Taking Your Dental Care to a Higher Level with Ozone
Hear the word “ozone,” and you might think of pollution. It’s the main component of smog, after all. Or you might think of the ozone layer in our atmosphere that protects us from the sun’s UV rays – the one that years of chemical use put a hole in.
You’ve also experienced ozone through the fresh scent in the air as a thunderstorm moves in. It’s generated when lightning splits oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the air that can combine into nitric oxide which, through additional reactions, becomes ozone.
And properly harnessed, ozone is one of the most versatile tools used in biological dentistry
What is Ozone?
Ozone is a form of oxygen, slightly different from the kind we breathe. The oxygen we need to live is made of two-atom molecules, or O2. Ozone is oxygen with a third atom attached: O3. That third atom makes all the difference.
Why? O2 is extremely stable. When that extra atom crashes the party, the molecule becomes unstable and negatively charged. So when it meets anything with a positive charge, the ozone is drawn toward it.
That “anything” includes viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens, which typically carry positive charges on their cell membranes. Ozone breaks through and destroys the toxin, which the body can then excrete. At the same time, ozone increases blood flow, as well as the production of cytokines from white blood cells, adding to its power to fight infection.
Because of this, as the authors of the most recent scientific review on dental ozone put it,
Ozone therapy has a wide range of applications in almost every field of dentistry. Its unique properties include immunostimulant, analgesic, [antihypoxic], detoxicating, antimicrobial, bioenergetic, and biosynthetic actions. It is atraumatic, painless, and noninvasive in nature.
To translate: Ozone stimulates the immune system, lessens pain, improves oxygen transport, kills pathogens (“germs\’\’ or “bad bugs”), and improves the ability of tissues to recover. It’s effective and it’s safe.
How We Use Ozone at the Holistic Dental Center
Here at the Holistic Dental Center, we use ozone throughout our office – quite literally. Ozone generators throughout the facility sterilize it thoroughly after hours. But that’s just the start of it.
We use ozonated water during procedures of all kinds, from regular hygiene to treating decay to oral surgeries. Not only does this help control infection in patients’ mouths; it keeps our water lines super clean, biofilm-free, as well.
In other cases, we use ozone in its gaseous form, such as in the treatment of tooth decay (caries). Even if decay has broken through the enamel, ozone can help minimize the need for drilling before we place the restoration.
Ozone also helps recalcify (harden) tooth structure, which means treated areas tend to be stronger than they were before – one reason why ozone can also be a great help in reducing tooth sensitivity. We also offer ozonated olive oil to soothe and treat gum irritation.
Ozone is especially helpful for treating gum disease, as we can inject it directly into the periodontal pockets where harmful bacteria like to hang out. Studies have consistently shown it to be a safe and effective addition to regular deep cleanings (scaling and root planing, or SRP),
One of the most recent was a randomized, double-blinded trial in which half of the patients had SRP plus ozone and half had only SRP. Periodontal exams were done at baseline and at three and six months after treatment.
While both groups showed improvement, those who got the ozone had even better results. They had shallower periodontal pockets, for instance, and their gums bled much less when probed.
Other research has shown ozone to be just as effective as chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial rinse often used in treating gum disease, as well as after surgeries that works well but can discolor the teeth.
Along with seeing the excellent results ozone therapy provides for our patients, such evidence is exactly why ozone continues to have such an important place in our practice. It’s safe. It’s powerful. It works.