentist will instruct you to follow the following post-operative guidelines:

  • You should not brush, floss, or use Waterpik at the surgical site until your dentist declares the site has healed completely
  • Don't lift or pull your lips to look at the surgical site. It is almost impossible to see the site without pulling your cheek and unintentionally moving the surgical site. It can interfere with healing and compromise results
  • Avoid touching your gums with fingers or any object. Also, avoid touching the surgical region with your tongue or licking it
  • Don't sleep with your hands under the check where the procedure was done.
  • Avoid chewing sticky, sharp, hard, and crunchy foods
  • Do not engage in snorkeling or scuba diving for six weeks after the pinhole gum rejuvenation procedure
  • Avoid wearing appliances like bite guards or retainers for six (6) weeks unless otherwise recommended by your dentist
  • Apply an ice pack to the outside of the surgical site for twenty minutes for forty-eight hours following the procedure. It reduces swelling
  • Give yourself enough time to heal. Get adequate sleep and resume your normal activities once you're comfortable. You shouldn't engage in vigorous physical activities or exercise for three days after the pinhole gum rejuvenation
  • Don't smoke for six weeks
  • Avoid spitting or using straws. It can cause more bleeding, move your surgical site, affecting both the recovery process and the success rate of the procedure
  • Expect to feel cold sensitivity for six weeks. Remember to tell your dentist of any sensitivity during your post-op follow up dental visits
  • If you had intravenous sedation, you might feel groggy for 24 hours. Therefore, during this period, you should not drink alcohol, make a critical decision, operate heavy machinery, or drive.

Bleeding after Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation

Oozing or bleeding after the surgery is normal. If the bleeding continues, use a moisturized tea bag or gauze and apply pressure to the surgical site for ten minutes. If the bleeding persists, seek medical attention.

Bruising and Swelling

Mild or moderate bruising or swelling is normal after the surgery, and it should last for one week. Although swelling shouldn't raise the alarm, call your dentist immediately if:

  • You are experiencing prolonged or severe pain, or
  • The surgical site starts to throb without relief from the prescribed pain killers.

Pain Regulation

Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to prevent inflammation and reduce discomfort and swelling. Taking your medication as prescribed is the most effective way to ensure the recovery process is smooth.

Don't take your medication while hungry since it can cause nausea.

Stop taking the medication and inform your doctor if you are experiencing adverse reactions like hives, diarrhea, and rashes.

Please note oral antibiotics interfere with birth control pills. It is, therefore, recommended to use a supplemental contraception method until you finish taking the medication. 


Following the procedure, eat soft and well-balanced diets. It can include cereals, soups, rice, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, overcooked pasta, fruit and vegetable juices, and yogurt. Try as much as possible to chew on sides not affected by the pinhole gum rejuvenation procedure. 

Moreover, avoid highly seasoned or spicy foods since they can irritate your tissues.

What Are the Benefits of Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique?

Gum recession diagnosis can be traumatizing if you think the only solution is gum grafting. The Chao pinhole surgical technique has transformed gingival recession treatment, rejuvenating your gum with less or no discomfort as well as safeguarding them from plaque and bacteria that can cause gum disease and decay. Here are the benefits of the procedure that you should know:

No Sutures or Scalpels

Does the thought of scalpel make you tremble? Any experienced dentist understands your worries. While sedation is used to calm you down for the procedure, it is worth noting that the procedure is suture-free and scalpel-free.

The procedure is carried out through a tiny pinhole-sized opening in your gums. It gets rid of the need for incisions and scalpels. Therefore, resulting in insignificant discomfort and bleeding after the surgery.

Since your gums don't have to be moved back from your teeth during the surgery, no sutures are needed to reposition the gums.

More Efficient

It takes numerous sessions if several recession areas require treatment using a conventional gum grafting method. With pinhole gum rejuvenation, your dentist can treat several regions in one session. It makes the gingival recession treatment convenient for your busy schedule. It also permits you to consolidate the healing time.

Less Discomfort

More often than not, gum grafting involves extracting tissues from the mouth's roof. It is uncomfortable. The pinhole gum rejuvenation repositions surrounding tissue to restore gum recession areas and does not require any incision. That means pinhole gum rejuvenation patients experience less discomfort following the surgery compared to persons who undergo gum grafting.

The Procedure is Pain-free

The pinhole gum rejuvenation is minimally invasive. It also avoids cutting tissue off the mouth's roof and transplanting it in the recessed gum with suture. That means it does not leave behind any open wound.

Instant Gratification

You will see the results immediately when the pinhole gum rejuvenation procedure is complete. That's satisfying. 

Less Recovery Time

Since stitches aren't used in the procedure, swelling, pain, and recovery time is reduced. Unless you tell a person, they cannot know that you had the procedure. Typically, the small pinholes shrink and are not detectable by the following day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about pinhole gum rejuvenation.

1. What is the Difference Between Gum Grafting Surgery and Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation?

Soft tissue grafting (gum grafting surgery) has been the treatment option for gums recession for several years. The surgery involves extracting donor tissue from the mouth's roof (palate) and then grafting into the affected area. Usually, the recovery period is between three and four weeks.

Although traditional gum grafting has a high success rate, similar outcomes can be realized through the pinhole gum rejuvenation procedure with little downtime, no sutures, and no scalpels.

2. How Much Does Pinhole Surgical Technique Cost?

Generally, the surgery is more pocket-friendly than traditional gum grafting surgery. However, various factors affect the cost of the surgery. They include:

  • The seriousness of the gingival recession
  • The number of teeth that require treatment
  • Your preference

You should discuss your needs with the dentist during the initial consultation.

3. Does Insurance Cover the Surgery in Question?

Since the pinhole surgical technique is a gum disease treatment option, most insurance providers should cover it. It is recommended to contact your insurer before having the surgery done. To find out if your insurance plan insures the treatment option, ask what documentation will be submitted during your claim.

Additionally, you can contact your dental professional if you have questions about your insurance or require assistance filing your claim. Any experienced dentist has financing options available through their office.

Find a Encino Dentist Near Me

Healthy gums are essential to your dental health. Therefore, you should take the gum recession seriously. Gum recession leaves your tooth's root structure exposed, making the structure vulnerable to diseases and bacterial infections. Dental experts may recommend diverse treatment options, including pinhole gum rejuvenation. It's a minimally invasive treatment option that repairs receding gum without performing a traditional surgery. Our dentists at Encino Dentist are certified in the pinhole surgical technique. To determine if you qualify for the procedure, call us today at 818-650-0429 to schedule your initial consultation.