How to Adopt Greener Practices in Your Dental Clinic

Last Updated on: 21st November 2023, 08:13 pm

Dentists care for their patients’ dental and oral hygiene and help them overcome cosmetic concerns affecting their self-esteem. In a career built on caring for others, it is only natural that dentists would want to do all they can to care for the environment. In addition to a personal desire to do the right thing, becoming a greener organization is also a positive move to lead your local community and set an example for patients to follow. 

However, wanting to make changes and knowing how to do so are separate issues;sometimes, adopting a greener approach can take time to do well. 

Here are some tips to help you adopt greener practices in your dental clinic. 

Reduce water consumption

Water is essential to providing dental care, but this does not mean water should be used thoughtlessly. You likely have equipment that requires a water supply, but is it the most efficient it could be? Investing in a newer model that uses water more efficiently could significantly reduce water consumption. You might also consider your toilet facilities and sinks as there may be more efficient options on the market. 

Minimise energy usage

There may also be an additional benefit to upgrading some of your equipment as you can save your electricity consumption. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but could also reduce your operational costs; in addition to being more responsible about shutting down machines, computers, and equipment when not in use, you could switch to LED lighting. LED bulbs use less electricity, so are greener and cheaper to run, but also produce a brighter quality of light and last longer. 

Install solar panels

While this step may not be possible if you do not own your property, installing solar panels could drastically reduce your energy consumption. Solar panels on the roof of your clinic will convert natural energy from the sun into usable electricity, so you reduce your reliance on your supplier of fossil fuel-generated electricity. 

Reduce waste

How much does your practice send to landfill? How much paper do you use? Do you have a recycling policy? Are you using single-use plastics more than is necessary? Take a close look at your practice’s day-to-day operation to identify ways to reduce your environmental impact. 

For example, switching from paper communications and patient records to a digital system could eliminate the need for paper in your practice. You should ensure that anything that can be recycled is being recycled appropriately. There is a big push in the industry towards reducing plastic in dentistry, so you may consider switching from single-use plastic or cardboard supplies to alternatives that can be sterilized and used multiple times. 

Avoid toxins where possible

If you are using traditional X-ray machines, you might consider replacing them with digital X-ray machines, as this can reduce the radiation involved (by as much as 90% in some cases) and remove the need for plastic, lead, development fluids, and paper waste which are involved in the traditional process. 

There are also concerns about the levels of mercury ending up in rivers and oceans due to the waste coming from dental practices where it is used in several procedures. This can impact many living creatures and the ecosystem in general, but the issue can be prevented or reduced. You will find more information on the the use of dental amalgam and potential regulations.  

Encourage patients to use green products

Increasing numbers of people are trying to be more eco-conscious in their homes, so you may find that more ask you for advice as to how to be greener when caring for their teeth. This is your opportunity to promote products in recyclable packaging and natural toothpaste or mouthwashes free from harmful chemicals. 

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