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New treatment helps prevent painful effects of gum disease

HOUSTON – Lillian Katzin appreciates the importance of maintaining good health, but no amount of effort kept her from developing advanced periodontal disease. 

It’s a painful condition, according to dentist Katherine Rodriguez.

“The gums get swollen and eventually you start getting bone loss around the teeth, which can lead to severe bone loss and eventually severe tooth loss,” Rodriguez explained.

Years ago, Katzin went through an invasive procedure to battle back against the bacteria invading her gums and it was far from pleasant.

“The pain of having gum grafts, because I've had it. That is painful,” Katzin shared.

Now, specialists like Rodriguez can offer patients a less invasive option.

“We have this laser called the PerioLase laser, which has a fiber that's so tiny we can put it between the gums to get down to that pocket and kill the bacteria and be able to treat the disease that’s way minimally invasive,” Rodriguez added.

The procedure is expensive. It can cost up to $7,000 to treat the entire mouth, which includes a year of followup care. 

It's also not covered by insurance, but Katzin believes it was worth it.

“To me, this is part of keeping health. If your mouth is healthy, you're healthy,” Katzin said.

People with a predisposition for developing gum disease may have to have the procedure repeated, but good oral hygiene can greatly extend the time between procedures.