CENTER CITY (WPVI) --Fixing receding gums has long been a difficult, tedious and often painful process.
But some area oral surgeons are now using a fresh, high-tech approach that's a lot easier for patients.
"Oops, forgot to take the glasses off, sorry," jokes Joyce Packer as she settles into the dental chair.
Not the kind of relaxed demeanor normally seen in someone about to undergo her third treatment for receding gums.
When Packer told friends she needed the surgery, they warned her it could be rough.
"They were saying don't do it, he'll have to cut. But he doesn't," she recalls.
And periodontist Dr. Stephen Brown of Center City says the usual way can be painful.
"The traditional way is for a doctor to take a sliver of gum from the palate, and transplant it to another part of the mouth," says Dr. Brown.
"That leaves two places to heal," he quickly adds.
But Dr. Brown is now using a much less-invasive method called "pinhole gum rejuvenation."
"There's no incision, no scalpels, there's no suturing," he notes.
Instead, Dr. Brown works through a tiny pinhole opening to reconnect the gum with the tooth root and bone underneath.
"We put these little strips of collagen in, and they hold the tissue in place," he describes.
The strips look like tiny white pieces of tape.
"You see the results almost immediately," Dr. Brown says.
The pinholes heal completely in 24 hours, though it takes a couple of months for the tissue underneath to completely grow back together.
Joyce says there was no downtime after her first two treatments.
"It was as if I never had anything done in my mouth. I was eating and drinking as soon as I got home, there was absolutely no pain," she says, smiling.
Only about 800 periodontists and dentists worldwide are trained in the patented technique of "pinhole gum rejuvenation."
For more information, click here .
You can find a dental professional trained in the technique by submitting your zip code.
For more information on Dr. Stephen Brown, click here.