For hygiene reasons, many dental products are only used once, giving rise to enormous quantities of waste. The Eco-Dentistry Association (EDA) was established in the United States in 2008. Its mission is to educate dentists, companies and patients about the environmentally friendly principles behind green dentistry. About one third of the US population feels a strong sense of responsibility towards the environment. This is why dentists should adopt an attitude that resonates with their patients, for example by using environmentally friendly technology to save water and energy.
“We only have one planet. We don’t have a planet B.”
EDA co-founder Ina Pockrass used these words to emphasize the gravity of the situation at the 2013 Green Dental Conference. The first time event was an opportunity for experts to discuss the special importance of sustainability and environmental awareness in dentistry. In her presentation on the future of green dentistry, Ms. Pockrass used an image of a cube made of compressed plastic waste. The cube measures 10 square feet and is made from the waste generated by a single dentist's office in only 17 days.This example makes it almost impossible to imagine the total amount of waste produced by all dentists' offices in the United States in just one year.
Sulzer Mixpac AG, a Swiss company, is already making an important contribution to sustainability by continually improving its products. For instance, the new MIXPAC T-MIXER™, with its optimized technology, reduces the volume of filling material needed for a treatment. It also helps dentists achieve better mixing results, while its shorter tip makes the device easier for dentists to use. This means no changes to procedure and a saving of up to 30 percent of the unused application material remaining in the mixer. Thanks to its future-forward approach, Sulzer is helping dentists to not only save on costs but also make a valuable contribution to saving the environment.
All good things come in threes – Green dentistry for dentists' offices, patients and the environment
Sustainable working methods in the dentist's office don’t just mean using materials as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible – according to EDA, the concept of green dentistry is based on several principles. In addition to reducing waste, dentists can save substantial amounts of water and energy, for example, by using a special suction system that eliminates the need for frequent mouth rinsing. The innovative technology has the added benefit of improving early diagnosis, which can reduce the need for painful and expensive treatments and help dentists ensure the long-term health and well being of their patients. For example, state-of-the-art digital X-ray technology exposes patients to minimal amounts of radiation and images are immediately available. Another principle of green dentistry is to secure a better, healthier future for both patients and the environment. Avoiding waste, protecting resources and using intelligent, cutting-edge technology are all key factors in ensuring that sustainable practice remains a reality for dentists and patients alike.