The curative and disinfecting effect of Ozone gas is an astonishing phenomenon, a completely naturally occurring product that out performs most if not all disinfectants and antiseptics. The undisputed disinfection power of ozone over other antiseptics makes the use of ozone in dentistry a very good alternative and/or adjunct disinfectant to standard antiseptics.
At Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants we practice Minimally Invasive Dentistry, in fact it is our Standard of Care in all disciplines of dentistry, most importantly in preventive and operative dentistry. The implementation of ozone therapy into our practice has greatly facilitated this as we are routinely arresting and reversing the process of dental caries (tooth decay) without invasive or destructive treatment.
Ozone – What is it?
Ozone (O3) is a naturally occurring gas with a characteristic smell that is present in small amounts in atmospheric air. Ozone molecules are composed of three oxygen atoms and is normally abundantly present in the upper layer of atmosphere, by surrounding the earth, it protects living organisms from ultra-violet (U.V.) rays. Being denser and therefore heavier than air, it falls downward toward the earth cleaning the air as it goes by combining with any pollutant it comes in contact with. Essentially, ozone is Mother Earth’s natural way of self-cleansing.
Medical grade Ozone is made when medical grade oxygen is electrically activated (using an Ozone Generator) to form ozone, therefore it is a mixture of the purest oxygen and purest ozone. Ozone has been used in the medical field since the 1800’s due to its extremely strong oxidation properties.
Ozone – How does it work?
Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi are composed of carbohydrate, protein, RNA and DNA surrounded by a cell wall or cytoplasmic membrane that contains little to no antioxidants. This feature makes these organisms vulnerable to oxidants and a powerful oxidant such as ozone will destroy the cell membrane and oxidise all essential cellular components of these pathogens in seconds resulting in a disinfecting or sterilizing effect.
This action is non-specific and selective to microbial cells so it does not damage human body cells because of their major antioxidative ability.
Common disinfectants and sterilization materials contain chemicals such as chlorine. Halogen-type disinfectants like chlorine work by diffusing into cells and disrupting cellular enzymatic actions, however the breakdown compounds can include toxic molecules like trihalomethanes. Ozone works very differently to these products and leaves behind absolutely no toxic by-products as the final breakdown products of ozone are water and oxygen.
Evidence-based research has shown that ozone effectively kills bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites and as an antimicrobial agent, it is a powerful oxidizer at a dramatically lower concentration than chlorine with none of the toxic side effects. One molecule of ozone is equal to between 3,000 to 10,000 molecules of chlorine and it kills pathogenic organisms 3,500 times faster. Studies have also revealed that it only takes 10 sec to kill 99% of bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Applications in Dentistry
In dentistry, ozone has got its role in various dental treatment modalities. Ozone therapy presents great advantages when used as a support for conventional treatments including:
- Endondontics – root canal therapy
- Periodontics – gum and jawbone applications
- Surgical procedures
- Restorative dentistry & Prosthodontics
- Soft Tissue lesions including cold sores
Ozone therapy in Endodontics – Root Canal Therapy
Endodontic treatment involves cleaning out the canal or canals within a tooth via instrumentation and irrigation with disinfectants. This procedure is designed to decontaminate the tooth from all the invading bacteria that caused the tooth and the surrounding bone to become infected in the first place. Studies have shown that following endodontic therapy, some bacteria remain in the multitude of the very small lateral or accessory canals. Ozone is highly indicated in root canal therapy due to its strong disinfection properties and one study suggests application of ozone gas for a period of 10 to 20 seconds resulted in 99% of the microorganisms being destroyed when combined with accurate and diligent chemo-mechanical preparation.
Ozone therapy in Periodontics – Gum & Jawbone Therapy
Gingival and Periodontal diseases represent a major concern in dentistry. The majority of the contributing factors and causes of periodontal concerns are bacterial in nature and are therefore reduced or treated with ozone. Ozone is indicated in all stages of gum and periodontal disease treatment because of the efficient oxidative effect on the bacteria. Ozone also has beneficial biological effects on the periodontal tissues as it stimulates immune responses, healing and tissue regeneration.
Implementing ozone gas into periodontal therapy following the root planing or scaling procedure has shown to reduce the bacterial load on the patient locally and systemically. Research has shown that the application of ozone therapy in both acute and chronic gingival and periodontal diseases showed marked improvement of the condition.
Ozone therapy in Oral Surgery
Scientific research has demonstrated that ozone can accelerate the healing rate in the oral cavity and patients with ozone treatment showed an accelerated physiological healing rate without the need for systemic medication. It was also found that application of ozone therapy after tooth extraction reduced the incidence of post-extraction complications and infection.
Ozone therapy in Restorative Dentistry & Prosthodontics
Ozone has the ability to arrest or stop the progression of dental caries (tooth decay) when used in combination with a remineralising agent. During the treatment of decay, ozone offers the best solution for avoiding root canal treatment in very deep cavities that is giving the tooth the best chance of survival and killing the bacteria before they reach the “nerve”.
Ozone therapy of Soft Tissue lesions
Ozone has proven to be effective against most bacteria and viruses and there have been several reports on the application of ozone on many soft tissue lesions. All kinds of infectious and inflammatory soft tissue lesions have been shown to respond very well to topical ozone treatment. Research has demonstrated that when treating Herpes labialis (cold sores), Aphthous ulcers, traumatic wounds, burns, cheilitis and mandibular osteomyelitis faster healing times than conventional methods have been observed.
Dentistry is always advancing as we are now using modern science to practice dentistry. Ozone therapy has been shown to be a very beneficial advance and adjunct to conventional therapeutic modalities. This state of the art technology allows us at Sydney Dental Aesthetics and Implants to take a minimally invasive and conservative approach to dental treatment, which in turn reduces treatment and healing times, dramatically reduces the microbial count and risk of infection as well as being completely painless.
Ozone is definitely part of our exceptional wellness dentistry regime and a revolutionary advance in both modern medicine and dentistry.