Green Dentistry: Environmentally Friendly Dental Care
Eco-friendly dentistry, or green dentistry, is a high-tech approach to dentistry that’s focused on reducing the environmental impact of a dental practice. It works to deliver dental treatments and oral health care using procedures, materials, and technologies that promote the health of the environment and planet. Not only does green dentistry meet the needs of patients in green, eco-friendly, safe ways, but it also helps dental practices protect the community and planetary health as well. Here’s a closer look at green dental practices in patient care, administrative practices, and facilities.
Green Dentistry and Patient Care
Green dentistry practices are used in patient care, and they aren’t just better for the environment – they benefit patients, too. Green practices in patient care may include:
- Using Digital Radiography– Digital radiography eliminates the need for using traditional film X-rays, and reduces the amount of harmful chemicals that are released into the environment with these traditional film X-rays. This option also benefits patients by exposing them to less radiation, and makes x-ray images available to dentists immediately.
- Metal Free Smile Treatments– Instead of using silver amalgam fillings that have been popular in the past, eco-friendly dental practices use metal-free restorations, like composite tooth fillings. Not only are they safer and better for the environment, they offer a more natural look for patients worried about the aesthetics of their smile.
- Reusable Patient Products– Traditionally, so many different types of disposables have been used in dentistry, such as disposable plastic suction tips, patient bibs, latex gloves, headrest covers, and more. This creates a lot of waste, and many dental practices are making the move to make their practice greener by turning to reusable cups, cloth patient bibs, reusable metal suction tips, and cloth headrest covers.
- Safe Removal of Amalgam Fillings– For more than a century, mercury has been used in dental amalgam restorative material. Recent studies have researched the negative impact that this can have on the environment and patients. Eco-friendly practices work with patients to remove these amalgam fillings, replace them with a safer alternative, and dispose of them safely so they do not negatively affect water supplies.
Green Dentistry Administrative Practices
Green dentistry involves going with greener administrative practices as well, which may include:
- Going Paperless– Going paperless is an important part of having a green dental office. Eliminating paper forms, paper charts, and other paper trails in the office makes a huge impact. This may include sending automatic reminders to patients’ tablets, smartphones, and computers, offering tablet-check-ins, and new patient chart creation. Studies show that cloud computing not only reduces the carbon footprint but using digital charting and billing can save thousands of dollars for dental practices.
- Recycling Paper and More– Any paper that is used in an office can be recycled, but there are a lot more eco-friendly dental practices beyond recycling paper. Green dental practices also recycle printers, batteries, cell phones, and other items to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Conserving Energy– Green dentistry involves having staff members conserve energy. This can include turning off equipment and lights when they aren’t in use, and setting computer screens to go dark instead of using screensavers. Water filters in the office also help staff members conserve water by making it easy to refill reusable bottles instead of going through disposable plastic bottles.
Green Dentistry and the Dental Facility
Eco-friendly dentistry is even carried out throughout the dental facility by saving energy, and reducing pollution and waste to reduce the carbon footprint. Green dental facilities may:
- Use LED lights in the office since they use significantly less energy than conventional lighting
- Use environmentally-friendly products and building materials during construction or renovation
- Install occupancy sensors for lights
- Use energy efficient skylights and windows, which save on heating and cooling while making use of natural light
- Use low-flow toilets and faucets in the office to save water
- Use paint that contains no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to decrease toxins in the air
Choosing a Green Dentist
Green dentists focus on making decisions on office equipment, products, and supplies with the environment in mind. We work to decrease our impact on the environment by using eco-friendly options in the office as well.
While it’s always important to follow basic guidelines to pick a dentist, like education and training to provide the treatments you need, also look for a dentist office like VP Dental that maintains an eco-friendly practice.
Serving the North Raleigh area for 18 years, VP Dental is dedicated to treating each patient as an individual and focuses on total body health. The team stays current using the very latest in dental technology, wellness practices, and concierge dental care practices. Our goal is to create relationships that make people look and feel their best.