The Consumer’s Guide to Gum Recession Treatments
the receding gums consumer’s guide to graft–free, suture– free, scalpel– free surgical treatment for saving teeth and enhancing a youthful appearance.
By David L Rodrick, DDS—Centennial, Colorado Laser Dentistry
More than half of Americans have receding gums.* Thanks to advanced studies, this unattractive issue that can cause teeth loss, can now be corrected by a minimal, invasive– surgical procedure without the need of scalpels, sutures, and grafting. In the past, this problem was only addressed by doing conventional gum grafting which is an invasive surgical technique where a periodontist cuts gum tissue from the back of the patient’s palate and use it to cover the exposed root. At the end of the procedure, the patient palate and the treated area are stitched back together. Recovery is painful and medications are needed. The new treatment has made receding gums an easy fix for those who want a more attractive appearance, to prevent tooth loss and to feel happier.
What is gum recession?
Gum recession is the process in which the roots of the teeth are exposed or the gums pull away. It is a gradual process that more commonly occurs in adults over 40; however, it can happen to people as young as adolescent too. It is a gradual process that can be slow and unnoticed for several years until it becomes severe; causing sensitivity on the root, an unattractive appearance, tooth decay, tooth motility, and even tooth loss.
What are the symptoms that may indicate gum recession?
- Exposure of the roots: This is one of the main symptoms of a severe case of gum recession, causing the exposed area to be more susceptible to decay.
- Tooth sensitivity: The cementum that covers the root becomes unprotected; therefore, the exposed area becomes sensitive; especially when consuming cold and hot food.
- Tooth mobility: When gum recesses, the bone underneath recesses too causing the tooth/teeth to move and even fall eventually, if not treated.
- Longer-looking teeth appearance: The lost gum tissue makes the tooth look longer than it is.
What are the main causes of gum recession?
- Over brushing: Up until a couple of years, it was believed that gum receding was caused by grinding and clinching only. New studies have showed that brushing too hard or with hard-bristled tooth brushes wear down the tooth enamel at the gum line, and irritates the gum tissue causing recession.
- Poor dental care: The absence or the insufficiency of dental hygiene can cause gum recession. Plaque, which contains bacteria, builds up on the gum line causing infection and wearing of the tooth root and gum.
- Genetics: People who have one or both parents that suffer from this disease may be more susceptible to get it.
- Tobacco habit: Continuous use of tobacco contributes to gum recession by making plaque (bacteria) stick to the gingival lining.
- Grinding and clenching: The mandibular jaw is very strong; its force makes grinding and clenching cause recession. A mouth guard can be a quick and easy treatment for grinding.
- Periodontal disease (gingivitis): Gingivitis is an infection or accumulation of plaque (bacteria) that affect gums and the bone that supports the teeth. It cannot be removed with the tooth brush and it is usually caused by poor oral hygiene or by diabetes.
- Lip or tongue body piercings: Body piercings rub against the gum causing it to wear away over time
Receding gums can result in tooth loss. Receding gums pinhole™ procedure is an effective alternative to conventional, painful—grafting surgery.
How serious is gum recession?
The root of a tooth becomes exposed when gum recession exists. Consequently, dental plaque (bacteria) and tartar accumulates on the surface of the tooth, and beneath the gum causing periodontal disease (periodontitis). The exposed root is also susceptible to decay. The bone that holds the teeth loses with time, causing the teeth to lose and even fall eventually if left untreated.
what are the options for treating gum recession?
There are Two main Types of Surgical Gum Recession Treatments with BIG Differences:
Know the Differences Between The Two Before You Choose A gum recession treatment.
option 1: gum recession surgical treatment (known as pinhole™ technique).
It is the most modern and painless way for treating gum recession. Pinhole™ is a minimal, invasive–surgical procedure that does not require the use of grafting, scalpels, or sutures. A small hole is made inside the gum by the affected area; then, gum tissue is gently loosened with special instruments through the pinhole to be extended and to cover the exposed root area. Little pieces of resolvable material are then inserted inside the gum to fill the expanded area in order for new tissue to grow and to cover the exposed root structure.
