Whenever you hear the words ‘dentistry’ and ‘planet conscious/eco-friendly’ they don’t seem to go together. However, there is an entire field of green dentistry or eco-dentistry that people have been following, and if you want to join them you might wonder what being a planet conscious dentist means? Thankfully, there are changes both big and small that you can make whenever it comes to your dental office that will allow you to help your patients, their teeth, and the planet as well.
Are Dentists Already Planet Conscious?
Dental offices actually produce a lot of waste, and while most of it is in the name of keeping their tools and offices hygienic for everyone, it is still a ton of waste. These can include single use plastics, papers, and the fact that most single use items just sit in a landfill. If you want to be a planet conscious dentist, take notice of what you and your office are throwing away, and then see how you can remedy that.
What Are You Throwing Away?
For starters, look at the tips of your water sprayers and suction devices. In order to keep things hygienic because you are putting these things in the mouths of your patients, you might be throwing the tips away after they are used. However, most of those tips are not biodegradable so they will sit in landfills and not decompose.
Investing in biodegradable tips or using metal tips can be a solution. While you will need to actually wash the metal tips in between each use, you are already doing that with your dental tools anyway, so what’s washing one more tool?
Additionally, think about bibs, picks, floss, and refuse bags. These are things that you are using in and around your patient’s mouths, or are giving to your patients that will more than likely be thrown away. If the trash can is where they are going to end up anyway, then you might as well use biodegradable versions of those items.
Look At Your Carbon Footprint
Dental offices use a lot of electricity and water, not to mention all of the carbon that is used by patients and staff traveling to the office. See if you can manage your carbon output a bit better, by conserving your energy, creating your own power using wind or solar panels and having a better water management system.
You can even have your staff carpool together, or place your shop in a high foot traffic area to get a higher chance of walk ins.
Use The Four R’s
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink are the four things you need to do in order to get a handle on waste and start to become a planet conscious dentist. Buying eco friendly dental supplies is part of it, but there’s more you can do for the planet with your dentist’s office and your dental profession.
Reduce your reliance on goods that can be thrown away, for example, instead of using paper lab coats whenever you are in the office, consider using laundered ones. True, washing them does consume power and water, but that environmental impact isn’t as strong as whenever you use paper lab coats. Additionally, you can use reusable gloves to reduce your reliance on plastic gloves.
Recycling has already been covered, but it is rethinking that tends to trip most people up. For example, instead of reacting to purchase supplies whenever you are running low, consider buying your items in bulk to reduce the cost, reduce the amount of packaging, and reduce the carbon caused by the delivery of your items. Plus, you won’t have to panic order every time your stock gets low and you are in danger of running out!
Being Planet Conscious Can Be Simple
Making your office better for the planet might be as simple as changing out your lightbulbs or washing a few extra tools instead of filling up your trashcan with disposable and environmentally harmful waste. By taking the opportunities to be a planet conscious dentist, you can focus on protecting the environment, while also providing the same level of care for the oral health of your patients.
Plus, you might even be able to educate them about planet healthy dental care. After all, why not give them some biodegradable floss and a long lasting biodegradable toothbrush? Their teeth will still be cleaned, and the world will be a little bit cleaner as well. Plus, if we all do our part, we might even get Earth to smile too.