Tag Archives: Gum Recession






If your teeth appear longer than they used to, chances are you have receding gums. There are several possible causes of receding gums, including poor oral hygiene, inflammation, or even lip piercings. But for people who are in good overall oral health and do not have any of the other risk factors, overzealous brushing is often the cause of their receding gums. At San Diego Periodontics, proper brushing technique is one of the first things we discuss with our patients who have receding gums, and that almost invariably leads to a conversation about the best type of toothbrush for teeth and gums. Read on if you’re curious to know more about the electric vs manual toothbrush for receding gums.

Electric toothbrush vs manual toothbrush for receding gums

 We always say the best toothbrush is the one you use properly and consistently. Some people prefer electric. Others prefer manual. Both can be used effectively to keep gums and teeth clean and healthy, as long as you use them twice daily, for 2 minutes at a time, taking care to reach every tooth. But what most people forget is that there’s no need to apply a lot of pressure. Whether you have an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush, the bristles will do their job. Gentle brushing is important for your tooth enamel and your gums. That’s key no matter which type of toothbrush you choose.

Electric toothbrush advantages

  • Varied range of motion helps to remove more plaque
  • Higher rate of brush movement than manual
  • Easier for those with limited mobility
  • Built-in 2-minute timer takes out the guesswork
  • More fun for kids
  • Pressure sensors offer reminders to be gentle on gums

Manual toothbrush advantages 

  • Effective for removing plaque and cleaning teeth
  • Easy to maintain and replace
  • Budget-friendly
  • Convenient for travel
  • Variety of head sizes, bristle firmness, and handle designs available
  • Conscientious brushing makes pressure adjustment easy

Electric toothbrush disadvantages

  • Requires electricity or batteries
  • Requires maintenance (charging or changing batteries, replacing the head, etc)
  • Inconvenient for travel
  • More expensive
  • Easy to add additional pressure and overbrush

Manual toothbrush disadvantages 

  • No timer to ensure proper duration of brushing
  • Higher likelihood of harsh brushing
  • No pressure sensors for gentle brushing reminders
  • More frequent replacement than electric toothbrush head
  • Difficult for those with dexterity problems

As we mentioned before, whether you use an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush, it’s important to avoid applying too much pressure. Harsh brushing with either type can wear down tooth enamel, expose the tooth roots, cause tooth sensitivity, and increase the chance of decay and infection. Once the gums recede, it can’t be reversed. But it can be stopped and it can be treated. If you have receding gums, come see us at San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry today.

Get The Right Treatment For Receding Gums In San Diego

At San Diego Periodontics, we’re proud to offer The Pinhole Technique, a scalpel-free and suture-free restorative gum recession treatment that provides instant cosmetic improvement with minimal downtime. Dr. Kennie Kwok is Board Certified in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry and has earned certifications in The Chao Pinhole Technique as well as a range of other innovative techniques for optimizing oral health. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kwok, give us a call at (619) 543-0905 today.

Best Treatment For Gum Recession by San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

When most people hear the words “healthy smile,” they imagine clean, radiant teeth—not gums. Of course, we don’t want our gums to take the spotlight when we smile, but they do play a major role in keeping our teeth bright and beautiful.  Receding gums call attention to themselves, not only by lengthening the teeth and causing visual imbalances in the gumline, but also by causing tooth sensitivity and discomfort. Receding gums don’t go away on their own, but treatment is available. 

There are a few different methods for treating receding gums, and the best one for each case depends on several factors, including the cause of the gum recession and the severity of the problem. While there is no single treatment that’s right for every case, The Chao Pinhole Technique is often preferred by periodontists and patients when appropriate. 

The importance of healthy gums

Gums are the soft tissue that encase the teeth, teeth roots, and jaw bones.  They provide the support structure that helps to keep the teeth in place, and their tight seal acts as a protective barrier against bacteria. Healthy gums are crucial for maintaining not only oral health, but also overall health. Damaged gums, receding gums, or diseased gums increase the risk of tooth sensitivity, toothaches, tooth decay, loose teeth, painful chewing problems, and even serious health complications including stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.  The best ways to keep gums healthy are to floss daily, brush twice a day, stop smoking, and visit your dentist regularly.  Unfortunately, even when you do these things consistently, your gums may still recede. If they do, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible.

