By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — No more dreading the dentist, now there’s a new quick and easy way to treat a common problem. It’s being called an important breakthrough.
Brush your teeth, it’s a routine we do several times a day, but instead of getting clean, white teeth brushing too aggressively can cause receding gums. Improper brushing is one of the reasons, more of a tooth, even the root becomes exposed. It can cause sensitivity, decay and tooth loss. “I’ve learned the hard way.. I saw the roots were definitely being more exposed,” says Jeff Weiner. The 39-year-old salesman is among millions who suffer with the common gum problem. It can also be caused by age, genetics and not flossing.
Gum recession affects 22 percent of people under the age of 30 and 75 percent over the age of 60. “I heard some horror stories about getting cut multiple places,” Jeff said. Traditional gum restoration involves painful and difficult tissue grafting, to avoid that Jeff turned to center city dentist Tom George with deme Cosmetics. “It’s an amazing technique that is going to revolutionize the way that we as dentists approach gum recession,” Dr. George says.
He uses specially made instruments to do the minimally invasive procedure called pinhole gum rejuvenation. The instruments allow him to make just a pinhole into the gum, which is numb from Novocain. Then the tissue is pulled back into normal position and strips of collagen hold the gums in place to facilitate healing. Dr. George says, “There is minimal pain, no down time, there’s no grafting, there are no suturing and there’s no cutting with a scalpel.”
Jeff says, “It was simple, it was easy.” And he says he was able to get back to work and eating normally right away. “It was really a great experience,” Jeff said.
Dr. George is the only one in our area currently doing the procedure. It can cost up to a thousand dollars a tooth, but it’s sometimes covered by insurance.