The German chemist C.D. Schonbein discovered ozone in 1840, and its first medical application was documented in 1870, when it was used to purify blood in test tubes.
The first clinical uses of ozone came in the early decades of the 20th century by a Swiss dentist named Dr. Fisch. It was later adopted by the surgeon Dr. Payr as a disinfectant. Currently in the US, hundreds of cities and towns use ozone to remove pathogens from water, as well as to treat certain metals.
What Is Ozone?
A single molecule of ozone is equal to 3,000 to 10,000 molecules of chlorine, yet it kills pathogens 3500 times faster.
Ozone in Dentistry
Therapeutic ozone permeates our practice. At the start of every day, we add medical grade oxygen/ozone to distilled water to nearly a 99.5% oxygen to ozone ratio. This is the water we use in all of our delivery systems.
When we are preparing a tooth with a high speed drill and washing that tooth simultaneously, this is ozonated water.
When we wash the tooth after a procedure with the syringe, this is ozonated water.
When using the ultrasonic handpiece to scale and remove calculus; when washing our instruments – again and always, ozonated water.
All tooth decay is the result of an infectious process caused by bacteria that leads to breakdown of tooth structure. These bacteria can permeate the tooth and destroy it from the inside. In addition to irrigation with ozonated water, we apply oxygen/ozone gas with a syringe to disinfect the remaining tooth structure.
In periodontal treatment, we infuse the sulcus – the space between the gum and tooth – with a stream of oxygen/ozone gas for disinfection.
During root canal therapy, we lubricate our files with ozonated olive oil before using them to shape the canals. We then infuse the canals with a substantial amount of oxygen/ozone to disinfect the tooth.
At the end of a tooth extraction, we use ozone to disinfect the bone. In fact, ozone can actually be injected into the bone to help disinfect cavitations which may have resulted from long standing infections.
In sum, ozone therapy is an integral part of our practice that we believe helps set the stage for faster healing by removal of disease causing organisms from areas of infection.