Gum recession (where the gums gradually pull away from the teeth) is an incredibly common problem among adults. Recession appears due to a variety of reasons including poor dental hygiene (leading to periodontal disease), aggressive brushing, and general aging. Because so many patients have it, dentists are always trying to find new techniques that can effectively “cover-up” the exposed tooth root(s). Years ago, the only true way to repair receding gums was to perform a traditional connective tissue gum graft. Nowadays, we have a few different techniques that we can also use that are less invasive and painful for the patient. At Stanley Dentistry, we use the “No-Hole” technique as often as we can because it’s minimally invasive, has a high success rate, and is significantly less painful than other methods.
Also known as the “Tunnel” technique, the No-Hole technique does not involve creating any kind of incision. Instead, the doctor uses a special set of tools to “tunnel” underneath the gum tissue, forcing it away from the tooth. This space between the tooth and gum tissue is very small but it’s just large enough for the doctor to place an allogenic dermal substitute (AlloDerm). Once the AlloDerm is in place, the doctor raises the gum tissue to cover the exposed root and sutures it into place.
The No-Hole technique allows the gum tissue to stay intact which improves vascularity (blood flow) around the area. Better blood flow means higher chances of a successful and esthetic outcome. This technique also grants the doctor the ability to correct gum recession on numerous teeth during one procedure. With traditional gum grafting methods, patients with extensive, full-mouth recession have to come in for numerous, lengthy procedures. The No-Hole technique needs just one quick procedure to produce long-lasting results.
Dr. Robert Stanley coined the name “No-Hole” in reaction to the popular “Pin-Hole” technique. With Pin-Hole procedures, the doctor creates a small hole in the gums and uses an instrument to stretch the tissue before inserting a collagen matrix. The procedure can be successful for minor gum recession but it is very difficult to perform and the introduction of a hole in the gum tissue is unnecessary when the No-Hole technique works so well.
New dental techniques take a long time to catch on because they frequently require extensive training and experience to master. At Stanley Dentistry, our doctors are always signing up for new continuing education courses so they can stay abreast of current dental trends. This is how we’re able to offer procedures like the No-Hole technique at our office.
The No-Hole technique can be difficult to perform because it requires the doctor to work in a very small area (the pouch between tooth and gum). Dr. Robert Stanley has significant experience with the No-Hole technique and has performed the procedure successfully on countless patients.
Most patients experience pain during the first three to four days post-surgery. By their one or two-week post-op appointment, most patients are feeling little to no discomfort. We encourage patients to stick to soft foods for the first few days and to slowly introduce semi-solid foods into their diet as the site of the graft heals. By a month after surgery, patients are completely healed and pain-free.
One of the main reasons why doctors began searching for alternatives to traditional grafting is because of the pain patients were experiencing. The No-Hole technique, unlike traditional grafting, is minimally invasive and heals quickly and easily. During the procedure, we use various kinds of sedation dentistry to keep the patient comfortable.