There's a new way to go green – choosing a green dentist. As environmentalism grows, dental offices are implementing green technologies and business practices to reduce their impact on the environment. Green dentistry refers to the practice of reducing the environmental impact of dental practices and patient care within a dental practice. Green dentistry includes:
- Saving water
- Saving energy
- Focusing on early detection
- Preventive care
- Waste reduction
- Saving money
- Reducing pollution
- Treatments that are less invasive
- High-tech innovations
Green dental practices make the most of new technologies that offer patient and environmental benefits. Just a few of the green technologies a green dentist should offer include:
- Digital Imaging – Digital imaging eliminates the need for traditional x-rays. With digital imaging, dental practices reduce the release of harmful chemicals into the environment. Using digital imaging in the office also benefits patients, reducing patient exposure to radiation significantly.
- Electronic Health Records – Most dental offices are already using electronic health records. Converting to electronic health record systems allows practices to reduce their paper waste. Electronic health records also save time and money while improving accuracy.
- Intraoral Cameras – Intraoral cameras reduce in-office waste while offering multiple benefits to dentists and patients. Intraoral cameras make it easy to store intraoral photos, improving in-office record keeping. These cameras can also assist with patient education and are often useful when submitting dental insurance claims.
- Laser Technology – Green dentists often employ laser technology, which may be used for soft-tissue procedures, hard tissue procedures, and for oral disease diagnosis. Since laser technology is non-polluting and creates minimal waste, it's an eco-friendly option. Patients benefit from laser technology too, since the use of lasers makes dental procedures more effective, faster, and more comfortable.
- Digital Impression Systems – Digital impression systems reduce or eliminate the need for impression materials, such as alginate and polyvinylsiloxane, reducing the environmental impact of dental laboratories and offices. This technology allows dental practices to offer some lab services on site, which may reduce the number of patient visits.
- Forced-Air Dry Heat and Steam Sterilization Techniques – Instead of using sterilization methods that involve chemical vapors and hazardous waste, green dentists are beginning to use forced-air dry heat and steam sterilization methods. These methods help reduce the use of disposable items within the office while eliminating the use of toxic chemicals for sterilization.
When choosing a dentist, look for a dentist that cares about patients and the environment. Ask a professional dental office, like Ahwatukee Foothills Dental, if they uses these green technologies, which reduce the office's environmental impact while offering many patient benefits.