What an interesting (and sometimes frightening) new time we’re in. Information seems to be changing by the minute and it can be hard to filter through all the different recommendations. Personally, I believe the best way to approach the current COVID-19 situation is PROACTIVELY!
It is our responsibility to think ahead and determine how and what we are going to do after the pandemic to:
- Protect ourselves, our patients and team from future threats.
- Comply with regulations that may make practicing dentistry difficult and financially stressful.
- Hit the ground running in order to start producing again, become profitable and serve our patients safely.
In the dental field, we understand the importance of keeping everyone safe. Right now, we’re constantly in search of new ways of doing things and communicating those changes to the dentists and team. I’m busier now than ever before and am happy to report that our practice has implemented amazing new technology during this unique time.
We recently began utilizing Ozone Therapy. Over the last 2 weeks, I have spent a lot of time compiling research on COVID-19 in the dental office. Specifically, what can be done to minimize the risk of transmission using Ozone Therapy. Ozone has been used for many years in the dental and medical fields and is shown to be effective for improving wound healing, the immune system response, reducing inflammation, and in destroys bacteria, fungi and viruses. It is a natural compound that can easily be produced in the dental office using medical oxygen or air.
Ozone is a time-tested modality that has been proven, through scientific research, to be an effective disinfectant on viruses spread through aerosol and on surfaces, particularly the lipid envelope viruses, which include COVID-19. It can be used in liquid or gaseous forms, so it has multiple applications in dentistry. It is non-toxic, and when used properly, is safe for both patient and practitioner.
What Exactly Does Ozone Do?
Essentially, Ozone kills “bad” bacteria, virus particles, fungi and parasites. To put it simply, Ozone attaches to the wall of a disease cell or virus. That cell (of the virus) doesn’t have a chemical that can withstand the Ozone, so it’s destroyed.
Ozone was first identified by Christian Friedrich Schönbein in 1840. In history, Native Americans noticed that there was a relationship between the strong odor generated by lightning strikes and successful fishing days. The successful fishing trips can be explained as there being an increase in oxygen in the upper layer of the water. Since then, Ozone has been experimented with in various aspects of dentistry for over 100 years, first as a disinfectant in operating rooms in 1856. In 1870, Ozone was used to purify blood. In the 1930s, dentist Edward Fisch used Ozone Therapy to disinfect and heal wounds for his dental surgeries with great success. It has also proved useful in the treatment of periodontal disease.
Some proposed uses of Ozone for prevention of COVID-19 transmission include:
- Having every patient pre-rinse with fresh Ozone water for 60 seconds.
- Using fresh Ozone water in all water lines, ultrasonic and Piezo units.
- Using Ozone gas for disinfection of the air and hard to reach places after procedures are completed.
- Utilizing Ozone water as a surface disinfectant to wipe down the operatory.
Ozone is not a silver bullet for viral disinfection but can be an important part of the “layering” of protections we will all need in this new era of dentistry. As office managers, it is our responsibility to lead and educate our teams, including our doctors, in ways to improve and refine our protocols. Adding Ozone Therapy is one possible new way you do that.
**IMPORTANT: Please note that all practitioners are required to complete Ozone training with a certified trainer before using the modalities with patients. Have questions? I would love to share with anyone who is interested how we began using Ozone Therapy in our practice. Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Together we can begin a new way of doing things!
Shelly Otte, FAADOM has served as the Office Manager for Dr. Douglas Schulz (Corporate Lakes Dental) and Education Center Manager at Corporate Lakes Education Center. She was also the President of the Kansas City AADOM Chapter, which was recognized as 3rd Place Chapter of the Year at the 2018 AADOM Conference. After moving to Monument, CO with her family, she excitedly joined the practice of Dr. Jeffrey Yelle (Mountain Wellness Dentistry) as his Practice Leader. Shelly is actively pursuing her MAADOM for September 2020! She is also a member of Speaker’s Consulting Network (SCN). Her goal in life is to make every day a little easier and happier for others.