Conventional gum grafting compared to gum recession treatment (pinhole™).
what are the research results on gum recession treatment?
Ten-year studies of pinhole™ surgical treatment have been very successful. An 89% of treated cases show that the treated gums still covers the root surface as desired.
what are the pros of gum recession treatment?
- Surgery is very minimal: The procedure is quick, easy, and minimally invasive.
- Very little discomfort: Pain is minimal (if there is any) and it can be controlled with mild pain medication (Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve).
- No sutures or cutting: Unlike traditional gum surgery, pinhole does not require cutting of the gum or sutures.
- Improves cosmetic appearance: Immediate results can be reached after the pinhole technique.
- No recovery time: Patients can go back to normal activities after the treatment.
- Reduces risk of gum disease (periodontitis): The root is protected after the procedure so plaque can’t stick to the root anymore which reduces gum disease, sensitivity and the possibility of decay.
What are the cons of gum recession treatment?
- The treated area cannot be brushed or flossed for a couple of days.
- Cold sensitivity may develop for a few weeks.
- Avoiding heavy physical activities for 3 weeks is recommended.
What is the cost of gum recession treatment?
The cost of receding gums treatment differs from each dental office and from each city. Some doctors charge per quadrant (one quarter of the mouth) and others per tooth. The cost can go from $600 to $1,400 per tooth or area.
Is gum recession treatment covered by insurance?
Yes, Pinhole™ treatment is usually covered by insurance in most of states.
How is the recovery after gum recession treatment?
There is virtually no post-operative recovery time for the pinhole treatment. The surgery is very short, minimally invasive, with very little pain. The patient can immediately return to normal life after the procedure (taking certain precautions). The healing process is very quick. Some swelling and discomfort may manifest. Icing is recommended for avoiding swelling and for speeding the healing in the first 24 hours. Leaving the area alone, no brushing or flossing, and avoiding sticky crunchy food from the affected area for a few days is advised. Two mild pain pills (Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve) can be taken if some pain occurs.
who is eligible for getting gum recession technique?
Anyone who suffers gum recession and has sufficient attached gingiva (gum tissue that is firmly bound to the tooth) is eligible for this gum recession procedure.
option 2: traditional gum grafting surgery
Gum surgery is the traditional (and very painful) way of treating gum recession by surgically cutting tissue from the palate (roof of the mouth) and attaching with sutures to the receded gum. Skin from cadavers (allografting) may be used for the procedure if necessary. During the surgery, patients must be under general anesthetic because the procedure is very painful and invasive. The affected area in the roof of the mouth is then stitched for healing after removal and it takes weeks to heal. Prescription pain medication following gum surgery is typically needed.
what are the pros of traditional gum grafting surgery?
- Can reduce bone loss and recession.
- Improves root sensitivity and esthetics.
what are the cons or disadvantages of traditional gum grafting surgery?
- Compromises the person’s smile: The shape of the gums may change because more of the tooth structured is exposed.
- Removes healthy tissue: Healthy tissue needs to be cut and removed in order to remove the unhealthy tissue.
- Expensive: The price ranges from $800-$2000 for only one quadrant (one quarter of the mouth).
- Invasive and painful: Severe pain occurs for several weeks and prescription medication is needed.
- Bleeding: An invasive surgery like this results in lots of bleeding.
- Time off Work: Down time from work is necessary.
- Can’t Eat Solid Foods: A strict diet of soft foods is recommended for several days or weeks.
- Gum recession: There may be sensitivity to hot and cold due to the gum recession.
what are the complications after gum grafting surgery?
As most surgical procedures, gum grafting surgery implicates risk of infection, bleeding, and reaction to anesthesia. Besides, severe pain, bone rejection, inflammation, swelling, nerve injury, bacterial exposure of wounds, loose sutures, uneven healing, and more…
What’s the cost of traditional gum grafting surgery?
The cost of traditional gum surgery is between $800-$2000 per quadrant (one quarter of combined dental arches; there are 4 quadrants–upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right). If bone grafting is needed: add $600-1200 per quadrant. Additional exam and X-Rays may be needed and charged separately which can cost $150-$400.
