Ever heard about green dentistry as the future of dental care? Over the years, we have seen many industries go ‘green’ and become more efficient. They now emit fewer pollutants to help the environment. However, health care has always been a sticking point for efficiency because of the safety laws and regulations in place. With this in mind, it has taken us some years to find the answer, but we could now have this in the form of ‘green dentistry’.
Nowadays, we realize that rethinking different areas of life is perhaps the answer to reducing pollution and finding active solutions to problems. For example, we need to rethink the distance between farm and table. We need to rethink our journey to work. Additionally, we need to rethink the beauty products we use, etc. Essentially, this is the mindset that the dental industry has now adopted. We are already seeing changes with ‘green’ dentists popping up across the country.
What does this mean? – In much the same way as we have seen, the industry is now rethinking processes, procedures, office design, marketing, and treatments. If a dentist is considered green, it means that he actively reduces waste and pollution. In addition to this, he is still wellness-based, saves money through reduced energy and water, and finally, uses high-tech innovations for the better.
Of course, there are still some areas that have gone without answers. However, we’ve made some progress. Perhaps the biggest example of this is gloves. Reducing waste when it comes to gloves is actually hard! This is because hygiene and patient safety ensures that dentists wear a new pair for each new patient. But, the rethinking process can still occur because the box that holds the gloves could be recycled. Alternately, they could be ordered in larger quantities to save pollution from transportation and delivery.
Ultimately, the industry is taking large steps forward. We could already see the results of this over the coming years. Just recently, another solution was solved with impression trays. You will see them in dentists’ offices. For many years, they have been made from petroleum. This process takes energy to create despite only being used once! After use, it has to be transferred to landfill where it destroys the planet. However, a new compostable impression tray, made from corn, has been introduced. Although we can still only use them once, they are now compostable and better for the environment!
More About Green Dentistry
Today, we have to keep in mind that ‘green’ doesn’t mean that there is just one answer. With all of the technology that we have these days, we are now allowed different options. For example, the ultimate goal for the aforementioned impression trays would be some form of stainless steel that could be sterilized and used again and again!
From large to small – treatments to how we keep gloves – the dental industry is completely changing the way in which it operates. Suddenly, green solutions are being found and we are, although still a way away, at least moving towards sustainability.
Butschli, Jim. “Kimberly-Clark Uses Packaging to Reduce Product Waste.” Healthcare Packaging. N.p., 02 June 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.