Background: The use of ozone therapy in the treatment of dental caries is equivocal. The aim of this study was to use an in vitro model to determine the effects of prior ozone application to dentine on biofilm formation and to measure any associated reduction in bacteria viability.
Methods: Twenty dentine discs were bonded to the bases of 5 mL polycarbonate screw top vials. Ten dentine discs were infused with ozone for 40 seconds, 10 samples remained untreated as a control. The vials were filled with nutrient medium, sterilized and placed into the outflow from a continuous chemostat culture of Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus acidophilus for four weeks. At the conclusion of the experiment bacterial growth was monitored by taking optical density readings of the growth medium in each vial and the outer surface of the dentine specimens were examined by scanning electron microscopy as shown by SEM analysis.
Results: Ozone infusion prevented biofilm formation on all the treated samples while there was substantial biofilm present on the control specimens. While the average optical density of the control specimens was almost twice that of the ozone infused dentine (0.710 for the control with a SD of 0.288 and 0.446 for the ozonated samples with a SD of 0.371), the results were not significant (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: This preliminary study has shown that the infusion of ozone into non-carious dentine prevented biofilm formation in vitro from S. mutans and L. acidophilus over a four-week period. The possibility exists that ozone treatment may alter the surface wettability of dentine through reaction with organic constituents.