Green Dentistry

Green Dentistry

In every industry, professionals are being persuaded to “go green” and use more sustainable techniques. As the demand for green techniques increases, especially in the medical field, it was only a matter of time before the dental industry had to stand up and take notice. It seems that the businesses that will succeed are those with the smallest (carbon) footprint.

Just under half of U.S. consumers stated, in a recent survey, that they prefer to use businesses that do business in a way that is good for the environment. A staggering 80% of people said they would prefer to work for an environmentally responsible company.

Dentists and orthodontists, like Dr. J.J. Edderai, are not the kind of business most people think of when they think of sustainability. After all, dentists are not contributing to deforestation or greenhouse gasses, at least no more than anyone else. However, just like everyone else, dentists have to play their part in protecting the environment.

The first step is to choose reusable products whenever possible. Think about the difference if every dentist used cups would be sterilized and reused rather than the paper ones that get thrown away. Using reusable cups also increases profit margins by minimizing the day-to-day cost of doing business.

There is one material used in the dental industry that does have a measurable impact on the environment… mercury. When dental amalgams are made, mercury is the substance which holds them together. Anytime these amalgams are disposed of, there is a risk that the mercury will pollute bodies of water or other areas.

So, how do we fix this? The answer may be as easy as buying an amalgam separator. This device works by filtering mercury out of the amalgam mixture. From here, the mercury can be disposed of without going through the water system and pose a threat to the environment. The mercury that is removed from the amalgam can be recycled. Not as easily as an aluminum can, but it can be. Some locations, especially larger metropolitan areas have recycling companies that are set up to deal with mercury. Not all recycling companies can, but a quick search should turn up those recyclers nearby who have this capability.

If you’d rather not deal with mercury at all, gold, composites, and ceramics can serve the same purpose, holding amalgams together. There are many dentists who offer to replace the old mercury amalgam crowns and fillings with their mercury-free versions, often at minimal cost.

Change is frequently uncomfortable, there is no way around that fact. But, once the change is made, it is easy to stick with. If every industry starts making choices that are eco-friendlier now, we may get to a place where our planet is actually healthy. How nice would that be? Then, we’ll already be using green solutions, the kind of solution we should have been using all along.

    

 Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.

Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2016

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