What are receding gums and what causes them?

Receding gums, also known as gingival recession, involves the loss of gum tissue. The gums drawback or wear away, exposing the tooth root, which causes tooth sensitivity and results in gaps where bacteria collects and is unreachable with a toothbrush or dental floss. Receding gums can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Gum disease
  • Aggressive brushing
  • Genetics (thin gum tissue)
  • Teeth grinding 
  • Lip or tongue piercings that rub against the gums
  • Smoking
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Trauma

Once lost, gum tissue does not grow back, but The Chao Pinhole Technique can build up your gums and restore your oral health, with very little discomfort and minimal downtime. 

The best treatment for gum recession: The Pinhole Technique

It used to be that a gum graft was the only way to restore gum health after recession. While the gum graft does have a very high success rate, it is more invasive and requires more downtime than the revolutionary and minimally invasive Pinhole Technique.  

The Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique is a scalpel-free, suture-free gum recession treatment for correcting receding gums.  When you come in to San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry for your procedure, Dr. Kwok will apply a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort. He will then use a syringe needle to make a tiny hole in the healthy gums at the treatment site. This loosens the tissue, allowing Dr. Kwok to gently reposition the gums, cover the exposed tooth root, and restore the gum line. He then places tiny resorbable collagen membrane strips in the pinhole to help stabilize the gum tissue during the healing process. In most cases the small entry point is healed within a day. And as long as the cause of the gum recession has been eliminated, you can continue to enjoy your beautifully restored smile for years to come. 

Other treatments for receding gums

As mentioned above, the Pinhole Technique may not be appropriate in every case, but there are a few other options that can reattach or restore gum tissue around the teeth. These include:

  • Scaling and root planing
  • Connective tissue graft 
  • Pat Allen’s tunneling technique

There are multiple gum recession treatment options to choose from, and a consultation with Dr. Kwok is the best way to help determine which treatment is right for you. 

Do you have Receding gums? Visit San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

At San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, you’re in the hands of Dr. Kennie Kwok, a highly experienced and compassionate periodontist with a commitment to excellence. If you’re concerned about receding gums, he can help. Dr. Kwok is Board Certified in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry and has earned certifications in The Chao Pinhole Technique and a range of other innovative techniques for improving oral health and setting smiles free. 

For more information about Dr. Kwok or any of our services or procedures, give us a call at (619) 543-0905 today. 

How Do You Treat an Exposed Tooth Root by San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you don’t have a history of sensitive teeth and you suddenly experience pain or discomfort when eating and drinking certain foods and beverages, you might have an exposed tooth root. Fortunately, there are different treatment options available to restore your natural gum line and allow you to eat and drink without discomfort. Here’s what you need to know about an exposed tooth root and treatment options:

What is an exposed tooth root?

The part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth is only about less than half of the actual tooth—the rest sits below the gumline and anchors the tooth to the jawbone. While the exposed part of the tooth is covered in strong enamel, the root is covered in a connective tissue called cementum, which can quickly decay or wear down if the gum line recedes and the root is exposed to brushing. Once the cementum is worn away, strong sensations such as heat and cold reach the dentin and nerve pulp inside the tooth, causing mild to extreme discomfort. 

What causes an exposed tooth root?

Exposed tooth roots are most commonly caused by receding gums or gum disease, but other factors can contribute as well. Gum disease occurs when bacteria enters the space between your teeth and gums, causing an infection that eventually recedes the bone around the teeth and exposes the roots if not treated. Receding gums can also result from gum disease, or from poor dental habits, genetic predisposition, or the natural aging process.

Other factors that contribute to exposed tooth roots include:

  • Aggressive brushing using a hard or medium bristle toothbrush
  • Tobacco use
  • Bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching)
  • Traumatic mouth injury
  • Misaligned teeth, which are more susceptible to gum recession

What are the symptoms of an exposed tooth root?

