If we had to choose one tool as the single most versatile one that we use in providing biological dental care to patients here in our Boise office, we would probably have to say medical grade ozone.
A powerful disinfectant, ozone gas can be used to treat surface decay and all stages of gum disease. It can treat TMJ pain. It can treat cavitations (areas of necrotic – that is, dead or dying – bone hidden by healthy-looking gum tissue, often caused by tooth sockets not being cleaned thoroughly after extractions).
We use ozonated water in all of our treatment rooms, too, so whenever we rinse your mouth, you get an antimicrobial benefit. (Using ozonated water also helps keep our water lines pristine, reducing the risk of cross-contamination!)
Best of all, ozone has very few side effects and can be used safely by most people.
What Makes Ozone So Special?
Ozone is essentially supercharged oxygen. Unlike oxygen that you breathe – two oxygen atoms joined in a single, stable molecule – ozone has a third atom attached. Instead of O2, it’s O3.
That third atom makes the molecule very unstable.
To become stable again, the molecule has to lose that extra atom. But one atom of oxygen can’t exist on its own, so it attaches to other things, including pathogens. This interferes with the function of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, allowing them to be excreted through the normal channels of elimination.
This “super power” is exactly why ozone has been harnessed for medical use for over 100 years.
More, ozone has been shown to stimulate oxygen uptake, improve circulation, increase antioxidant protection, stimulate the mitochondria to produce more energy, and decrease chronic inflammation.
How Ozone Can Help with Dental Implants
According to the latest review of the science, there’s a well-established “body of evidence demonstrating the safety and positive outcomes of ozone therapy.”
In recent years, ozone therapy has been the subject of much research, making it possible to apply ozone in specialized dental treatments and supporting the use of ozone therapy with objective findings….
The studies carried out in recent years and their findings provide evidence for the significant medical potential of ozone and encourage further research aimed not only at finding new applications, but also at reconfirming and verifying those already known.
Some of the most interesting studies of late have looked at the use of ozone in implant dentistry.
There are a number of roles for ozone to play in this dental specialty. It can be used to clean the implant itself before its set into the bone, so it’s free of any contaminants. Directly applying ozone to the surgical site is known to stimulate wound healing and tissue regeneration.
Best of all, when ozone is used, patients report less postoperative pain and discomfort. (This is also the case with platelet rich fibrin, or PRF, which we also use regularly in oral surgeries to help accelerate and improve healing – and which we’ll be discussing more in depth in our next post.)
Consider, for instance, the 2020 study of patients who had implants placed on both sides of their upper jaws. Right after the surgery and then three days later, each had one site randomly irrigated with ozonated water and one with saline. Healing was assessed 24 hours after surgery and again five days later.
Where ozone was used, there was less inflammation, less pain, and better wound healing after just the first 24 hours, leading the authors to conclude that ozone “enhances soft tissue healing in the immediate postoperative period.”
A larger study was published the following year in International Immunopharmacology. In this case, 60 healthy adults had dental implants placed. Half had their surgical sites irrigated with saline. The other half had their sites irrigated with both ozonated water and ozone gas.
At 24 hours, 48 hours, and 7 days after the surgery, the researchers evaluated each patient for post-op inflammation, pain, and tissue healing. And at every single one of those checkpoints, the ozone group had better outcomes with zero side effects.
Ozone therapy accelerated the tissue wound healing, minimized tissue inflammation and decreased pain.
It’s studies like these that reinforce why ozone is such an important tool in our office.