This week’s blog post is by Jeff Helmus, a dentist at River Ridge Family Dentistry.
I opened the box with all the vigor of a kid at Christmas. Inside was my brand new DOU-120 Ozone generator and I was excited. If you think I sound like a dork, you would be close; I am a dentist.
The benefits of using ozone in dentistry are numerous. Ozone can be used as a gas or mixed with water. Ozone is a very effective killer of infective microorganisms like bacteria. Not only does ozone disinfect an area, it also promotes better blood flow, enhanced immune response and rapid healing. A safe and natural disinfectant, it can be used in everything from fillings to root canals. How does a dentist get this excited about ozone? Well, let me tell you my story.
About two years ago, I ended up in the ER due to some intense abdominal pain. I was diagnosed with diverticulitis, which is an infection of the large intestine, a condition that is typically treated with 10 days of a couple of very strong antibiotics. I am grateful for the knowledge and education of my ER doctor, and thankful that they were available to treat my condition. Unfortunately, the antibiotics left me very sick, and I lost a lot of weight. I thought diverticulitis at my age was a fluke thing, and I wouldn’t be troubled with it again. However, about nine months after my ER visit, I started getting the diverticulitis symptoms again and, very discouraged, I called my doctor. He couldn’t see me that day, but offered to call in the antibiotics, which I took him up on. As I sat at lunch with my wife, extremely disheartened, she suggested I call a guy who had helped a friend of ours, a naturopath named Micah.
Reluctantly I called, and, miraculously, he answered. I briefly described what was going on, and Micah recommended I mix a couple of herbs with applesauce and encouraged me to not take the antibiotics. I headed to Harvest Health to pick up the ingredients for Micah’s concoction, but double checked that my doctor had called in the antibiotics because I figured I would need them. One dose of Micah’s mix and I started feeling better. I continued taking the mix over the weekend and by Monday was feeling completely better. I was amazed.
This got me thinking about my dental practice. What could I do differently for my patients? What things could improve the health of my patients naturally? My treatment philosophy has always been “holisitic.” I value my relationships with patients and feel that people need to be treated as individuals. I have long recognized that the things I do in people’s mouths will impact the rest of their bodies. But I wasn’t sure where to start with practicing dentistry in a more natural way. Through a lot of education, help from Micah and personal discovery, I am beginning to add more natural options for patients.
The connection between your mouth and the rest of your body is a priority at my practice. We place BPA free white composite fillings. All patients are screened annually using a Velscope oral cancer screening light. We carefully evaluate the benefits and risks of all x-rays taken. I pay close attention to the occlusion, or bite, of the teeth as this can impact things like headaches, tooth fracture and jaw joint issues. My latest addition, ozone, elevates the standard of care for every procedure in which it is used by providing a safe and natural way to sterilize the mouth. Most importantly, I am open to discuss how each individual patient would like to be treated.
My personal health experience is the reason for my excitement about ozone. I am eager to give patients options that will help both their oral and overall health. River Ridge Family Dentistry still has a very traditional feel to it. We do many of the same things we have always done. However, I value being open to new things and, most importantly, open to discussion with my patients.
Please feel free to email me any questions or share with me things that you have learned along the way: .
Photo by Alex Eflon.