Symptoms of an exposed tooth root can vary, and some people have no symptoms at all. The most obvious symptom is sudden increased sensitivity to hot, cold, sour, acidic or sweet foods and beverages. Another clear sign is a longer-looking tooth, which is the result of the gum line receding. Other symptoms include tender or sore gums that bleed when you brush, swelling and pain (sign of an infection), and tooth discoloration, which is a sign of tooth decay.

What are the treatments available for an exposed tooth root?

There are many ways to prevent exposing a tooth root, such as maintaining a good oral health routine and brushing gently with a soft bristle toothbrush, but the best way to treat an already-exposed root is to cover it back up. The most common procedure to achieve this goal is a gum graft, which uses your own gum tissue taken typically from the roof of your mouth or from a donor source. The tissue is placed in the space between your tooth and gums and are sutured together. Once the healing process is complete, your gum line will be restored.

An alternative method to treat an exposed tooth root is through a donor source, such as the Chao pinhole technique in San Diego. Here a small hole is made in your gums, through which a device is inserted to create a space between your receded gums and tooth. Donor collagen material is placed to stabilize the area of gum recession.  Another great donor source option is the Pat Allen tunneling technique. This technique involves going directly between your tooth and receded gums and creating a space to insert a donor collagen graft. Sutures are then used to secure everything in place. The main benefits of using donor tissue over using your own gum tissue are that it’s much less invasive, does not require a second surgical site, and offers better healing. 

Learn more about Gum Graft Donor Tissue Vs Own Tissue for Gum Recession here.

Exposed tooth root treatment at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you have increased sensitivity to eating and drinking certain foods and beverages or you notice any other symptoms of an exposed tooth root, it’s important to seek treatment before it gets worse. San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry specializes in treating receding gums, and our team of experienced professionals can explain all the options available for treatment, including gum grafts.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at (619) 543-0905.

San Diego Gum Graft Donor Tissue Vs Own Tissue for Gum Recession

Receding gums is not just an aesthetic issue. When the gum line starts to pull back from the teeth, it can lead to increased sensitivity and other oral health issues down the line, including periodontal disease and tooth loss. 

Gum grafts are an excellent way to regenerate lost gum tissue and restore your healthy smile, and you have the option to use your own soft tissue or donor tissue as the graft material. Each option has different advantages and drawbacks, and the ultimate decision will be based on your individual situation. Here’s a brief guide on the options available: 

Types of patient tissue grafts

If you choose to use soft tissue from your own mouth (called an autograft), you’ll have the option of a connective tissue graft or a free gingival graft. Both graft types involve taking tissue from the roof of your mouth and attaching it to the exposed tooth root where gums are receding, but in slightly different ways. 

During a connective tissue graft, the dentist will open a little flap, or “trap door,” in order to remove a small piece from the layer of connective tissue underneath. Connective tissue grafts are less invasive than free gingival grafts and tend to have a more aesthetic result, as the tissue will seamlessly blend into the surrounding gums. 

A free gingival graft doesn’t require making a flap—instead, the dentist will harvest the outer and inner layers of tissue from the roof of the mouth before using it to cover the exposed tooth root. Free gingival grafts are ideal for areas of gum recession that need to be thickened or reinforced with stronger gum tissue, although the color matching may be a little more noticeable than with connective tissue grafts.

Types of donor tissue grafts

The main advantage of using donor tissue for gum grafts is there’s no limit in how many areas can be treated at once. Autografts, on the other hand, can only address a few areas at a time due to the invasive nature of tissue harvesting. The two types of donor grafts available are allografts and xenografts.

Allograft tissue, which refers to tissue from the same species, is harvested from cadaver skin that has been sterilized to remove all living cells, proteins, viruses, and bacteria. Following the gum graft procedure, the donor tissue will blend well with your own gums.

Xenograft tissue, which refers to tissue from another species, is harvested from either bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) skin, and sterilized similarly to allograft tissue. This donor tissue will also blend well with your own gum tissue. 

