Pinhole Surgical Technique

At South River Dentistry, our cosmetic dentist Dr. Jeff Blackburn, DDS has had tremendous success rebuilding gingival tissue with the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique (PST). This periodontal procedure deviates from traditional gum surgery in that there is minimal downtime, no sutures, and no grafting site. Dr. Blackburn has personally trained with Dr. Chao in Los Angeles, and is certified to perform the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique. Dr. Blackburn is currently the only dental professional in the Richmond area qualified to perform this revolutionary gum recession correcting procedure.

If you would like to find out if PST is the right option for restoring your gumline, please contact South River Dentistry to schedule a consultation with Dr. Blackburn. Below, we have provided answers to common questions about gum recession and gingival rejuvenation with the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique:

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What Is Gum Recession?

Gum recession is a condition where the gingival tissue has retreated from the base of the tooth and in some cases led to partial exposure of the tooth root. There are several causes for recession of the gums:

  • Gingivitis
  • Gum disease (periodontitis)
  • Rapid orthodontic shifting of teeth
  • Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism)
  • Harsh tooth brushing habits
  • Tobacco use
  • Aging

Why Is Gum Recession A Problem?

Healthy, properly positioned gums protect the tooth root from plaque, bacteria, and decay. Gum recession that reveals the tooth root can cause sensitivity and discomfort, expose discoloration, and endanger dental health.

healthy gum


Traditionally, surgical soft tissue grafts were the only way to treat receding gums. The grafting procedure rebuilds the gumline using donor tissue or the patient’s own soft tissue, which is sutured into position. In contrast, The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique now offers patients a minimally invasive option for achieving gum rejuvenation without incisions, sutures, or an extended recovery time. Patients who undergo PST for gum rejuvenation generally report minimal discomfort and a smooth recovery.


PST is basically a series of small adjustments made to the gum tissue, which can result in significant improvement in the health and appearance of the gumline. During PST, Dr. Blackburn first uses a needle to make a tiny hole in the affected gum tissue. Through the small pinhole, he uses specialized instruments (designed by Dr. Chao) to gently loosen, expand, and lift the section of tissue to a more elevated position that covers the exposed portion of the tooth root. When the recessed gums are corrected, tiny collagen strips are placed inside to help stabilize the gums. The process is repeated until comprehensive gum rejuvenation has been achieved. No sutures are required to hold the gumline in its new position. The pinhole heals quickly and often overnight.


The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique offers many benefits over traditional soft tissue grafting techniques, including:

  • Minimal post-surgical discomfort
  • Rapid recovery
  • No sutures required
  • No cutting or invasive surgical techniques
  • No donor tissue required from the patient’s soft palate

PST typically yields long-lasting, natural-looking results that are comparable to those achieved with invasive soft tissue grafting techniques.

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