Eco-friendly dentistry is an upcoming concept in dentistry. It emphasizes the use of environment-friendly services in dental practice. Eco-friendly dentistry is an approach to meet the needs of millions of patients along with caring for our planet.
There is an enormous amount of waste produced in the dental office. The list is lengthy right from sharp objects, infectious waste (blood-soaked gauze, cotton), hazardous elements (mercury, lead) to disposable items like latex gloves and suction tips.
Hence in this ever-growing waste management problem, dentists must implement the concept of 4R – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE & RETHINK.
Components of green dentistry include four categories
- Reduce dental waste
- Pollution prevention
- Conservation of water, energy, and money
- Hi-tech dentistry.
Suggesting organic toothpaste and toothbrush
Most of our kinds of toothpaste are mixed with artificial ingredients. Even if they are great for dental caries they can be harsh to our sensitive teeth. They contain compounds like sorbitol, calcium carbonate, and sodium lauryl sulfate, in addition to fluoride.
Moreover, if we switch to the organic toothpaste that consists of coconut oil, baking soda, sea salt, and charcoal, it can help in making the brushing procedure greener. The dentist can recommend their patients to use organic toothpaste and tell the importance of using it.
Also, switching from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo toothbrush will help reduce the consumption of plastic.
Reduce using metals
Dental practitioners used metals like gold and mercury for decades, for fillings, crowns, and caps. Mercury is a component for fillings but it is hazardous for the patient and environment. However, composite fillings and porcelain crowns can replace metals and dentists can opt to use glass ionomer instead of mercury amalgams.
As with every medical profession, patients files, bills and prescriptions are printed on paper. Dental offices could replace paper with digital alternatives. Mailing the reports or prescriptions to the patient can save a lot of paper.
Using energy star equipment
Almost all dental equipment runs on electricity. By replacing the old and outdated machines with energy-star machines can help the office reduce electricity consumption. This includes dental drills, X-ray machines, computers, dental chairs, compressors, etc.
Depending on the location, some clinics can also opt for solar panels to reduce energy costs.
The typical smell present in any hospital or dental office is the result of persistent bio-accumulative toxins. These are the chemicals that get aerosolized and remains in the air. Proper ventilation of the dental office can help in eliminating these harmful compounds.
Thus, green-dentistry is an ethical duty of all the dentists to promote sustainable solutions and protect the earth.