Autografts vs. donor grafts 

There is no inherent superiority among types of gum graft material. Your individual situation will dictate which option is best for you. But there are clear pros and cons to each:

Autograft pros:

  • Provides predictable results – proven long term studies 
  • All natural from your own self gum tissue
  • Increases gum thickness
  • Two sources of blood supply available, one from the flap and one from the recipient bed

Autograft cons:

  • More discomfort following the surgery due to a second surgical site 
  • Can only address a few areas of gum recession per procedure
  • Tissue integrity varies based on the harvest location and harvest quality

Donor graft pros:

  • Can be used to treat an entire arch or mouth of receding gums in one procedure
  • Less pain and discomfort due to no harvest site within the mouth
  • Can grow a large amount of strong gum tissue
  • Preserves existing gum tissue and blood supply

Donor graft cons:

  • Need adequate quality gum tissue to start with
  • Do not work as well with teeth that are inclined, rotated, or feature bone loss
  • More technique-sensitive, requiring significant training

Gum grafts at San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry

If you have receding gums that are affecting your smile, oral health, and ability to eat your favorite foods, San Diego Periodontics & Implant Surgery can help. We can answer all your questions about Gum Recession using your own tissue or donor tissue, and help you make the best decision for your individual needs. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at (619) 543-0905.



San Diego patient that got treatment for receding gums with the pinhole surgical technique

Receding gums, also known as gingival recession, are a prevalent problem, especially in older individuals. In fact, a study found that 88% of people over 65 have gum recession in at least one tooth. The traditional method for treating gingival recession is soft-tissue grafting, but many patients are afraid of the treatment because of the notion that grafting can be very painful. This reluctance has sparked innovation, leading to the Pinhole Surgical Technique in San Diego to treat gum recession.

What are Receding Gums?

Gingival recession is when the gums wear down or pull back from the tooth. The receding gums reveal more of the tooth, and in some cases, this leaves the root of the tooth exposed. This can lead to the tooth being overly sensitive and weaken the gum tissue surrounding the tooth.

Normally we need strong, firm, non-moving gum tissue to surround and protect our teeth, but the weak tissue caused by gingival recession can create pockets of space between the gumline and the tooth. These little pockets are magnets for bacteria that can eventually lead to serious gum disease. If gum recession is not corrected and treated, the structure of the teeth and tissue around it can be catastrophically damaged, leading to tooth loss.

What is the Pinhole Surgical Technique?

The Pinhole Surgical Technique may be a treatment option for those with gingival recession, offering a minimally invasive alternative to more complicated gum recession procedures that features grafting or sutures. By combining aspects of the coronally positioned flap technique and the tunnel technique, the Pinhole Surgical Technique may be an efficient and effective way to treat gum recession.

How Does the Pinhole Surgical Technique Treat Gum Recession?

As the name of the treatment suggests, the Pinhole Surgical Technique begins by creating a small pinhole into the movable gum tissue located near the tip of the tooth root where the gum recession is present. Once the pinhole is made, a device is inserted through the hole to stretch and peel the gums back, pushing it towards the crown of the tooth.

Once in place, instead of using stitches to keep it there, the Pinhole Surgical Technique uses collagen strips, inserting the strips through the pinhole. The strips are then used to hold the gum tissue in place, creating the new tissue support and assisting in the healing process. The healing period allows the body creating a new gum tissue attachment to the new location.

What are the Advantages of the Pinhole Surgical Technique?

The primary advantage of the Pinhole Surgical Technique is that multiple teeth can be treated in one sitting. When using more traditional treatments for gingival recession it may require multiple grafting sessions if you have a recession on multiple teeth. Pinhole Surgical Technique can be used to treat the entire mouth in just one sitting. It also makes for a less painful recovery and is a faster procedure than grafting.

The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a Great Way to Treat Gum Recession

The Pinhole Surgical Technique is a minimally invasive, less painful, and faster way to treat receding gums then the more traditional methods, making it a great alternative to treat gingival recession. If you would like to request a consultation for gum recession or other dental issues, give us a call at (619) 543-0905.  

For additional information, watch this video providing a visual representation of how the procedure works.