When most people think of the Ozone, they immediately think of the protective layer which surrounds our planet. In the dental world, “Ozone” means something completely different. Though it is still a very new practice, some dentists believe that by introducing O3 (Ozone) gas into a cavity (http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/), that the decay process can be halted.
Virtually every time you eat or drink anything but water, sugars are left on your teeth. These sugars provide food for bacteria that occur naturally in your mouth. So, when these bacteria have an overabundant food supply (caused by poor oral hygiene) they grow in numbers. When there get to be too many, they wreak havoc on your enamel. For more information visit http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/dental-services/periodontics-gum-disease/.
The theory behind using ozone is that it kills bacteria. If you destroy the bacteria which cause tooth decay (cariogenic) then you essentially halt the decay process. It may seem odd to use Ozone as a treatment, but it has been used in medical and industrial applications for years.
The process for making O3 is extremely technical, but basically O3 is made by splitting an oxygen molecule (O2) in half. You are left with O. This molecule is the attached to another O2 and we get O3. The higher concentration of oxygen emits a slight scent. If you have ever been in the woods after a lightning strike you may know this smell.
This extra molecule does not have as strong of a bond as the first two molecules so it will abandon ship and bond with other molecules if given the chance. When this happens it is called oxidation, and oxidation destroys many microorganisms.
Once microorganisms are destroyed, minerals can return to your teeth causing them to harden back up and, in some cases, reverse the effects of decay. A mineral rich solution is used to speed up the repair process. From the research we do have, it seems unlikely that decay will return to a tooth once it has been re-mineralized. Several treatments may be given to enhance the results.
From its uses in the medical field, we know that Ozone is safe and has little if any side effects. Research has not tested the specific effects of Ozone on the teeth and gums, but considering it is naturally produced in our bodies, no one expects the result to be any different from the medical results.
Right now, you are probably thinking “This sounds great! Why aren’t all dentists using this?” Well, that is a great question. For starters, the process is not proven. Some studies have shown success in trials, but not enough success to make the research conclusive. Developing this technology would be expensive, this is why the FDA has not readily allowed Ozone to be used in the United States.
The Ozone method only works for minor caries. It cannot reverse huge caities. For these, I recommend an extraction and implant (http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/dental-services/prosthodontics/implants/). This being said, for many dentists it would not be a cost effective option even with full FDA approval. If it had the potential to restore a larger area, it would seem a more justified cost.
Nevertheless, using Ozone would open many doors and provide many options. If dental procedures can be made more comfortable for the patient, than they should be. And, whenever we have an opportunity to use better and safer materials we should.
Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.
Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2015