If you see blood in the sink when you brush your teeth, it’s time to take notice. It could be a warning sign of gum disease, typically taking form in early stages as gingivitis, where bacteria in plaque builds up and inflames the gums. Left untreated, gingivitis can spread below the gum line and into your bones where it evolves into periodontitis, a disease in which toxins break down bone and connective tissue holding your teeth in place.
Over time, pockets in the gums grow deeper and can lead to teeth falling out. Both varieties are bad news, and gingivitis and periodontitis can increase the risk of even more severe afflictions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and pneumonia.
The best course of action? Early detection. Similar to many health issues, catching a problem before it gets serious allows time for accurate diagnosis and successful treatment, one of which is pinhole gum surgery. The pinhole technique is a less invasive alternative treatment in which receding gums are stretched to a healthy position, followed by placement of collagen strips into a pinhole in the gums to hold them in place, encouraging new tissue growth.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Several everyday habits that seem harmless actually contribute to gum recession. For example, brushing your teeth too hard has a negative effect, as does using a toothbrush with hard bristles. Grinding your teeth not only damages them, it can also trigger gum recession. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping, and a fitted mouth guard can help alleviate damage and stop the habit.
Genetics may be a cause of gum recession, especially if one or both parents experienced it as well. While genetics are obviously here to stay, parents can do simple things to prevent passing the issue on to their children, such as not sharing the same meal utensils and seeking immediate treatment.
Preventative maintenance is always a good choice. If you don’t brush your teeth enough, you are inviting oral troubles. Brush twice a day at the very least, floss, and regularly rinse with mouthwash.
Smoking is bad, period. Aside from the obvious health effects, smoking can irritate your gums and cause plaque buildup.
These are just some of the instigators of gum recession. Once they take hold, it’s time to consider treatment.
Is Pinhole Gum Surgery Right for Me?
To determine if you are a good candidate for pinhole surgery, first consider these telltale signs of gum disease:
- Red and swollen gums, often accompanied by tenderness and bleeding.
- Sensitive teeth.
- Bad breath.
- Wiggly teeth or teeth that don’t fit correctly when biting are a symptom of periodontitis.
Prior to making a decision on surgery, your dentist will likely start with alternative treatment methods to determine a plan of action. Some of these can be done at home, while others require at least one visit to your dentist.
Give Your Teeth a Deep Clean
A thorough, deep cleaning using specialized instruments to reach under the gum line is typically the first treatment choice. Your dentist might also suggest scraping away tartar from the gum line using a technique called scaling, or planing to smooth rough surfaces of your teeth.
Antiseptic Chips or Gels
Antiseptic chips are miniature particles inserted into pockets in your gum, which then slowly release medication to shrink the pocket. Gels are a spreadable medication which help alleviate infection.
Oral Antibiotics and Enzyme Tablets
Some forms of serious infection can be treated with aspirin-like tablets, or enzyme suppressants to block damaging enzymes from causing further gum infection.
Moving Forward with Pinhole Surgery
If you have receding, sensitive, or bleeding gums; you are likely a good candidate for pinhole surgery. You must also be free of periodontal disease and inflamed gums, and commit to adopting new hygiene habits to prevent future gum recession.
A popular choice to treat periodontitis, pinhole surgery is far less invasive than traditional grafting, requiring no cutting of the gum tissue. The procedure is typically completed in a short period of time, with no bleeding, swelling, or other pain. With no incisions or stitches, patients enjoy fast recovery time and see immediate cosmetic results.
If you are concerned about gum recession or have questions about treatment options, call Beach City Dental today at (714) 790-1663.