Pinhole Surgical Technique Oak Park Illinois

What is Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria underneath the gum line. There are 3 stages to periodontal disease:

  • Gingivitis - the mildest form of periodontal disease; can be reversed with proper brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings.
  • Periodontitis - moderate periodontal disease; inflammation in the gums can cause surrounding bone to break down, causing pocketing in the tissue that makes it hard for you to manually keep clean; may lead to teeth feeling loose.
  • Advanced periodontitis - advanced disease; pockets deepen more and can cause abscesses around the teeth; in some cases, you may lose teeth to prevent the periodontal disease from spreading further.

Periodontal disease is mostly caused by hereditary, but also improper cleaning techniques can contribute to this disease. Age, stress, smoking and certain systemic conditions are also risk factors for causing excess bacterial growth in the mouth.

In the last 5 to 10 years, research has shown a strong mouth-body connection that links periodontal disease to certain diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and certain types of cancers. Technically, the mouth is the gateway to the entire body, so it is important to maintain proper oral health to achieve overall health.


Disease Control / Full Mouth X-Rays / Scaling & Root Planing

The disease control appointment is usually done prior to any other treatment. At this appointment, a hygienist goes over proper hygiene techniques with hands-on tutorials to help you thoroughly clean your teeth at home. You will leave with multiple cleaning instruments to help maintain the work that will be done later.

Full mouth x-rays (FMX) are done by either your general dentist or by our office prior to scaling and root planing and any other bone treatment. The reason behind this is so that the hygienist and doctor can be made aware of any underlying gum and bone issues that cannot be visibly seen by just examining the mouth.

Scaling and root planing is done by one of our hygienists. This type of cleaning goes deeper into the gingiva than a regular dental cleaning. The hygienist uses a combination of hand tools and ultrasonic scalers to help remove tartar and smooth root surfaces. This clears the areas of excess bacteria and may help with tissue reattachment, reducing pockets in the process.

Crown Lengthening

Why? A crown lengthening procedure is done as to expose more of the natural tooth so that a crown can be placed stably. This procedure is also done if the crown margin is too low to the gum line and some tissue needs to be recontoured for patient comfort.

How? Just like with osseous surgery, the tissue is flapped and excess gum is removed to lower the gum line to the desired height. The change is quite small (1-3 mm usually) but it can make a big different in the appearance and stability of your crown. Some bone may also need reduced. About two sutures are placed after the procedure and a packing will be placed.

You will see us for 2 more appointments prior to release back to your general dentist for restoration.

Pinhole® Surgical Technique

The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique (PST®), invented and patented by John Chao, D.D.S., is a scalpel-free, suture-free procedure for treating gum recession.

This procedure is performed by making a small hole with a needle in the gum tissue. Using specially designed instruments, the gum tissue is loosened and guided over the receded part of the tooth. Since there is no incision or suturing, patients can expect minimal post-operative symptoms (pain, swelling and bleeding). Most patients also are pleasantly surprised by the instant cosmetic improvement.

Before & After

In the News

"The Doctors"

"KABC Interview with Dr. Chao"

"KNBC 4 with Dr. Bruce Hensel"

"Dr. Steve Show"

"San Diego 6"

"Fox 11 Santa Barbara"

"The Morning Blend ABC 13"

KEYE TV's "We Are Austin"

The Globe Health Report

The Globe Health Report

Soft Tissue Grafting

Why: Soft tissue grafting is done to help provide a tougher band of tissue in areas where there is naturally thin or recessed tissue. Although it is not guaranteed that root coverage will be acquired, our ultimate goal is to place thick tissue in those areas to prevent further recession.

How: A small piece of tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth (either from the surface or a small incision is made and a piece of tissue is take from right below the surface) and placed in the necessary area. The doctor will clean the teeth using a polish and hand scaler prior to placing the tissue graft. You will leave with a few sutures on the palate and a few in the graft area. Packing is also placed over these surgical areas.

If desired, some cases ( usually larger ones ) are able to use a donor material called Alloderm. Alloderm is a sterilized collagen material that is used in place of palatal tissue. This minimizes patient discomfort due to no surface wound on the roof of the mouth. There is an additional fee for the Alloderm.

A patient who would rather not use the Alloderm but is uneasy about using their palatal tissue can opt for a stent. A stent is an acrylic retainer-like appliance that covers the roof of the mouth during the healing process so that eating, sleeping and speaking is more comfortable.


Why? A frenectomy is done when the muscle pull under the lip on either the upper or lower teeth ( usually found between the two central teeth ) is either too low or too tight. This can cause either spacing between the teeth or can contribute to recession in those areas.

How? After numbing the area, the doctor gently releases the muscle from the lip. Sometimes a packing is placed to keep the muscle from reattaching. This procedure is very quick and is mostly done for orthodontic purposes or when tissue grafting the lower front teeth.

Extraction & Bone Grafting

Why? If the tooth has broken down beyond repair or has cracked, it is best to remove and replace the tooth. This will help alleviate pain, infection and further damage to adjacent teeth. The bone grafting is placed to help restore bone height and width appropriate for later placement of an implant.

How? The tooth is removed from the mouth as gently as possible, as to not affect the surrounding bone walls. A series of hand instruments and an ultrasonic hand piece are used to achieve this. The socket is then cleaned out of all infected tissue. Once the socket is clean, a sterilized bone material ( sort of the consistency of sand ) is placed into the socket. Your body absorbs the bone grafting and replaces it with your own natural bone. After about 4 months of healing time, an x-ray is taken to make sure the area has healed properly enough for implant placement. We can then schedule your dental implant.

