FAQs: The CHAO Pinhole® Technique

What is gum recession?

Gum recession refers to the loss of gum tissue along the gum line. Patients with gum recession find that the margin of the gum tissue that protects their teeth has worn away or seemingly pulled back, exposing more tooth root than is desirable. This can occur as a result of periodontal disease (gingivitis, periodontitis, advanced periodontitis), the natural aging process, or abrasive habits when it comes to brushing the teeth.

Why should gum recession be taken seriously?

When gum recession occurs, the root structure of the tooth becomes exposed. This means that tooth decay and other more serious problems can affect the teeth along the gum line and beneath it. Early detection and treatment are essential in order to maintain your overall dental health and save teeth. The first sign of gum recession is often tooth sensitivity or teeth that appear longer than usual. If you believe your gums are receding, it’s important you contact a Pinhole® certified dentist for prompt evaluation.

What is the Chao Pinhole® Technique?

The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique (PST) is a minimally invasive option for treating gum recession. Unlike traditional grafting techniques, the Pinhole® technique is incision-and suture-free. All of the tools and techniques used to perform the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique were created by Dr. John Chao, who trained Dr. Fava in this special technique.

How is this procedure different from traditional gum grafting?

Traditional gum recession treatments involve the use of donor tissue or soft tissue grafts in order to rebuild the gum line. Because of the way this surgical procedure is performed, two different areas of the mouth must heal over the course of several weeks. This surgical procedure may still be suggested in some instances.

How is the Pinhole® technique performed?

During the Chao Pinhole® procedure, a needle is used to make a small hole in the patient’s existing gum tissue. Through this pinhole, special instruments are used to gently loosen the gum tissue. These tools help expand and slide healthy gum tissue to cover the exposed root structure.  There are no grafts, no sutures, and no incisions needed with the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique. It simply involves the adjustment of the existing tissue.

What are the benefits of Pinhole® versus traditional grafting?

The Pinhole technique does not require scalpels, sutures or other invasive surgical tools. Patients treated with the Chao Pinhole® technique experience less discomfort and faster recovery as compared to traditional grafting where “donor” tissue is taken from the patient’s palate. Other benefits include faster recovery for the patient than with traditional gum grafting; long-lasting results; natural-looking smiles and gum issues that can often be treated in one visit.


Only a Pinhole®-certified dentist can offer this technique. Philip L. Fava, DMD, MDSc, partner at the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics, is a certified dentist in the CHAO Pinhole® Technique for treating gum recession.