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Ozone Treatment for Dental Caries

Ozone Treatment Publicised Widely

UK, August 9, 2002

Ozone treatment for dental caries has been publicised widely in this week's national press, which
has heralded the new technology as the beginning of the end for the dentist's drill.

Stories have promised that large numbers of patients would benefit from the technology, which
requires no drilling, fillings or injections. It involves putting a plastic cap on a tooth and applying
ozone for 10 seconds. The ozone gas readily penetrates through decayed tissue, eliminating any
bacteria, fungi and viral contamination, removing the ecological niche of cariogenic
microorganisms, as well as priming the carious tissue for remineralisation.

Earlier this year the research behind the technology was awarded at the annual meeting of the
International Association of Dental Research (IADR) in San Diego.

Mirror & probe and x-rays are inaccurate In many dental practices worldwide, caries detection
depends on visual recognition with the aid of a mirror, probe and x-ray analysis. However,
studies have shown that these traditional systems can be inaccurate. Computerised analysis of
digital radiographs, dyes and tests to look for the propensity of the individual to decay may offer
more accuracy. As a profession, we are taught to amputate the diseased tissue from a tooth,
and we have a wide range of systems to help us, such as the traditional turbine, diamond coated
and carbide burs, ultra-sonic tips, air abrasion, and chemicals. All are very effective, but they all
amputate tooth tissue.

The theory of the development of a carious lesion is crucial to the understanding of the new
treatment to be discussed. The 'niche environment theory' is now accepted to explain the
process of initial colonisation through to the development of acidophilic microorganisms in a
specialised niche environment. As the bacteria collect, for instance in a fissure, they produce
acid that leads demineralisation. To some extent this may be offset by the host's normal neutral
oral environment, but as the numbers of acidophilic bacteria increase, the niche becomes
predominately acidic. This attracts more acid-producing bacterial species, and over time a cavity
forms. The process of niche development may take many years. We already know from previous
studies that decay can be reversed by improved oral care and the use of mineral mouthwashes
and dentifrices.

Caries removal has always relied on the amputation of diseased lesions. There has been no
simple way to eliminate caries without amputation therapy for several reasons. About 450
bacterial species are involved in a mature carious lesion and, over time, there is a change in the
type and species of the microorganisms involved from the process of colonisation, developing,
and mature carious lesion. Additionally, the acidic metabolites of these bacteria are difficult to
denature in the depths of a lesion. In most cases, it is impossible to define the exact limits of a
lesion, so we tend to remove far more tissue than is actually required. In so doing, we severely
weaken the entire tooth structure.
Caries removal with ozone

The new caries elimination system, based on ozone (O3) gas, is delivered through a hose and
handpiece into a polymer cup that is placed around the tooth surface to be treated. The ozone
penetrates through the decayed tissue, eliminating any bacteria, fungi and viral contamination.
It also denatures the acid metabolites of the bacteria.

When delivered in 10-second bursts, ozone gas at a concentration of 2,200 ppm can eliminate
99 per cent of the micro-flora, and so halt the decay process.

The 'cleaned' lesion is then able to remineralise. Once remineralisation begins, the naturally
restored tissue has been shown to be far more resistant to decay. As the acidic carious niche
environment can take years to establish, it is unlikely that the niche will redevelop before
remineralisation takes place. One important factor that needs to be remembered is that during
the initial stages, the treated areas of decay will be relatively soft, and will not support any

Therefore, if a restoration is planned after ozone treatment, it should be planned at the review
appointment. By that time, the research data suggests the remineralisation process will be well
advanced, and the tissue hard enough to support a restoration. In addition, waiting 3 months or
more will decrease the amount of tooth tissue that may have to be removed to obtain a cosmetic
result. This in turn preserves as much of the original tooth as possible.

The medical profession has used ozone for over 100 years. Ozone has also been used in
commercial applications for over a century, and is used to purify public water supplies in cities
worldwide. Ozone is also used to eliminate pollution in air supplies in hospitals and other
buildings. Research is being conducted to see what other applications it could have within
dentistry - from purifying waterlines to tooth whitening.

Our experience

To date, our results mirror those achieved by the team researching the ozone treatment in
Belfast. Our patients are as astounded as we have been at the success of this painless

We promote ozone treatment to our patients because it allows natural remineralisation of

decayed tooth tissue without the need for, in most cases, an injection, drilling or filling. It is
quick, non- invasive, and the instant bacterial elimination is painless and less traumatic for the

Dental care is changing and there is a need for practitioners to change their practice of dental
care. As this technology becomes a topic of interest in the national media, patients will begin
requesting it. The scientific research shows that the technology is effective. The mindset of
'amputation of tooth tissue' has to be changed. Every practitioner has a duty of care and should
therefore rethink their management of the detection and management of decay in light of this
new treatment.


Ozone gas invention may stop tooth decay

Tuesday 6th August 2002

Dentists are testing a new system using ozone gas which may stop tooth decay. The method
uses a probe to deliver ozone gas to the decaying tooth. It kills off bacteria inside the cavity,
restoring the tooth to a more healthy state. The procedure can take just 10 seconds and
involves no injections or drilling.

An airtight rubber cap is fitted around the affected tooth and the ozone causes 'soft decay' to
turn into harmless 'hard decay' which doesn't spread.

Scientists at Belfast University developed the technique. They say 10 seconds of ozone gets rid
of 99% of micro-organisms.

The patient can then have a white filling straight away if the remaining cavity is unsightly.

The university's Professor Edward Lynch said: "I experimented with a vast array of chemicals
and substances which didn't work. But, by trial and error, I discovered ozone which eliminates
the decay in a matter of seconds."

Dr. Peter Murray, of James Hull Associates in Cardiff, is taking part in the trials. He said: "This
system is a real Godsend for those people who have always had a fear of visiting the dentist. If
we can identify the decay in time, there will be no need for them to experience the drill in their

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