Ozone (O3) is a naturally occurring gas with a characteristic smell that is present in small amounts in atmospheric air. Ozone molecules are composed of three oxygen atoms and is normally abundantly present in the upper layer of atmosphere, by surrounding the earth, it protects living organisms from ultra-violet (U.V.) rays. Being denser and therefore heavier than air, it falls downward toward the earth cleaning the air as it goes by combining with any pollutant it comes in contact with. Essentially, ozone is Mother Earth’s natural way of self-cleansing.
Medical grade Ozone is made when medical grade oxygen is electrically activated (using an Ozone Generator) to form ozone, therefore it is a mixture of the purest oxygen and purest ozone. Ozone has been used in the medical field since the 1800’s due to its extremely strong oxidation properties.
Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi are composed of carbohydrate, protein, RNA and DNA surrounded by a cell wall or cytoplasmic membrane that contains little to no antioxidants. This feature makes these organisms vulnerable to oxidants and a powerful oxidant such as ozone will destroy the cell membrane and oxidise all essential cellular components of these pathogens in seconds resulting in a disinfecting or sterilizing effect.
This action is non-specific and selective to microbial cells so it does not damage human body cells because of their major antioxidative ability.
Common disinfectants and sterilization materials contain chemicals such as chlorine. Halogen-type disinfectants like chlorine work by diffusing into cells and disrupting cellular enzymatic actions, however the breakdown compounds can include toxic molecules like trihalomethanes. Ozone works very differently to these products and leaves behind absolutely no toxic by-products as the final breakdown products of ozone are water and oxygen.
Evidence-based research has shown that ozone effectively kills bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites and as an antimicrobial agent, it is a powerful oxidizer at a dramatically lower concentration than chlorine with none of the toxic side effects. One molecule of ozone is equal to between 3,000 to 10,000 molecules of chlorine and it kills pathogenic organisms 3,500 times faster. Studies have also revealed that it only takes 10 sec to kill 99% of bacteria, fungi and viruses.
In dentistry, ozone has got its role in various dental treatment modalities. Ozone therapy presents great advantages when used as a support for conventional treatments including: