Green Dentistry. Is there such a thing?

In my search for the best information for my blog, I’ve scoured the internet looking to see if there is such a thing called “Green Dentistry.”  With it being hip to be green, from hollywood celebrities to corporate jaggernauts, I’m surprised not many dentists have adopted the concept.

It is common however for dentists to jump on the bandwagon.  Though lately I’ve given more thought to it than most dentists, here ar e few things that any dentist may consider when going green.

1.  Removing mercury fillings and SAFELY discarding them.  I’m not going to mention too much about the mercury toxicity debate but I am going to mention that it is a requirement to dispose of the hazardous material properly.  I know that in my previous office, strict protocols were needed to monitor the substance and extra equipment like amalgam separators.

2.  Energy savings in the office.  As dentists, we want to have nice well-lit offices to create a pleasant environment, but is it right to do at the expense of energy?  Not to mention, the added costs to light up and power the computers and other dental equipment.

3.  Conserve on disposables.  A lot of dentists use barriers to cover up surfaces but all of these plastics and paper products add to landfills.  Dentists should instruct their staff to use spray and wipe techniques to disinfect surfaces.

4.  Paper in the office.  Whenever you go to the dentist for the first time, the first thing they do is give you a clipboard with several pieces of paper… commonly called “The Paperwork.”  Nowadays, offices are computerized and an online form is becoming more popular.  They even have signature pads for you to sign.  The term paperless would be difficult these days but a chartless dental office is now feasible with current software.

5.  Chemicals.  With the advent of digital xrays, dental offices are able to eliminate the need for x-ray developing chemicals.  Choose an office with digital xrays.

6.  Text and email communications instead of postcards and mailed statements.  Another way to cut down on paper is with the use of the internet and cell phones.  People actual prefer a text or email reminder as opposed to a phone call.

This list could be a whole lot longer but these 6 tips are a good way to start.  Feel free to print this out and give it to your dentist.  They may even give you a discount on your next cleaning!

Dr. Marvin

ps.  I’m still working on a book for dentists on how to be environmentally friendly.  Subscribe to this feed for the latest updates.


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