Pinhole Gum Surgery

Pinhole gum surgery is a specialized surgical technique developed by Dr. John C. Chao and used by Sunset Dental to treat receding gums. It is a minimally-invasive approach to periodontal surgery that repositions the gum tissue into a more optimal position. Because it utilizes a minimally-invasive approach, patients have a faster recovery and experience less postoperative discomfort and swelling. In fact, the pinhole technique is scalpel free, suture free, and graft free. 


One Month After

Did You Know?

About 50% of American adults have some degree of gum recession as a result of periodontal disease, incorrect brushing habits, abnormal tooth positioning, diet, and aging. Gum recession can have a negative effect on a smile’s appearance, as well as a patient’s overall and oral health. 


Frequently Asked Questions: 

Am I a candidate for pinhole gum surgery?

You may be a candidate for pinhole gum surgery if you have gum recession that needs to be treated. Although gum recession is not always painful in the beginning, if left to progress it can lead to root decay and the loss of your tooth. To find out if pinhole gum surgery is the right periodontal treatment for you,  schedule a consultation with Dr. Jerry Kronquist and Dr. Amanda Rae Kronquist of Sunset Dental Group today. 

How do I know if I have gum recession?

If you notice your gums are pulling away from your teeth, or if your teeth suddenly appear larger than usual, then you most likely have gum recession. Healthy gums will fit around your teeth like a cuff and will cover the roots entirely. If your gums appear to be sagging or your roots are showing, this can indicate gum recession. 

Another indicator of gum recession can be tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can occur when your roots become exposed. Because your tooth roots are normally protected by the gums, they do not contain the same protective enamel as the rest of your tooth. This means that when the gums recede and expose the roots, they are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, as well as to sweet, acidic, or sticky foods. 

Sometimes, you may be unaware your gums are receding until your dentist notices during your dental appointment. Because the depth of your gum pockets are measured at every dental checkup, your dentist may make you aware that your gums are beginning to recede. 

What causes gum recession?

Gum recession can be caused by a number of different things including: 

  • Gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis) 
  • Brushing too hard or using the wrong technique
  • Using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Gum trauma (sports injuries)
  • Ill-fitting dentures
  • Genetics
  • Certain medical conditions 

Can I treat gum recession on my own?

In some cases, you may be able to alleviate minor cases of gum recession on your own. For example, if your gums are receding because of your brushing technique or type of toothbrush, you can simply alter these things and the problem should resolve itself over time. On the same note, if your gum recession is caused by ill-fitting dentures, having the dentures adjusted may resolve the issue. However, if your gum recession has an unknown cause, is severe, or is caused by gum disease, you will need to seek treatment from a dentist. 

Are there other treatments for gum recession besides surgery?

Yes, however depending on your case, surgery may be the best option. One other common treatment that is usually performed prior to surgery is scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing is basically a deep cleaning of your gum pockets where the plaque and tartar is gently scraped away from the tooth root. This, along with a stringent oral health routine at home, will help the gums to heal and reattach themselves to the tooth. 

What can I expect when undergoing pinhole gum surgery at Sunset Dental?

When undergoing pinhole gum surgery at Sunset Dental, you can expect to be anesthetized and possibly sedated to maintain your comfort and keep you relaxed during the procedure. To begin the procedure, our dentist will make a tiny hole in your gum just above the receding tissue. A special tool is then inserted into the hole and used to manipulate the gum tissue so that it is repositioned back over the tooth roots. In some cases, additional collagen strips may be inserted through the pinhole to promote healing. Since the pinhole used for the procedure is so tiny, no sutures are required. Additionally, the gum tissue contains collagen and a large blood supply, so the pinhole is hardly noticeable by the next day because it heals quickly. 

Is pinhole gum surgery painful?

As with any type of dental procedure, you will likely experience some soreness once the dental anesthetic wears off. However, pinhole surgery is far less painful than the traditional gum grafting method because it does not require incisions or the use of grafted tissue. 

Will I have any post-operative instructions to follow after my pinhole gum surgery?

Yes. To ensure your gums will heal properly, you will have some post-op instructions to follow after your pinhole gum surgery. For starters, you will need to refrain from brushing, flossing, or using a waterpik on the surgical site. As a general rule, you will need to avoid irritating the surgical site by touching it, pulling on your cheeks to look at it, sucking on straws, rinsing or swishing liquids, spitting, smoking, or massaging the area. 

In the first week, you can expect some light bruising and swelling, as well as some soreness. To manage this, you can use pain medication as directed by our dentists. You can also use ice for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to relieve swelling and discomfort. 

During the first week, you are also encourage to avoid hot or spicy foods since they can irritate the surgical site and cause excess bleeding. Instead, cools foods are recommended because they are soothing. You will also need to be on a temporary soft foods diet until otherwise directed by our dentists. 


To learn more about Pinhole Gum Surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Jerry Kronquist and Dr. Amanda Rae Kronquist of Sunset Dental Group today. Sunset Dental Group serves Santa Ana and other central Orange County communities. 

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