In my 38 years of practicing dentistry, I have seen many new and exciting technologies and procedures. All have had the goal of enhancing efficacy and success in patient care. However, rarely have I seen a technology that I am so thrilled to share with you. Although this is new to the U.S. market, it has been available in Europe for several years. The results have been amazing. This technology consists of using ozone gas and its powerful antimicrobial properties as a treatment for tooth decay.
When the gas is lightly blown onto the decay in a tooth it will penetrate the decay and kill all the bacteria present in the decay. Then over the next several months, before the bacteria has a chance to repopulate the decay, minerals naturally present in the saliva or present in some filling materials enter the decay, remineralizing the decay and turning it back into healthy tooth structure. The new structure is more resistant to future decay than the original tooth.
Like any other treatment that we have in medicine or dentistry, ozone can’t be looked on as a cure-all and does have its limitations. If there is no access to the decay, such that the gas can’t reach the decay, then this doesn’t work. This can necessitate drilling a channel into the tooth so that the gas could reach the decay. Also decay turns the tooth a dark brown color and when the decay is remineralized the color doesn’t change back to the lighter tooth color but stays dark. Sometimes you will still want a filling just to cover the brown area for esthetic reasons. However, this is still better as you have less filling present and more of your natural tooth remaining. If you already have an existing filling that needs replacing, ozone will not do that; you will still need to have anesthesia, have the old filling removed, and then blow the gas on the decay so it will remineralize, and place a new filling. Here a new filling still has to be done but you will end up with a filling about the same size as your original filling instead of a new larger filling that has to replace both the old filling plus the hole where all the decay was removed.
As ozone gas treatment is new to the U.S. market, dental insurance companies have yet to recognize it. Therefore it is not a covered benefit by your insurance company.
If you have any questions regarding this new procedure and to find out if you or your family member are candidates, please do not hesitate to contact our office.