As most of the world shifts towards eco consciousness, different industries have been led to find sustainable solutions that conserve resources and minimize waste. One of these is the dental industry, and its contribution to environmental wellness is called green dental care.
What is Green Dental Care?
By definition, green dental care or green dentistry is a set of practices and designs that are developed and put in place to reduce the impact on the environment while protecting the immediate health of the patient and the dental team. This involves recycling where possible, conserving water and energy, using non-toxic products, and implementing technology to reduce waste.
Going green is especially important when it comes to dentistry. Non-green dental offices in the US create 3.7 tons of mercury waste annually. And for those that haven’t made the switch to digital imaging yet, 4.8 million lead foils and 28 million liters of x-ray fixers are used up every single year. That doesn’t include all of the single-use plastic tools that end up burdening our landfills.
Why Aren’t More Dental Offices Going Green?
If it helps the environment, then why aren’t more dentists going green? A certified green dentistry might be hard to find in your area, and you might wonder why. The answer is that it takes a lot of work and money. While sustainable practices may be saving money in the long run, it can be quite expensive to set up in the beginning.
For example, those energy-saving devices like motion-sensing lights can cost more than a regular bulb. The use of paper is much cheaper than buying a computer for patient charting. And disposable plastic tools can be more convenient than cleaning reusable ones.
It takes commitment and a lot of work to ensure that a dental practice is up to green dentistry standards. Green dentistry entails a change not only in the tools and equipment that are being used but also a change in office policies, patient care, the design of the workplace itself, and so on.
How Can You Tell if a Dentist is Environmentally Conscious?
The easiest way to find a green dentistry near you is to check out the EDA (Eco-Dentistry Association) page for its list of members. The EDA is designed to support green dental patients, practitioners, and the industry as a whole. It categorizes member dental offices according to their level of eco-friendliness, from Standard to Bronze, Silver, and Gold-certified.
If the dental office near you is not part of the EDA, here are some questions you can ask to know if they’re doing their part for the environment:
- Do you have a recycling program in your office?
- Is your office paperless?
- Do you use disposable tools or reusable ones when possible?
- Do you use digital x-rays?
Support the environment when you support eco-friendly providers.
White Dental Studio is a Gold-Certified member of the EDA and has been given the “Green Business of the Year” award by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce in 2017. Our office is designed with green initiatives in mind and we hope to continually improve. For appointments, give us a call at 541-708-6288, or fax us at 541-708-6278.