Ozone therapy in dentistry is a minimally invasive form of dentistry that can be used to treat early tooth caries (cavities). Traditionally, dentists treat cavities by drilling the infected area and filling the tooth. The life of a filling is usually 5 to 12 years, depending on the type of material used. Furthermore, the procedure is painful and the cause of much anxiety surrounding dental visits.
In many countries, ozone is being used as an alternative disinfectant to standard antiseptics. When exposed to the tooth structure, ozone kills the bacteria that can lead to cavities and tooth decay. In the U.S., ozone therapy is a controversial practice in alternative medicine. Ozone therapy equipment is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
How It Works
Ozone is a molecule that is made up of three atoms of oxygen. It is produced in nature by some chemical reactions, such as from the sun’s ultra-violet rays and in thunderstorms. Ozone is also produced by various industrial processes.
In the past, the gaseous form of ozone was not recommended for use within the mouth due to safety concerns. Ozone dissolved in water and ozonated oils have been more commonly used in dentistry. More recently, a method of dispensing ozone gas has been developed that makes it safe to use. A hose connects an ozone generator to a hand piece that has a suction feature at its tip.
Ozone therapy is fast and effective. The gas is applied to sterilize the areas of the teeth affected by bacteria. Ozone therapy is also capable of going deeper into the tooth to treat dental problems that are more severe. Unlike traditional techniques, it reduces the need to have large portions of the tooth removed when getting rid of bacteria.
Uses of Ozone Therapy
Here are some instances in which ozone therapy may be used in dentistry:
- Ozonated water: Rinsing and gargling with ozonated water is used in the treatment of oral abscesses, ulcers, problems with the gums, and sore throats. In your dentist’s office, ozonated water can be used for irrigation as well.
- Maintain health of teeth and gums: Ozone gas can be used to prevent tooth decay by filtering the gas into a custom tray that is worn over the teeth and gums. The procedure is repeated every few months.
- Prevent a root canal: Washing an exposed nerve in ozonated water, followed by treatment with ozone gas, may help keep the nerve alive, thus preventing a root canal.
- Disinfection before a dental procedure: Before a root canal or tooth restoration procedure, your dentist may prepare the area by using ozonated water and gas to kill bacteria.
- Treat pain in the temporomandibular joint: Injecting ozone directly into the temporomandibular joint kills microorganisms and may have the effect of reducing inflammation and encouraging new cartilage growth.
- “Bio-Restructuring”: Ozone therapy has been used in other treatments such as wound healing, desensitization of teeth, and treatment of infections like lip herpes.