Across the globe the call to be more sustainable in every way possible is becoming ever more present. More and more businesses are listening to their consumers and lowering their carbon footprint by using environmentally-friendly practices – and that includes the dentistry and orthodontist industry.
Surveys have shown that 42 per cent of consumers prefer to use businesses that have a “green” philosophy, while a massive 80 per cent of employees have said they would rather work for a company that has a sustainable ethic.
Dentistry isn’t one of the first professions that comes to mind when one thinks of actions that ruin the environment. They don’t contribute to greenhouse gases, nor deforest the Amazon. However, industry experts realise that dentists and orthodontists have a responsibility to play their part in ensuring their working procedures don’t harm the environment.
A commitment to move towards sustainability can revolutionise a dental practice, attracting more potential patients, retaining current patients and preserving the environment.
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The benefits of an amalgam separator
One of the main environmental problems caused by dentistry is mercury contamination. Mercury is used to bind the metals together in dental amalgams. This means that disposing of the waste generated by dental amalgams can be a problem, as it enters into the environment and contaminates bodies of water. This poses a problem to the ecosystem that can potentially affect human beings.
An environmentally-friendly way to remedy this is to invest in an amalgam separator. This ensures mercury isn’t found in dental amalgam waste by filtering the potentially dangerous particles from the dental practice’s wastewater system. This makes it safe to dispose of substances like mercury without posing a risk to the environment.
Recycle leftover mercury
When recycling is mentioned, most people think of recycling paper and plastics, for example. However, leftover mercury can also be recycled. Unfortunately, recycling mercury isn’t widely adopted by all recyclers, so it’s important to check with the recycling plants in your area to find out if they participate in the scheme. If local recyclers can deal with mercury waste, this is an ideal solution.
Avoid mercury altogether
A simple way of avoiding mercury contamination is to avoid using it altogether. Mercury is commonly used as a sealant in amalgams to strengthen and solidify the other metals. However, there are alternative materials, such as gold, ceramics and composites that can be used instead.
A dental practice can dramatically change its environmental footprint by changing the way it handles fillings. As a responsible dental practice, Smile Cliniq is concerned about the environment. Smile Cliniq, as the best dentist for helping promote a “green” message, is encouraging patients to do the same by offering to replace old mercury amalgam fillings with white composite or porcelain onlays or crowns.
Choose reusable products
Although mercury contamination is the primary concern in relation to sustainable dentistry, there are other things dentists and orthdontists can do to work in an environmentally-friendly way. For example, choose reusable products, rather than disposable ones. Use washable plastic cups that can be disinfected and used again, rather than having an endless supply of paper cups and throwing them away after one use.
Investing in reusable items makes the day-to-day running costs lower, as well as protecting the environment. By moving towards a greener solution, dentists can help protect the environment and save money.
Although at first glance, the relevance of sustainability may seem distant from the world of dentistry, it’s very important to the daily procedures of every dental practice. A proactive approach will allow the dentistry profession to move forward in an era of ever-increasing environmental concern and legislation aimed at protecting the world in which we live.