Is traditional gum grafting surgery covered by insurance?
If the insurance consider it necessary, not a cosmetic procedure, it would be covered.
how does gum recession treatment differ from traditional gum grafting surgery?
- Traditional bone graft surgery requires the use of donor tissue (from cadavers, animals, own body) to build up the exposed area whereas the gum recession treatment only uses synthetic resolvable material.
- Unlike grafting, the gum recession technique (Pinhole™) does not require the use of cutting or sutures so the healing process and recovery is fast whereas grafting takes about 3 weeks for the area to heal and the recovery process is a lot slower.
- The cost of gum recession technique is similar or cheaper to the gum grafting surgery; however, one pinhole procedure can cover several teeth for the price of one tooth or area whereas gum grafting requires different procedures to treat the same amount of teeth that the gum recession procedure treats.
- Gum recession technique shows instant results after the procedure. Gum grafting surgery requires weeks of healing before the results are noticed.
how do i choose a qualified dentist to perform gum recession pinhole™ technique?
If you choose to get gum recession treatment (Pinhole™) for treating gum recession, make sure you are receiving the treatment from a qualified dentist who’s certified and properly trained in the pinhole™ technique. Currently, there are only about 200 dentists in the United States qualified to perform this procedure. Chao Pinhole Academy Company certifies the dentist to provide the procedure. Only after the dentist is certified in a course of several days is able to purchase the specific instruments to provide Pinhole Surgical Technique™ to their patients. You should ask to make sure your dentist has these qualifications first.
Dr. David Rodrick is certified in the Pinhole™ surgical technique and is an expert general & laser dentist in centennial, Colorado.
about dr. david rodrick, dds – certified laser dentist who offers the pinhole™ surgical treatment in centennial, colorado.
Dr. David Rodrick has 32 years of experience as a dentist, and has been offering laser dentistry for 13+ years. He has a passion for making patients relax, and helping solve their dental problems using effective, comfortable laser dentistry equipment and techniques. He offers:
- General dentistry services
- Laser dentistry services
- Root canals
- Non-surgical Laser Gum Treatments
- Cosmetic dentistry & implants
- Teeth whitening
- Non-surgical Laser snoring treatments
- Gum Recession Treatments…and more.
Dr. Rodrick is both an expert general dentist, and is one of the leading laser dentists along Colorado’s Front Range. He was one of the first dentists to offer laser dentistry in Colorado. He earned an Associate Fellowship in Laser Dentistry by the World Laser Clinical Institute, and he also has completed extensive continuing education using “Fotona” dental lasers. In addition to his 30 years of experience in dentistry, Dr. Rodrick has completed close to 300 hours of continuing education in laser dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, laser endodontics (root canal therapy), and dental implants. He is a member of, and also has earned an associate fellowship in ASIRD (American Society of Implant and Reconstructive Dentistry). In 2005, he received an award from Nobel Biocare for excellence in dental esthetics.
In 2015, Dr. Rodrick was the first dentist in the state of Colorado to learn and perform a non-surgical laser snoring treatment known as NightLase™. In 2016, he was one of the first dentists in the state of Colorado to get certified to perform a gum recession surgical treatment known as Pinhole™ technique. Dr. Rodrick was born and raised in southern Illinois. In 1977, he moved to Denver and attended the University of Colorado at Denver, graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He then attended the University of Colorado School of Dentistry and graduated as a general dentist in 1984. In 1985, he opened a solo practice in Centennial, Colorado.
Dr. Rodrick has a passion for laser dentistry for many reasons: “I am passionate about laser dentistry for so many reasons. First, laser dentistry truly offers the best quality of dental treatment available, with the least possible amount of discomfort for my patients. Second, by offering laser dentistry that’s more comfortable and effective, it keeps my patients coming back regularly to care for and maintain their teeth,” he said.
For information on Laser Dentistry in Denver, Englewood & Centennial, Colorado, please contact the dental practice of: David L. Rodrick, DDS, Experts in Laser Dentistry: 303.793.0793, or visit www.DrRodrickDDS.com.