We thought we would provide some interesting information and tips on the importance of creating and maintaining a more environmentally friendly dental practice.
Did you know that dentists each year alone are responsible for:
- 3.7 tons of mercury waste (making dental practices one of the biggest contributors to mercury levels in local water systems)
- 1.7 billion sterilization pouches
- 680 million light handle covers, patient bibs and chair barriers
- 28 million liters of toxic X-ray fixer
- 4.8 million foils
Added together that surmounts to tons of waste damaging the planet. As members of the dental community we know how important it is to take great care of our teeth and should therefor know how important it is to take care of our planet too.
Benefits of becoming more environmentally friendly
Not only will making your dental practice greener help save our planet but it will also bring about a number of other benefits for your practice too. Some of these other benefits are:
1. It can boost staff morale
Studies show that making a conscious effort in the workplace to be more environmentally friendly can lead to happier, healthier and more productive staff as they feel they are having a positive impact in society.
2. Patients are more loyal to a greener practice
Globally, consumers and clients are becoming more and more aware and concerned with the environment. One way to address this persisting concern is by choosing companies, products or practices that show that they are making some sort of commitment to contributing to the preservation of the planet. Therefor by making a conscious effort to be more greener will most likely attract a larger number of clients and keep them loyal to the practice.
3. It can reduce expenses
According to dental experts, costs can actually be reduced by creating a more environmentally friendly practice. This can be done by replacing disposable products with reusable ones or even reducing costs by digitalizing scripts, advertisements and patient files instead of printing them.
Ways to become more environmentally friendly
1. Everyday waste
Many disposable items in a dental practice, like masks and gloves cannot unfortunately be recycled however there are products such as plastic cups or bibs that can either be recycled, are biodegradable or replaced by reusable ones.
2. Dental instruments
Instead of throwing away old dental instruments that are blunt or outdated rather consider donating them. There are many underprivileged countries and communities in need of medical equipment as well as organizations such as Open Wide Foundation that re-purpose and re-use such items.
3. Digitalising marketing, charting and scheduling
This can be done by creating a ‘paperless practice’ by digitalizing all operations and interactions with patients. In addition to becoming paperless, practices can switch from conventional x-ray systems to digital imaging technology which eliminates the use of toxic chemicals and lead foils which will have a monumental impact of reducing toxin levels in our water systems.
‘The earth is what we all have in common’, said Wendall Berry.
So as part of the dental community – lets look after it.
Farahani, A. and Suchak, M. (2007). Eco-friendly Dentistry. [online] University of Waterloo. Available at: http://ecodentistry.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/eco-friendly_dentistr... [Accessed 8 Apr. 2019].