Dr Andrew Ng's newly renovated practice in the Sydney suburb of Oatley has become the first surgery in Australia and perhaps the world to treat its entire incoming water supply with an Ozone water disinfection system developed by Biotek Ozone. Every drop of water that enters the practice passes through a treatment unit (Figure 1) before being plumbed into the dental units or available at taps for drinking or hand washing. In addition, Dr Ng has also installed a point-of-use ozone generating system (Figure 2) that delivers a higher concentration of ozone to the water for hand washing.
"Clean water is an ongoing issue in dentistry and there have been many solutions offered over the past decade as the issue of biofilms, in particular, has come to the fore," Dr Ng said. "As a practitioner, I'm particularly concerned about water quality because it can ultimately affect the quality of care I provide to my patients and the health of my staff but the difficulty has been to find an effective solution.
"I first came across Biotek Ozone technology at the ADA Congress trade show in Perth in March 2009 and was immediately interested in the new way they had developed to generate ozone cost-effectively using electrolysis. We subsequently installed the point-of-use Biotek Ozone M7100 system a few months later, which delivers 4ppm ozone to the water from one specific tap.
"Ozone disinfection has been a proven concept for a long time and is even used by Sydney Water to treat Sydney's water supply. But I was never totally convinced by the ability of previous ozone machines on the market to reliably and consistently generate an optimum level of ozone for disinfecting dental unit water lines and at best, their use was cumbersome.
"Biotek Ozone's world patented electrolytic ozone generation system, however, is simply ingenious. The ozone is generated from the water and suffused back into the water at a consistent concentration.
"So in July 2010, we moved from point-of-use alone to disinfect the entire water supply of the practice by installing a Biotek-Ozone WT7200 to the mains water as part of our surgery renovation project. This unit generates a consistent 1ppm of ozone."
As an unstable form of oxygen, ozone possesses several of the properties of an ideal disinfectant: it effectively removes pathogens over a range of physical and chemical conditions; it produces no residues and no unacceptable by-products (only oxygen); it is easy to generate, safe to handle, suitable for widespread use and cost-effective. Ozone requires only a short contact time to kill and inactivate bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi and its antimicrobial action is relatively unaffected by pH. Ozone will kill legionella and unlike chlorination, it is able to give greater than 99% reductions in the levels of parasites such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosoridium spp.1
In recent times, the applications of ozone in dentistry have expanded to include therapeutic benefits for periodontics, endodontics and surgery, as well as whitening.
"By installing the Biotek Ozone system, I now have peace of mind knowing that I have provided the best to my patients, my staff and myself," Dr Ng said. "And, while it may sound like a joke, my plumber now comments on how pleasant my water lines smell, including the sewage line, every time he comes to the practice!"
1. Walsh, LJ. Electrolytic ozonation of water: a new solution to the problem of dental unit waterline biofilms. Australasian Dental Practice. 2011;1:132-134.