Disadvantages of Pinhole Gum Surgery

[5 Things to Know]


Pinhole gum surgery, also known as Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST), is a modern dental procedure developed to treat gum recession without extensive incisions or stitches. The process requires creating a small opening in the gum tissue. Then, specialized instruments are utilized to carefully loosen the gum tissue and guide it over the area of the tooth that has receded.

Why Choose Pinhole Gum Surgery?

It’s no surprise many patients opt for this technique, given the numerous advantages. For starters, its minimal invasiveness means less discomfort during and after the procedure. Patients also typically enjoy a speedy recovery and immediate visual improvement in their gum line.

However, while this article aims to shed light on the benefits of pinhole gum surgery, its primary goal is to inform readers about some of the procedure’s disadvantages. This is critical in helping potential patients make well-informed dental care decisions.

Disadvantage #1: Pinhole Gum Surgery Is Not Suitable for Everyone

Despite its advantages, pinhole gum surgery isn’t the universal solution for all cases of gum recession. Several factors come into play when determining eligibility for the procedure, such as:

  • The degree of gum recession
  • The quality and quantity of gum tissue
  • The presence of inflammation or infection

For instance, patients with severe gum recession, thin or fragile gums, active periodontal disease, or systemic conditions that affect healing might not be suitable candidates.

In such scenarios, alternative treatments may be more appropriate. These can include traditional grafting methods, laser therapy, or nonsurgical options.

Disadvantage #2: Pinhole Gum Surgery Has Some Risks and Complications

Like all medical procedures, pinhole gum surgery isn’t without its share of risks and complications. These can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Pain or sensitivity
  • Recurrence of gum recession
  • Failure of the procedure

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, although rare, these complications can occur in a small percentage of cases. However, it’s important to note that adhering to post-operative care instructions and making regular dental appointments can significantly minimize these risks.

Remember, your dentist is your best resource when deciding on the most suitable treatment. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation and discuss potential alternatives if necessary.

Always seek professional advice to ensure your oral health is in the best hands possible.

Disadvantage #3: Pinhole Gum Surgery Is Not Covered by Most Insurance Plans

An often-overlooked aspect of pinhole gum surgery is its coverage under insurance plans. Because it’s typically considered a cosmetic procedure rather than a medically necessary one, most insurance companies do not cover the cost.

The cost of pinhole gum surgery can range significantly, generally between $500 to $3,500 per tooth or per arch, depending on the number of teeth affected and the clinic’s location. Compared to traditional grafting methods or laser therapy, this option can be more costly.

If you’re considering pinhole gum surgery, here are a few financial strategies to consider:

  • Saving up: Depending on the urgency, saving for the procedure can be a viable option.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA): These accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars for medical expenses, including dental procedures.
  • Financing Options: To make dental work more affordable and easier on the wallet, many clinics provide financing options or payment plans.
  • Clinic Discounts: Some clinics may offer discounts for multiple procedures or full upfront payment.

Disadvantage #4: Pinhole Gum Surgery May Alter the Shape of the Gums and the Aesthetics of the Smile

Pinhole gum surgery can also lead to changes in your smile’s aesthetics. By exposing more of the tooth structure and creating a more uniform gum line, the shape of your gums may change.

In some cases, this change can improve the aesthetics of the smile, making it appear more even and well-balanced. However, in others, it might not align with the patient’s preferences or expectations, potentially leading to dissatisfaction with the results.

If you’re considering pinhole gum surgery but are concerned about the aesthetic outcomes, there are options to enhance your smile afterward:

  • Whitening: Dental-grade teeth whitening is an excellent choice. It can help brighten your teeth and give your smile a fresh, vibrant appearance.
  • Bonding: Dental bonding utilizes a tooth-colored resin to enhance the look of teeth that are stained, chipped, broken, cracked, or have gaps between them.
  • Veneers: These thin shells are made from porcelain or resin and cover the front of your teeth, providing a natural, attractive look.

Remember, your dentist can offer personalized advice based on your specific needs and preferences. It’s always important to communicate openly about your expectations to ensure you’re thrilled with your new smile.

Disadvantage #5: Pinhole Gum Surgery Requires Meticulous Oral Hygiene and Regular Dental Visits to Maintain the Results

It’s essential to understand that pinhole gum surgery is not a one-and-done solution. Maintaining the results requires diligent oral care and regular dental check-ups. Gum recession can reoccur over time if you do not follow a robust oral hygiene routine.

Post-procedure care is crucial, and there are several steps to ensure the longevity of the surgery’s results:

  • Gentle Brushing: Brush your teeth gently to avoid aggravating the sensitive gum tissue.
  • Daily Flossing: Regular flossing can prevent plaque buildup, a common cause of gum recession.
  • Using a Soft Toothbrush and Fluoride Toothpaste: A soft toothbrush reduces the risk of damaging your gums, and fluoride toothpaste protects against cavities.
  • Avoiding Tobacco Products: Smoking or using other tobacco products can worsen gum health.

Moreover, it’s important to visit your dentist or periodontist regularly for check-ups, cleanings, and monitoring of the gums. These visits help catch any potential issues early and ensure that your gums stay healthy.


We explored the lesser-known aspects of pinhole gum surgery, especially its disadvantages. Though the procedure has many benefits, like minimal invasiveness and quick recovery, there are better solutions available on the dental market. Its limitations, ranging from patient eligibility to post-operative care requirements, insurance coverage, potential risks, and aesthetic outcomes, need careful consideration.

Deciding on a dental procedure can be challenging. It’s paramount to be well-informed and seek professional advice. As a board-certified dentist, Dr. Aaron Johnson is committed to guiding you in making the best decision for your oral health.

Feel free to contact Great Lakes Dental for a consultation or to learn more about pinhole gum surgery and our range of other services.

Your smile is our priority – we’re here to ensure it stays healthy and vibrant.

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