Sinus Lift

Why? This procedure is often necessary when dental implants are needed to replace the upper back teeth. In this area of the mouth, the sinuses have a tendency to grow, leaving an insufficient height in the bone into which a dental implant can be placed.

How? With this procedure, bone graft material is placed against the sinus to help regrow the lost height of bone. It also helps to lightly push the sinus up so that when it's time to place the implant, the sinus is not perforated during surgery. After a period of healing, generally 6-9 months, a dental implant(s) can be placed. An x-ray will be taken prior to make sure the height of bone is appropriate before we proceed.

Dental Implants

What is a dental implant? Dental implants are artificial roots, placed under the gum line, that are designed to either replace a missing tooth (teeth) or to secure a partial or denture. They are a good option for those individuals that have lost one or more teeth and desire a secure, long lasting replacement.

Why? When replacing a single tooth, dental implants are often the most natural tooth replacement option, both in function and ability to clean. They have the advantage over obtaining a bridge in that they require no modification to the neighboring teeth. This helps to limit the potential for future cavities and possible damage to adjacent other teeth. Additionally, since dental implants are made of titanium, there is no potential for cavity development.

How? With the use of a dental implant hand piece, a small hole is made in the bone. Once the direction indicator is placed to make sure the implant is exactly where the doctor wants it, the hole is then slowly expanded to the appropriate implant size. The implant is then placed directly into the bone and a healing abutment or cover screw is placed on top of it to prevent tissue growing into the implant. If necessary, a few sutures are placed.

Implants are only considered the "root" of the tooth; once we place the titanium root, you must see your general dentist for the aesthetic portion of the restoration (the implant crown) We do not do restorative dentistry at Wetzel Periodontics.

You will have 3 appointments after the initial surgery so as to keep up with your progress. If anything would occur during this time, please do not hesitate to call us.


Why? A soft tissue biopsy is done to check any area of suspicion, whether it be a growth or a deterioration.

How? Once you are numbed, a small piece of surface tissue is removed and placed in a sterile container. You most likely will not have stitches afterwards. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing. We usually have your results in about 2 weeks.

Occlusal Adjustment / Nightguards

Why? A soft tissue biopsy is done to check any area of suspicion, whether it be a growth or a deterioration.

Why? An occlusal adjustment helps to redirect the teeth in where they are hitting each other while eating and talking, thus putting less stress on certain areas in the mouth. With the use of a night guard, it helps to maintain this occlusion.

How? Small adjustments are made to the enamel of the teeth by using colored paper to mark areas that are being hit too hard when biting down. This procedure is minor and does not require the use of Novacain. Then, an acrylic night guard can be made by doing alginate impressions of the upper and lower teeth, and doing a bite registration. We make a model replica of your teeth with those impressions and send it to the lab. You get your night guard in 2-4 weeks.

Post Orthodontic

Sometimes after orthodontic treatment, the patient may be left with overgrown, thickened tissue. This can cause the teeth to look shortened or "gummy", and can also cause soreness in the gums. This makes it hard for the patient to brush and floss as they should and sometimes causes insecurity with your smile.

With the latest technology, we can minimize discomfort associated with excess tissue growth and make the gums more esthetically pleasing around your newly straightened teeth!

This procedure is non-invasively done with the WaterLase laser to make for quick results and quick recovery.

Patient Resources

We offer a wide variety of dental care services for your families dental needs. In an effort to serve you better we accept most insurance providers. Other options for those without insurance include cash, checks, credit cards, and CareCredit, a third-party financing company that offers low- to no-interest payment plans. We are willing to work with you to help you with your specific financial needs. For more information, we invite you to call our dental office in Oak Park today. We are happy to assist you in any way we can.

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Meet Constantine Politis, DDS

Certified Pinhole Surgical Technique Periodontist Oak Park, IL

Dr. Politis is a graduate of Loyola University’s School of Dentistry, where he completed postgraduate studies in Periodontics. He then served as Director of Undergraduate Clinical Periodontics.

He has lectured locally, nationally and internationally and is a member of several professional organizations. He has earned his fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry.

Dr. Politis is past-president of the Illinois Society of Periodontist, Hellenic American Dental Society, Chicago Dental Society West Side Branch and served as both an executive board member and editor for the Mid-West Society of Periodontics.

He is actively engaged in the full-time private practice of clinical Periodontics in River Forest, Illinois.

Meet Our Team

Bernadine Sullivan
Dental Hygienist
Bernadine Sullivan received her dental assisting certification from Loyola University’s School of Dentistry. She then worked in Loyola Hospital’s general practice residency before returning to the dental school to obtain her dental hygiene degree and complete her undergraduate studies. Bernadine has been providing her gentle and caring services as a team member since 1995.

Dianne Diaz
Office Admin
Dianne Diaz has been serving our patients administrative needs since 2006. She is an expert in aiding our patients with their financial and insurance needs. Dianne is fluent in Spanish.

Nadiya Danilevich
Dental Assistant
Nadiya Danilevich joined our team in 2014 and has been an integral member ever since. After 7 years of assisting at an endodontic specialty practice she brought her excellent assisting skills to our team. Nadiya is fluent in Ukrainian, and speaks Polish and Russian.

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Politis Periodontics
7327 North Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305
Phone: (708) 386-8600


  • Dental Laser Therapy
  • Exam & Full Mouth X-Rays
  • Disease Control
  • Scaling & Root Planing
  • Crown Lengthening
  • Pinhole Surgical Technique
  • Soft Tissue Grafting
  • Frenectomy
  • Extraction & Bone Grafting
  • Dental Implants
  • Biopsies
  • Nightguards
  • Post Orthodontic

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