Ozone is a triatomic molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms (O3). It has been successfully used in medicine for its microbiological properties—as a bacteriocidal, virucidal, and fungicidal—for over 100 years. In fact, the first patented ozone generator was invented in 1897 by Nicola Tesla.
Using Ozone Safely
A lot of questions arise about ozone as it relates to pollution and the “ozone alerts” we have become so familiar with. Because of these “ozone alerts,” it is no surprise that we may wonder about the safety of something called ozone therapy. However, ozone is not pollution—it only serves as an indicator of pollution. The burning of fossil fuels produces hydrocarbons that gather and cause the pollution; ozone is a by-product of the sun’s UV rays contacting those hydrocarbons. Because ozone is much easier to detect it is commonly used as a reference point for hydrocarbon levels, but ozone itself is not the problem.
It has been demonstrated scientifically that the application of ozone in chronic infectious diseases, vasculopathies, orthopedics, and dentistry has yielded striking, positive results, and it is unfortunate that for the most part, the medical community continues to ignore ozone therapy.
How Does Ozone Work?
Ozone is created in nature; for example, in a thunderstorm. When the oxygen (O2) in ambient air is “struck” by lightning, it very briefly forms O3. The “problem” with this O3 is that there are other molecules in ambient air, namely nitrogen, which will form noxious gases that are not healthy to breathe. Ozone can be created in a lab as well, by using pure, hospital grade oxygen and a good ozone generator with the capability of creating several different concentrations (gamma or micrograms/cc).
Ozone stimulates the body to work better on its own via self-regulation. Oxygen is our most critical element, and ozone increases oxygen utilization. There are many ways to implement ozone therapy: cosmetic, medical, injections, injury, and dental. In the dental practice, I use ozone as a bacteriocidal, virucidal, and fungicidal. For example, we do not use city water in our practice, but rather, we make fresh ozone daily that runs through all our equipment and lines. We use ozone in every aspect of dentistry, from cavities and disinfection to surgeries and healing protocols in ulcerations, sores, or even trauma.
Ozone has a negative charge, while biofilm, bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, infections, and inflammation are positively charged. Therefore, ozone naturally “looks” for these to counteract them. Healthy cells have antioxidants on their membranes, whereas pathogenic cells lack antioxidant enzymes on their cell wall. This is why ozone does not damage healthy cells, but rather stimulates healthy cells to produce more antioxidant enzymes. It’s a win-win! Essentially, ozone helps the immune system “auto-correct” itself, especially when used in IV treatments. It is not used on its own, but a synergistic treatment in functional and alternative medicine or as an adjunct to traditional treatments. And because ozone increases our oxygen utilization, it provides a stimulus that allows the body to operate more efficiently on its own.
Improving Oxygen Utilization with Ozone
Many drugs—known as mitochondrial toxic drugs—interfere with oxygen utilization, such as statins, beta-blockers, barbiturates, some antibiotics, and muscle relaxants. There are also some genetic predispositions that may interfere with a person’s oxygen utilization, as well as their predisposition to cavities or periodontal disease. Your starting point is genetically predetermined; your rate of decay is modifiable. This is the reason I discuss the “why?” with patients. What led us to our condition in the first place? Sometimes finding the “why” takes a little longer—but don’t give up! If we control the terrain, so to speak, even if there is a genetic predisposition to dental issues and diminished oxygen utilization, the body is prepped and can manage those issues.
Unfortunately, some patients want a quick and easy fix. It is usually these “Band-Aids” that end up costing more time, money, and most importantly, health. Thanks to ozone, I have an extra tool in my tool box. I use ozone every day and in every single aspect of dentistry…I call it my SUPERPOWER.
Ozone is used for enhanced healing in dentistry in a variety of ways:
- initial “mouthwash” prior to any treatment
- performing cleanings
- extractions and periodontal surgeries
- deep cavities that might otherwise end in root canals
- restoring fillings to prevent sensitivities
- sensitive teeth
- mouth ulcers and canker sores
- traumatic lesions
As always, work with your medical provider or functional/integrative PCP to see if ozone and its various therapy modalities are right for you.
Dr. Josephine Perez, DMD has been practicing dentistry for 29 years. She is a graduate of Tufts University School of Dentistry in Boston and interned at New Orleans Coast Guard/Navy Base. Her holistic approach to dentistry encompasses each person’s unique and entire (or whole—holistic) state of physical and emotional well-being. The ability to maintain health through preventive measures and treatments of oral disease is her priority. Dr. Perez focuses on the underlying condition, rather than only treating the symptoms. She tests for biocompatibility to find pathways to reduce inflammation and apply biocompatible and biomimetic materials, supplements, essential oils to restore and strengthen the oral cavity and ultimately, the whole body. After decades of restoring and transforming smiles, Dr. Perez has integrated total wellness into her oral health enhancement practice—a revolutionary style of dentistry.