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Green dentistry is reducing the environmental impact of dental services while adhering to the standards and practices of the Canadian dental profession. More and more practices are moving to sustainable methods for cleaning, cosmetic dentistry, and orthodontic care. By doing this, we can reduce waste, be more energy-efficient and conserve more water.
Green dentistry is more than just recycling paper and plastics in the office – it’s about changing our approach to correcting and improving your teeth!
How Do We Make Dentistry Environmentally Friendly?
One of the easiest ways to adapt to greener methods is to reduce waste. Dentists and orthodontists go through many disposable products, even for routine check-ups. Advances have made it possible to reuse supplies and choose biodegradable options, including:
- Reusable cotton towels for the operating room instead of disposable plastic or paper bibs
- Disposable cups that are biodegradable instead of ordinary paper cups that include a plastic coating
- Post-consumer recycled paper products as a replacement for conventional paper products for the office
- Reusable stainless steel suction tips instead of disposable plastic
- Reusable glass syringes as an alternative to disposable plastic syringes
By reducing the number of supplies we have to throw out after each appointment, our practice can easily make environmentally-friendly choices. It’s not just the bibs and cups that make us greener – even specialized equipment can be environmentally friendly!
Green Dentistry Is High Tech Dentistry!
New technological innovations are essential for dental professionals who want to reduce the waste coming out of their practices and conserve more resources. These advances also offer early diagnosis, preventive therapies, and education to serve the needs of all patients who are committed to maintaining long-term wellness and want to avoid invasive or expensive procedures.
Technology has made it possible to prevent waste from another important part of our profession: X-rays. Traditional X-ray imaging uses chemicals such as ammonium thiocyanate and boric anhydride, as well as lead-based foils. If not disposed of properly, these contaminants pose a threat to our environment. By switching to digital imaging, dental practices can reduce the chemical and lead waste given off by X-ray fixers and foils.
Other technological advancements can make check-ups, cleanings, and intensive oral procedures easier and more environmentally friendly:
- Laser hygiene technologies for oral detoxification
- LED lighting
- Digital impressions and patient chart systems
- On-site disposal systems for biomedical waste
It’s easy to dismiss green dentistry as another attempt to “greenwash,” i.e. make our profession trendy by saying the methods we use are good for the environment. However, green dentistry is no small part of the changes we as a society need to make. Climate change, plastic pollution, and declining species are evidence that we all need to make changes in ways that help the environment! Contact us if you have any questions or want to learn more.