ECO-FRIENDLY DENTISTRY: PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE ORAL HEALTHCARE
What is eco-friendly dentistry?
Eco-friendly dentistry, also known as green(er) dentistry or sustainable dentistry, focuses on environmentally friendly dental practices that minimise the ecological impact of dental care. This approach to dentistry emphasises prevention and minimally invasive dentistry while minimising resource depletion, and the idea of creating sustainable healthcare systems is gaining traction.
The growing trend of eco-friendly/Greener Dentistry
The trend towards eco-friendly dentistry is gaining momentum as more dental professionals recognise the need for greener dentistry. Green dentistry encompasses various aspects, including reducing the consumption of single-use plastic devices, using energy-efficient dental equipment, and using digital technologies to minimise waste. By embracing environmentally friendly dental practices, oral healthcare members demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility and contribute to a healthier planet and healthier patients.
What are patients' perspectives on Greener Dentistry?
Patients are increasingly becoming aware of the environmental impacts of their healthcare decisions. Many patients are now willing to pay more for green products and services that are sustainable and good for the environment. Patients are looking for healthcare providers who are making conscious efforts to reduce their environmental footprints. They want to know that their care is not only helping them but also helping to protect the planet. And if patients are willing to pay extra for these green products and services, embracing sustainability makes good business sense. Ultimately, patients want to feel confident that their healthcare provider is trying to reduce their environmental impact.
Understanding and Reducing Dentistry's Impacts
The Environmental Impact of Traditional Dental Practices
Traditional dental practices contribute to environmental degradation. Offering outdated treatment options, excessive water and energy consumption, hazardous waste generation, such as lead and mercury, and using harmful cleaning and disinfecting chemicals are concerns.
The Potential for Change in the Dental Industry
The dental industry can adopt sustainable measures to mitigate environmental impact. Sustainable, greener dentistry focuses on reducing these impacts by opting for eco-friendly cleaning and disinfecting products, reusing and recycling wherever possible and offering contemporary treatment options that focus on prevention and using biomimetic materials with minimally invasive surgical techniques. Technological advancements, like digital radiography and digital scanning, also enhance sustainability. The dental sector can contribute positively to environmental preservation and public health by embracing environmentally friendly practices and minimal intervention dentistry. Greener dentistry also involves implementing proper waste disposal methods to maintain environmentally friendly dental practices. By segregating waste into the correct categories and following local regulations for waste disposal, dental practices contribute to low-impact dentistry. Dental professionals can also raise awareness of and promote sustainable oral healthcare products such as compostable toothbrushes and offer recycling points for their patients to dispose of used plastic toothbrushes. Embracing sustainable greener dentistry can also lead to financial benefits: by enhancing brand reputation, there will be long-term success in the ever-growing eco-conscious dental market. By embracing sustainable, greener dentistry, dentists and dental offices can benefit in multiple ways:
It can help reduce environmental impacts by reducing energy and water consumption, eliminating toxic materials and chemicals, and creating a more eco-friendly working environment.
It can improve patient satisfaction through increased comfort, safety, efficiency, and cost savings.
It can bring financial benefits such as enhanced brand reputation and long-term success in the growing eco-conscious dental market.
The Impact of Industry Associations and Certifications on Sustainability
Industry associations and certifications can promote sustainability within industries by raising awareness, providing guidelines on best practices, providing opportunities for collaboration between members and endorsing members. By introducing standards and certification systems, industry associations and certifications can also help reduce the environmental impact of production processes and products. For example, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies forests that meet the highest environmental standards. This encourages the responsible management of forests and provides a market signal for customers looking for certified sustainable products. Industry associations and certifications also promote sustainability by providing opportunities for collaboration between members.
Greener Dentistry offers guidance and information on sustainability to members of the dental profession, allows collaboration between members to share experiences and product knowledge, and a certification mark for accredited dental practices. Gaining accreditation differentiates contemporary dental practices that have embraced sustainable greener dentistry. These dental practices will attract eco-conscious patients who are prepared to pay more for services from a sustainable brand.
In conclusion, adopting sustainable dentistry practices is essential for the oral healthcare team and obtaining accreditation for sustainability is advantageous for dental practices. Embracing green dentistry leads to financial benefits, enhanced brand reputation, and long-term success in an environment where environmental awareness is ever-increasing. Sustainable dentistry also improves patient safety and satisfaction and reduces health risks. Therefore, the oral healthcare team should take the necessary steps to become a sustainable dental practice and strive to attain accreditation from a sector-specific organisation.