This is a very exciting time for dentistry.
It seems like there’s always something new developing, from increased awareness about topics like the oral microbiome and the oral health / systemic health connection to scientific advances like the not-too-far-off application of stem cells for regrowing teeth.
Today, let’s focus on ozone gas (which we feel is a quantum leap forward for dentistry) and how each of us can benefit from our dental team using this tool in their practice.
Ozone is an old technology that the field of dentistry (as a whole) hasn’t yet fully adopted. Our hope is that by increasing public awareness of the benefits of ozone in dentistry, we can encourage dental professionals to embrace this superior technology for daily use in their practices.
Where we learned about ozone in dentistry
While exhibiting at a recent biological dentistry conference, we learned that Dr. Julian Holmes (our dentist friend and one of our mentors on using ozone in dentistry) had passed away.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Dr. Holmes, he coauthored the book, Ozone: The Revolution in Dentistry. As you may have guessed from the title of his book, Julian was a very strong proponent of the benefits of using ozone in dentistry and medicine.
We interviewed Dr. Julian back when we produced the HealThy Mouth World Summit in 2013.
As a tribute to the work that Dr. Holmes did to help ozone gain better traction in dental offices worldwide, we’re offering you free access to our expert interview with him. See the interview video below (and please overlook our old logo, etc. 🙂 ).
Ok, back up. What is ozone?
We normally think of ozone as a component of the earth’s atmosphere (and that’s accurate).
Ozone (also known as O₃ or trioxygen) is a naturally occurring gas comprised of three oxygen atoms. As we all recall from high school chemistry, oxygen likes to hang out in pairs. When three atoms of oxygen are together, it’s really unstable. So, that third oxygen atom splits off really quickly and easily.
This free atom oxygenates anything that it touches. More on how ozone works and why it’s so effective in a minute…
“Why should my dentist use ozone?”
When we interviewed Dr. Julian, we asked him about the dentistry applications for which ozone shows promise.
He replied, “Well, it’s probably easier to turn the question slightly around, Will, and say, ‘Which area of dentistry doesn’t ozone have a part in to play?’ And, I can honestly tell you there isn’t a single facet of dentistry where ozone doesn’t have a part.”
In other words, dentists could be using ozone in their practice with nearly every patient.
Here are some reasons why we feel it’s best to find a dentist who is well versed in using ozone.
#1: To help stop active decay (without a drill)
As a gas, ozone is naturally able to travel much farther into the interior of the tooth.
When ozone gas is applied to an area of active decay, rather than just disinfecting the surface, it can also travel into the micropores of the tooth and address the tooth-decay-causing thug bugs in the subsurface tooth structure.
Dr. Julian shared with us that some dentists actually redesigned their business model and had patients come in every 3 months for an ‘ozone treatment’.
What they found was that by exposing all teeth to ozone gas through a customized tray that they used in their office, the dental team could actually move beyond the ‘drill and fill’ dental model.
Let’s stop and think about the implications of a dental office not drilling and filling as their only treatment model…
Putting a drill to a tooth should be a last resort.
Simply put, once you’ve drilled a tooth, you’ve altered the natural tooth structure and drastically increased the chance that you’ll have to drill that tooth again at some point in the future.
As we explore in our article, “Does tooth decay follow a pattern?“, some dentists feel that drilling a tooth compromises its native integrity and dooms it to future dental work.
So, a dental team that uses the preventive power of ozone in their practice would be a complete blessing for anyone, young and old alike.
And even if the dental team didn’t go so far as to use preventative ozone treatments in their office, it’s still a blessing to find a dentist who at least uses ozone during dental restoration procedures (because ozone is way more effective at cleansing any areas that are being prepped for a filling, crown, etc.).
Using ozone gas allows the dentist to effectively sterilize the filling prep surface (and under the surface) better than water-based treatments. This helps reduce the risk of unintentionally trapping active thug bugs under the new filling.
#2: To help remove inflammation-causing thug bug waste
Ok, so we now understand that ozone helps to kill thug bugs. However, ozone also addresses the thug bugs’ waste as well as the tissue that thug bugs have damaged.
Thug bugs cause damage in several ways, including:
- Actively destroying tissue
- Leaving behind acidic waste products that are the culprit behind tooth decay
- Triggering an inflammatory response from our immune systems (also thanks to the waste products that they leave behind)
So, it’s important that the dental team not only kills any thug bugs at the site of a filling, but that they also remove thug bug waste and clean up any diseased tissue (otherwise, the decay might continue underneath the filling that they install). Ozone can help tremendously with this.
