LOS ANGELES. (KFSN) --For one out of 10 people who wore braces, the end result isn't a perfect smile. That's because they develop receding gums. Treatment typically involves expensive and painful grafting, but there's a new treatment that has no scalpel, no stitches, and very little recovery time.
Eighteen-year-old Chelsea Cassady has done her research to fix a problem she says made her self-conscious to smile.
Cassady told Ivanhoe, "I just looked in the mirror and I pulled up my lips and I saw that my gums were completely receded. And I didn't even know that could happen."
Her dentist blames her braces. Plaque built up around them, made it hard to clean, and worse.
John C. Chao, DDS, MAGD, Dentist at Alhambra Dental in Alhambra, California told Ivanhoe, "Sometimes, because orthodontics do move teeth and when you move teeth to a certain extent, you can actually cause the gums to shrink away from the roots."
Chelsea said 'no' to traditional gum grafting, where tissue is surgically removed from the roof of your mouth and is stitched above the teeth. Too much pain, too many treatments, and too long a recovery for her.
She said 'yes' to pinhole gum rejuvenation, pioneered by Dr. Chao.
"We make a very tiny pinhole above the gum line where the tissue is soft. And then, with specialized instruments, we detach the gum tissue away from the bone. And once it's loose, we can drape it down over the receded area," Dr. Chao explained.
To promote faster healing, Dr. Chao put tiny strips of collagen in the holes. Chelsea was in and out in 42 minutes. And when she saw the result she cried tears of joy.
The pinhole procedure makes sense financially, as well. Patients pay between $500 and $1,800 per tooth, but they only need one appointment. A gum grafting treatment costs about the same, but patients usually need more than one operation.
For more information, contact:
John Chao, DDS