Published on April 27th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor
Peter Sbaraglia, “Eco-Friendly Dentistry Becoming More Than a Buzzword”
Today, developing sustainable environmental business practices is first and foremost on the minds of many business owners. Every sector and industry is looking for ways to go green and attract a share of the global market that is demanding eco-friendly products and services. Dentistry is no exception.
Oral health care professionals around the globe have embraced the global shift toward sustainability by integrating environmentally conscious business practices into their dental offices. Facilitating this dentistry movement, the Eco Dentistry Association (EDA) is committed to informing, aiding and implementing green initiatives for dentists and oral care specialists.
With an emphasis on the four key areas of waste and pollution reduction, water conservation, technological innovation and wellness, the EDA provides resources and tools to its member dentists in order to go green.
Similar to the EDA’s four pronged mandate, the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research defines eco-dentistry as a process reminiscent of the three R’s of recycling, with the addition of another R for re-thinking. “Green dentistry is a whole-earth approach to tooth care that reduces the environmental impact of dentistry and creates a caring environment for patients. It is based on the model of four R’s – Rethink, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle,” researcher Varun Rastogi wrote in a paper for the journal.
Rethinking is one of the major aspects of turning a dental practice into an eco-friendly one. Rethinking applies to all facets of the business, from dental waste to office supplies. According to the EDA, every year, dental offices produce tonnes of waste related to x-rays. This number can be drastically reduced by switching to digital x-rays, which are not only environmentally friendly, but also cost-effective and more interactive than their traditional counterparts.
X-rays aren’t the only area of the dental practice that deserves rethinking. Integrating new high-tech tools can reduce water consumption and often serve as more precise and exact instruments. Many of the innovations on the leading edge of dental technology are also better for patients and the planet.
“High-tech innovations are key to helping dental professionals achieve their targets for waste reduction and resource conservation,” notes the EDA. “In most cases, there is a 1:1 correlation between the eco-friendly and the high-tech choice.”
The new digital technologies are accurate and time efficient in addition to being green. One of those state-of- the-art innovations is the Steam Sterilization system. The high-efficiency cleaning system eliminates toxic chemical sterilization vapors in the dental office environment, while also offering the use of reusable sterilization warps which are good for the environment.
Although the path to eco-friendly dentistry still remains a fairly long one, it’s garnered the support of many dentists across North America.
For example, Arizona’s Phillip Moorad has adopted a green focus throughout his practice and was happy to do so. “Eco dentistry is all about being environmentally conscious, about reducing waste and about leaving a smaller carbon footprint,” said Dr. Moorad. “Changing the way people view things in small ways leads to big reductions in environmental impact.”
Or consider Ontario-based dentist Peter Sbaraglia, who is excited about the future of eco-dentistry and urges colleagues to implement as many green initiatives into their business practices as possible.
“Eco-dentistry isn’t just about preventing pollution – it’s also about promoting the sustainability of our planet’s resources,” comments Dr. Peter Sbaraglia. “It’s also part of a bigger movement toward more ecologically sustainable health care that betters the health of patients, staff and the global community at large,” Peter Sbaraglia continues.
Last year, a Dentistry IQ report on global green business practices found that as much as “42 percent of the population would choose to buy from companies that are environmentally friendly, and an overwhelming 80 percent would prefer to work for an employer that cares about sustainable practices.”
These statistics prove that those who haven’t or who are waiting to go green may miss a growing market if they wait too long.