A great dentist is always learning. It’s something that the father of modern American dentistry, G.V. Black, commented on over a hundred years ago: “The professional man has no right other than to be a continuous student.” It’s how you serve your patients well.
That’s one reason why Dr. Attar spent last weekend in Sarasota at the spring meeting of the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology. Among the great teachers he got to spend time with was Dr. Phil Mollica, an expert in dental ozone who has done an amazing job of teaching fellow dentists how to use this diverse therapy in their holistic, biological practices.
It’s also a therapy that continues to gain additional support in the scientific literature.
Consider the study published last year in the Journal of Oral Research and Review – a small study but a compelling one. Twenty adults with chronic periodontitis – the most severe form of gum disease – took part and were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Each had a periodontal exam and a standard periodontal cleaning known as scaling and root planing. Plaque samples were taken from periodontal pockets (the space between tooth and gum).
After the cleaning, oil was applied below the gums – olive for one group, ozonated oil for the other. This was repeated at 7, 14, and 21 days after the initial cleaning. One week after that, their gums were examined again and new plaque samples were taken.
No significant differences were found for three key measures of periodontal health: the amount of plaque, the degree of inflammation in the gum tissues, and pocket depth.
But they did find that the bacterial load was heavier for the olive oil group. After a month, those in the ozone group had fewer bacteria able to multiply under the controlled conditions. The researchers thus concluded that
Subgingival application of ozone oil is a beneficial adjunct treatment modality to enhance periodontal health with a significant role in periodontal therapy. It serves as a promising antimicrobial agent to treat periodontal disease.
Of course, that antimicrobial power is what makes ozone so versatile in dentistry. A recent review in Medical Gas Research offers a comprehensive list of all the other ways it can be used – beyond treating gum disease and disinfecting treatment areas:
- Treating decay.
- Reducing bad breath.
- Reducing tooth sensitivity.
- Reducing bacterial adhesion to implants.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Tissue regeneration and wound healing.
- Sterilization in root canal treatment.
- Pain control, including the treatment of TMJ pain.
- Supporting tooth whitening.
- Reducing stomatitis – inflammation of the mucosal tissues – in those who wear dentures.
- Treatment of soft tissue lesions.
- Treatment of cavitations in the jawbone (osteomyelitis/osteonecrosis/ischemic bone disease).
While infection control is a big part of ozone’s power, other important mechanisms make it especially helpful in supporting healing. For one, it stimulates the immune system and increases oxygenation of the body’s tissues. It even stimulates the secretion of nitric oxide, which can lessen pain while also helping with detoxification.
And all this with no significant side effects – which is why we’re pleased to have it play such a central role in our dental practice.