The eco-friendly dental practice is an important consideration that every dentist can make when it comes to protecting our environment. With an increasing trend in global warming, the dental office also plays a role in the destruction of nature. By adopting the eco-friendly dental practice every dentist makes steps to protect the environment and acts as a responsible citizen. Setting up an example today could make a huge difference tomorrow.
Going for a green practice can incredibly reduce the carbon footprint in the long run. The infrastructure, usage of energy, and inventories used in the dental office have a role in emitting the carbon footprint. Planning all these steps in an eco-friendly manner will help to limit undesirable production and disposal of waste.
How to build a dental office in a green ideology?
- Implementing all possible eco-friendly approaches while designing a dental office will make dental practice green.
- Plan a dental office that has more natural ventilation and illumination. Build the building with more vents. Natural air circulation in the dental office helps to reduce the usage of air conditioning.
- Use constructing materials produced by eco-friendly manufacturers. Paints that do not contain volatile organic compounds are preferable.
- Keep more natural plants inside the dental office to get fresh oxygen and for natural air purification. You can also use edible plants for decoration rather than ornamental plants where the former can be used for cooking in the canteen.
- Install water-saving toilets and sensor-operated faucets to minimize water consumption. Using a faucet aerator can also minimize water wastage. A rain-water harvesting system is another good option for conserving water. Check for water recycling management procedures and imply the same in your dental office. Installing solar panels also help to reduce energy consumption.
- Regularly monitor the faucets to prevent water leakage. Schedule maintenance of the air conditioner and heater on a regular basis to prevent power consumption.
- Use energy-efficient lights and other electric appliances, including air conditioners, dryers, and washers to conserve energy.
- Use solar energy rather than fossil fuel for heaters and dehumidifiers.
- Choose edible utensils and dishes instead of disposable ones.
- Buy ozone-friendly refrigerators, air conditioners, and heaters to minimize carbon emissions.
- Choose less harmful but effective disinfectant solutions to protect the surfaces and floors from harsh chemicals.
- Encourage patients and staff to come on foot, by bike, by electric cars, or by public transport to conserve fuel. Set up bike racks for employees and encourage them to use a bike often. It is good for their health and the environment.
- Always try to recycle things whenever there is a need for their replacement. For instance, it is better to recycle glass, aluminum, plastic, and other materials rather than dispose of them in the trash. Buy furniture made of recyclable materials.
- Recycle batteries and other electronic devices. Use energy-saving screens on computers.
- Buy non-toxic biodegradable towels, papers, compostable cups, and single-serving packets of salt, sugar, and cream in bulk to avoid frequent transport. Use washable and reusable microfiber cloths for wiping, cleaning, and sanitizing.
Tips for an eco-friendly dental practice:
- Digitize patient records and minimize paperwork. Preferably documents such as case sheets, x-ray images, payment details, and other follow-ups in electronic format. Issue digital prescriptions and receipts to reduce or eliminate the use of papers. Educate and encourage patients to choose the digital format whenever they ask for their dental records.
- Introduce the environmentally friendly sterilization program in your dental office. Opt for reusable clothes for autoclaving rather than disposable plastic sleeves.
- Go for washable and reusable scrubs and personal protective equipment. In the case of disposable wearables choose materials that are easily biodegradable.
- Recycle the fixer and developer solution if you take manual X-rays. You can also recycle the lead foil. To avoid extra work you can choose digital radiography which emits less radiation and is eco-friendly.
- Choose stainless steel suction tips for both low and high vacuum suction. This will replace the need for disposable suction tips. Likewise, you can opt for reusable instead of disposable cups.
- Buy dental materials in bulk to avoid unnecessary dumping of cardboard or plastic boxes. Buying in bulk will also reduce transportation charges and the use of fossil fuel.
- Install an amalgam separator in your dental office to prevent mercury contamination. And try to avoid amalgam fillings to eliminate mercury spillover.
- Dentistry entails aerosol procedures. Make efforts to minimize aerosol products to reduce atmospheric contamination.
Going green is not just a trend, but a requirement. Something we all need to implement to protect the planet from further damage. Adapting to the eco-friendly dental practice helps to keep the environment clean and clear. Even small changes that you make in your dental office today will have a big impact on the environment. Some steps do not require massive changes. Some are effortless yet can make a positive impact. Make a list to find out all that you can change in your dental office for eco-friendly alternatives and start applying them one by one. If you are planning to construct a new dental office, you can plan from scratch and design the setup as a completely green practice.
About the Author
Dr. Sonal Bhoot is the founder of Dental Expression Leawood. Dr. Bhoot has over 15 years of dental experience and received her doctorate in Dental Medicine (DMD) in 2003 from the New Jersey Dental School and she is a proud member of American Dental Association(ADA), Academy of General Dentistry(AGD). Dr. Bhoot has certifications and proficiencies in cosmetic dentistry, CEREC training, Invisalign, endodontics, oral surgery, TMJ disorders, restorative dentistry, laser treatments, and more. She treats the whole family including children. Dr. Bhoot enjoys reading and writing in leisure time.
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