Ozone isn’t just a layer in the atmosphere. It’s also used in a controversial method to drill and fill cavities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not approved ozone therapy for dentistry, but dentists have used it internationally.
Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive molecule. In the upper atmosphere, it protects earth from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In the lower atmosphere, ozone is an air pollutant with the potential to cause respiratory problems.
How do dentists use ozone? If a tooth is decayed and needs a filling or root canal, or even an extraction, the dentist can first wash the exposed nerve with ozonated water. Concentrated exposure to ozone gas follows the wash, which is intended to keep the nerve from dying. This eliminates the need for a root canal. It is dangerous to breathe ozone, so while working, the dentist must keep a suction device nearby at all times to protect the patient from stray ozone fumes in the mouth during treatment.
After treatment, the dentist places a mineralization agent on the tooth to help it heal and re-mineralize. Patients often have to aid this process by using mineral mouthwash and toothpaste.
Some experts are skeptical about the procedure and insurance companies generally won’t cover it, but it is a great example of the advances being made in dentistry and dental filling options.