Green dentistry touches on everything from patient care to dental processes, at Modern Dental Care we are truly inspired to move towards a Greener Dentistry.
The Eco-Dentistry Association defines green dentistry as practice that:
Reduces waste and pollution;
Saves energy, water and money;
Incorporates high-tech innovations;
Is wellness based
Green dentistry means re-thinking dental processes and procedures, office administration and marketing, and office design and construction, using the tenets of green dentistry as a guide.
At Modern Dental Care we have taken the following steps towards the same:
Reduce lighting and electricity consumption:
The clinic is designed in such a way that there is ample natural light for most of the day, so that artificial light is only required for the dental procedures. This has been achieved by large windows allowing natural daylight with tinted glasses to keep the heat out and light in. We have been slowly changing from CFLs to LED lights in operatories and other areas like reception, labs and storage areas to minimise electricity consumption. We are using state of the art autoclaves which have a cycle of three and half minutes to reduce electricity consumption. We make sure our electronic equipment is turned off during lunch time and every night at the MCB level. This will reduce “phantom load” which is estimated to account for 10% of the typical energy bill.
Since Mid 2011 we have computerized all our patient records using cloud storage and quality patient management system. We routinely send out email and text message appointment reminders instead of letters, which reduce paper usage and waste. If you consider that our dental practice will serve 1000 patients a year, that’s a lot of paper! We routinely email and SMS the prescriptions. All patient pictures are also in digital format which use fraction of cost than the physical ones and are easy to share with patients and consultants.
Dental industry throws away over 5 million lead foils and 30 million liters of x-ray fixer a year which could be avoided if they all switched to digital x-ray systems. This would also reduce the amount of radiation released into the atmosphere. At Modern Dental Care we switched from routine dental films to digital x-rays in the year 2002, thereby substantially reducing the pollution associated with traditional films and also the radiation doses for our clients. This has been a major steps towards green dentistry.
Practicing mercury-free dentistry
Many dental practices do not offer amalgam fillings and only use composite which has its health benefits as well as reducing the amount of toxic waste production. Modern Dental Care is a ‘NO MERCURY’ clinic, we have not used mercury since the inception of the clinic in year 1999.
Reduce the use of disposable items
Every year the dental industry throws away over 2 billion sterilization pouches and 700 million chair barriers. This could be greatly reduced by either using recyclable products or cloth items that are cleaned in an environmentally way. There are also a number of surface disinfectants which if used would eliminate the need to put plastic bags over the dental chair for each patient.
We use industry standard surface disinfectants after each procedure which ensures a contamination free surgical environment and also reduces the need of plastic barriers. We are slowly shifting to cloth based pouches for sterilisation to bring down the waste generated by our clinic and to turn greener. We use disposable, plastic or paper barriers only when necessary and use less harmful surface disinfectants to clean and sterilise.
Use reusable stainless steel high- and low-volume, surgical/endodontic suction tips as an alternative to disposable plastic suctions.
By using more of re-usables we want to lower our practice overhead, and attract green dentistry patients who prioritize their health.
Become more wellness based for Green Dentistry
Re-think our role as a health educator, co-therapist and coach.
· Incorporate aromatherapy. At Modern Dental Care, we use hand sanitizer, lotions and soaps that incorporate essential oils that are calming for patients, helping them relax and prepare for a healing experience in your chair.
· Share research and information about the relationship of periodontal disease to diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses with our patients.
· Read labels. Check out the ingredients of the dental products we’re recommending, and make sure they don’t include harmful products.
Wellness lifestyle dentistry engages the extensive knowledge of dental professionals in assessing the health of periodontal tissue as a window to overall health.
Professional teeth cleanings are one of the most important steps we can take to preserve total body wellness.
Practicing Green Dentistry by saving money:
Re-thinking doesn’t always mean we have an answer. Gloves, for instance. Currently, there’s no great solution for reducing the waste of used gloves. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth re-thinking. Perhaps you can find gloves in a recycled box. We try our bit by ordering necessary materials for your treatment like necessary consumables and disposables in bulk which bring down the per unit cost and also the transportation cost and pollution associated with it.
We try to use reusables as often as possible like plastic patient aprons which are washed after each use. Impression trays made of stainless steel so that they can be decontaminated after each use.