What is the Chao™ Pinhole Technique?

What is the Chao™ Pinhole Technique?

By Joe McIntyre, DDS on August 18, 2021

What is the pinhole technique? How can it help? Gums recede for many reasons, including periodontal disease, genetics, or long-term aggressive brushing. Instead of using a traditional gum graft, dentists can treat receding gum lines with the minimally invasive Chao Pinhole surgical technique. The pinhole technique employs specially designed instruments to move the gum tissue over exposed tooth roots gently and does not require stitches.


We serve families and individuals in the Harrisonburg, Bridgewater, and Staunton, VA, areas. Our patient-centered dental team performs state-of-the-art dental care in a relaxed, homey environment.



4 Steps of the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique:

Dentists use the pinhole technique to repair receding gums, without needing to cut and graft soft tissue. If required, this technique can be performed on multiple teeth in one visit. During the procedure, you can expect:


  1. The dentist creates tiny incisions in the recessed gingival (gum) tissue.
  2. He then inserts micro-instruments through the pinholes to gently loosen gum tissue.
  3. The gingival tissue is moved to cover exposed tooth roots.
  4. Collagen (a hardened protein found naturally in connective tissue) is administered through the pinholes to help secure the relocated gum tissue.



Advantages of Chao Pinhole Surgery

Compared to traditional gum grafting surgery, the Chao Pinhole surgical technique:


  • Is much quicker (it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete)
  • Involves less chair-time in a single visit
  • Has a shorter recovery time
  • Is more conservative (uses existing gum tissues instead of grafts from the soft palate)
  • Does not require uncomfortable sutures
  • Provides instant results


The International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry published a study in 2012 that demonstrated the resilience of the pinhole surgical technique after nine years. The majority of patients displayed signs of adequate tooth root coverage and 95% of these patients were satisfied with the appearance of their smiles. In fact, the results from many older cases are still holding firm to this day.



Is Chao Pinhole Surgery Right for Your Needs?

The Chao Pinhole surgical technique is a good option for many patients. It is a recent dental advancement with minimal risks. As with most surgical procedures, patients are at risk of minor bleeding, swelling, and moderate discomfort for several days after the operation. Most patients manage discomfort with over-the-counter medication.


Not everyone is a candidate for pinhole surgical technique, though. Patients with active periodontal (gum) disease or inflammation do not qualify for this treatment. Smoking impedes the body’s ability to heal. Smokers who are not willing to quit should not have this surgery.



Repair Gum Recession Now

Gum recession can happen at any age, though older people and smokers are at higher risk. Many patients experience gum recession without even realizing their gums are unhealthy. Leaving tooth roots exposed increases the risk of tooth sensitivity, cavities, and tooth loss.

If you have gum recession, choose the minimally invasive treatment option: Chao Pinhole surgical technique. Call (540) 828-2312 or message us online to schedule a comprehensive oral exam with a Smiles for Life dentist.

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