The pinhole surgical technique that the California dentist, Dr. John Chao, started developing in his practice more than 15 years ago offers promising benefits to many people. It is a largely pain-free, rapid and highly effective treatment of a widespread problem: gum loss or gingival recession that arises from age-related periodontitis or incorrect toothbrushing. The technique became known outside of the United States after the renowned International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry discussed the technique extensively in 2012, in a long-term study of 16 male and 27 female patients (edition No. 32, p. 521-531).
Official users of the pinhole surgical technique
After being trained in this patented method in Los Angeles, dentist Christian Bärenklau is entitled to call himself an official user of the pinhole surgical technique by Dr. John Chao. He offers relief to all patients who find gum loss an aesthetic problem, and not just due to unsightly exposed tooth necks. Gum loss can have significant dental consequences. In addition to the hypersensitivity of teeth to temperature, the increased collection of hazardous caries bacteria on tooth necks is a problem that can cause weakening of the periodontium. In the worst-case scenario, this can result in tooth loss. It should be mentioned that healthy dentition is needed before PST can be used. Periodontitis, for example, must be completely healed or treated beforehand, and incorrect brushing is no longer permitted.
Gum lifting: no longer a form of torture
Gum lifting used to be a very painful, complicated and risky procedure. For example, the gums had to be opened up or moved in several steps and secured with sutures. Another method was to remove the connective tissue from the gum area and transplant it. A maximum of three teeth could be treated in each step. Common to all previous treatments was that they were painful and long. Patients frequently had to take off work for several days until the scars were completely healed.
Gum lifting with PST: fast and minimally painful
The pinhole surgical technique is a minimally invasive method with which an entire jaw can be treated in a single session. It is medically and aesthetically effective as demonstrated in the aforementioned edition of the renowned International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry (p. 524, et seq.): Of the 43 patients in the long-term study treated by Dr. John Chao for gum loss, 94% expressed satisfaction with the results, and not just for aesthetic reasons. More than one-half of the patients (38) were almost completely pain-free immediately after treatment. Only two patients noted short-term pain and only three experienced stronger short-term complaints after treatment. At the latest after one and a half days, all patients stated that they were pain-free. The same holds true for swelling after treatment with the pinhole surgical technique. Only two of the 43 patients experienced slight to moderate swelling. Experts were highly satisfied to note that, on average, long-term tooth neck coverage was achieved for more than 81% of patients in the study; a masterstroke, especially in cases in which the gingiva has largely receded.
PST: how it works
The pinhole surgical technique is minimally invasive. First, the area to be treated is locally numbed. Then a small access hole (pinhole) is created. The gingiva is subsequently loosened with a special instrument developed by Dr. Chao and lifted into the new position. The gingiva is then fixed in its new position using special collagen membrane which is introduced through the hole. Since all of the instruments and the method itself were developed by Dr. John Chao, all the users of this patented method must train with Dr. Chao in Los Angeles to perform it successfully. Christian Bärenklau is one of a few certified users in Europe and is happy to provide answers to all questions pertaining to gum lifting.