#3: To help stimulate immune system response rather than suppressing it
Many of the disinfecting products that dentists use contain some form of chlorine.
If you’ve ever heard your dental team mention the common antimicrobial compound chlorhexidine, you may have recognized the “chlorine” in that compound’s name.
When our bodies are exposed to chlorine, they recoil as they endure the exposure.
Chlorine naturally oxidizes almost anything it touches.
That’s why it’s so commonly used as pool and laundry disinfectants. If you’ve ever been to an indoor public swimming pool and your eyes burned just walking in the door, that’s chlorine at work.
As an antimicrobial, ozone is actually 1.5x stronger than chlorine.
However, unlike chlorine compounds that stress and compromise the immune system, ozone gas actually helps activate our immune systems and stimulate biological antioxidants in our bodies.
That’s why medical ozone applications are revolutionizing how doctors practice medicine, too.
How to find a dentist that uses ozone
Feel free to check out our article, “Helpful resources to find a qualified dentist to assist you“. It contains links to various holistic oral health organizations, including the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).
The IAOMT database provides an excellent tool to search for dentists worldwide. Their database even allows you to select various modalities that you’re looking for in a dental team. In this case, you can select ‘oxygen/ozone’ and that will be a good place to start.
From there, you’ll want to come up with some good questions to ask your prospective team.
Questions to ask a dental team about their use of ozone
In the spirit of full transparency, not all dentists are created equal.
Also, the dental industry has its share of ‘greenwashing’ going on–some conventional dentists have begun using a few holistic protocols and marketing their practice as ‘biological dentistry’ so they can fetch a higher fee for their services.
So, it’s up to each of us to ask questions that will assist us in determining whether a prospective dental team really understands these tools and uses them in a way that can help.
Here are some questions to help you assess the team.
Do you use ozone in your practice?
No? Say, “Thank you” and hang up. Yes? Proceed to the next question. 🙂
If yes: How do you use ozone in your practice / for what procedures?
We want to hear a list of ways that the dental team uses ozone. Hopefully they’ll talk right over your head sharing the 6-8 ways that the team uses ozone every day.
Does the dentist use ozone gas chairside or just ozonated water?
While there are applications for ozonated water, the gas tends to be superior overall. However, ozone gas requires the dentist to adapt their tech skills a bit.
If they use ozonated water: How often does your team make the ozonated water that you use in your office?
This is a really helpful question to determine how well the dental team understands the use of ozone in dentistry.
Ozone is very unstable, which means it loses its power quickly.
As a gas, ozone loses half of its ‘oomph’ in 40 minutes.
In water it can last a little longer, and ozonated oils retain ozone very well and can be viable for much longer (but as a side note, ozonated water and oils don’t work their way into the micropores and tubules of teeth as well as ozonated gas does).
What you want to hear is that they make ozonated water at least multiple times per day. Ideally, they’d say they make it right before each treatment.
If they say they make it once in the morning and that’s it, we question the efficacy of this choice. After all, how effective would that ozonated water still be by the time the first couple of appointments have passed?
If you would like to read more well-thought-out questions to ask a prospective dentist, please go download our “OraWellness Guide to Safe Dentistry” free ebook.
In it, we share many more questions that you can ask to help you determine whether the dental team you’re considering is optimally trained to support your family’s oral health goals.
Taking a deeper dive…
Here’s the 2012 interview that we conducted with Dr. Julian Holmes, who was one of the top experts on ozone:
We hope this article has provided some insights that you’ll find helpful as you continue on your path to greater oral health.
Does your dentist use ozone in their practice? If so, how?
Going forward, would you like to hear more about the benefits of using ozone in dentistry?
Would you like us to create another expert interview with a dentist who is currently using ozone in their practice?
Please tell us in the comments section.
If enough of you say you’d like to hear more, we’ll arrange it. Thankfully, there are several dentists in our community who would love to help us continue to raise awareness about the benefits of ozone in dentistry. 🙂
Helpful, Related Resources:
OraWellness Guide to Safe Dentistry [Free resource guidebook]
How to balance your oral flora [article]
Is Alzheimer’s actually caused by gum disease? (and what you can do about it) [article]
Are stem cells the answer to healing existing cavities? [article]
HealThy Mouth World Summit [information product solution]
Does tooth decay follow a pattern? [article]
Does flossing really lower my risk of a heart attack? [article]
The role of oral health in developing and reversing cancer [Free expert interview]
4 steps to stop gum disease from causing an auto immune disease in your life [article]
Helpful resources to find a qualified dentist to assist you [article]
IAOMT dentist database [searchable database]