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Why You Might Not Need Gum Recession Surgery

Man looking at receding gums in the mirror.

Gum recession is far more common than most patients realize. In fact, it is estimated that up to 50 percent of adults suffer from some form of gum disease, and gum recession is frequently a symptom.

It's important to know that you should not be worried about seeking help for gum recession or any other symptom of gum disease. Dentists not only see this concern a lot, but they may be able to help with it. And it advisable to get treatment since gum disease and recession is a risk factor for infection, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

What Causes Gum Recession?

As we mentioned, gum recession can be a result of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is caused by a variety of factors, including a history of poor oral hygiene, plaque buildup, and infection. But these are not the only causes, and gum recession can happen even with diligent oral care. In fact, one of the leading causes of gum recession is aggressive toothbrushing. Other potential causes or contributing factors can be an injury, tooth misalignment, or tobacco use. 

What Can You Do About Gum Recession?

Many patients believe that there is nothing you can do about gum recession. This is not the case. You certainly want to address the causes of your gum recession to prevent it from continuing, but you also have options to reverse it.

Gum Recession Surgery

Gum graft surgery has been used to treat receding gums for quite some time. This surgery is effective; however, it can be complex, invasive, and require significant recovery. Gum graft surgery begins with harvesting healthy tissue from the roof of your mouth or utilizing donor tissue. This tissue is then transplanted to the area where the gum tissue is receding.

This procedure may require multiple sessions depending on the extent of your gum recession. Recovery from this surgery can take up to two weeks, and there is a chance of failure, in which case revision surgery may be needed.

Pinhole Surgical Technique

Pinhole gum surgery is a procedure to regrow gum tissue that does not require grafting donated or harvested tissue. Instead, a needle is utilized to make small holes in the remaining gum tissue, which is then loosed and extended to cover the exposed tooth root. The body's natural repair process then kicks in to heal the gums in their new position.

This technique is far less invasive than grafting. The result is less blood, swelling, and pain, with a shorter recovery time.


Gum recession often happens slowly over time. If you first notice the signs of gum recession, it is important to see your dentist right away. Minor gum recession is extremely common and does not necessarily require surgical intervention. Treating the underlying cause of your gum recession may be the best course of action. With guidance from your dentist and proper oral hygiene, you can often stop gum recession in its tracks.

When to Seek Treatment

Gum recession can put you at risk for infection, tooth decay, and tooth loss. As soon as you suspect gum recession, you should see your dentist right away. Your dentist may be able to assist you in treating the cause and prevent you from needing more serious intervention in the future.

If you already have significant gum recession, don't hesitate to make an appointment with our office for a consultation. We can help you to find out whether you are a candidate for pinhole gum recession surgery so you can get your smile and oral health back on track.

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