What is green dentistry?
In recent years, we’ve seen the globe vamp up its efforts in a last bid attempt to conserve precious resources, minimise the detrimental impact to our ecosystem and generally improve the health of the environment before damage becomes irreversible. The health care profession has been no exception to this movement and the practice of green dentistry or eco-friendly dentistry, will play its part in building more sustainable resources and improved impact on the environment.
Green dentistry is a high-tech approach, adopted by dental professionals that reduces the environmental impact of dental clinics. It is where dental practices and staff embrace a service model that supports the need to protect planetary and community health. Sustainable dentistry follows a service model that:
- Reduces waste and pollution.
- Saves water, money and energy.
- Adopts a high-tech approach and utilises advanced technologies where possible.
- Supports a wellness lifestyle.
How can dentists be more sustainable?
As health care providers who aim for sustainability, we are determined to share our best practices with others to expand sustainability in the dental setting. Here are the measures that we adopt to support green dentistry at Gentle Dental Care Group:
1) Minimising our carbon emissions. We continuously improve the tools and equipment we work with at the practice. We are using dental equipment requiring minimal electrical supply where possible, as well as using power-saving LED lightbulbs across all our clinics. Plus, we promote dental self-care to our patients to ensure they can conduct good oral health at home. We dedicate a lot of time with patients going over the technique of effective brushing, and the importance of paying particular attention to the area of the mouth where the gum and tooth join (this is where bacteria particularly like to fester), not just brushing the surface itself.
Educating patients that it is not just the amount of sugar consumed that is a problem, it’s the frequency too that causes the most deterioration, is another key message that we are trying to get across.
The more patients can achieve at home, the less work that will be required by us, keeping our carbon emissions minimal.
2) Digital scans.
By using digital impressions equipment, we significantly reduce the use of clinical impressions materials used at our practices. Without the ability to use digital scans we would have to use silicone impressions which can take up to 500 years to decompose. This not only means that we can help protect the environment, but we can reduce our carbon footprint too as no postage/delivery to the laboratory and delivery of impression material is required. Plus, our patients enjoy a more pleasurable experience when visiting us for impressions.
We also use CAD/CAM technology to deliver crowns and bridges where possible, which reduces our use of 3D printed plastic models considerably. Not only are model-free crowns faster to produce, accurate and less expensive than when plastic models are used, they are excellent at reducing the amount of plastic used across our practices.
3) Bulk ordering.
We operate seven practices in Southeast London, so we order our supplies in bulk where possible and try and ensure minimal transportation of items happens between dental offices. This helps us reduce traffic and air pollution in our hometown.
4) Energy reports incentive.
We produce regular reports on the energy use at each of our practices for our wider team to view. We find this is an effective incentive for the team to continually find ways to reduce energy consumption and become more energy efficient.
5) Recyclable supplies.
Where applicable, all Gentle Dental Care clinics use recycled materials. Plus, to further reduce our waste footprint, we recycle our general rubbish and aim to use re-usable supplies.
6) We encourage employees to bike into work rather than drive, and we have electric car charging points at three of our practices so far.
7) We advise white fillings.
One of the major components of amalgam fillings is Mercury which can have potential adverse effects on the environment. Luckily, metal fillings are a thing of the past. Nowadays, we prefer to use a natural-looking white filling material which blends beautifully with your teeth to create a fantastic result that has great longevity.
8) We are a paperless business
All our records are held electronically, we use x-ray facilities, and we prefer emails to printing.
9) Purified water
For all our dental needs, we use purified water. We have taps at each site which avoids leaving the heavy carbon footprint involved in the transportation of water.
At Gentle Dental Care, we care about the world we live in and the one we’ll leave for generations to come. To ensure that our work has a positive impact in every aspect, we’ve taken many precautionary measures and continuously strive to improve our Green Dentistry initiatives.
If you are seeking dental professionals who share the same values of planetary wellness, rest assured that the team at Gentle Dental Care Group are doing their best to provide environmentally friendly practices for our community.