What Is Green Dentistry?
Dr Gena Schultheis
Green dentistry is a broad topic that ranges from our practice’s patient well-being to the products and processes that we use every day in our office. The Eco Dentistry Association defines “green dentistry” as a practice that
- Reduces waste and pollution
- Saves water, energy and money
- Incorporates high-tech innovations in their office
- Is Wellness based
Facts About Dental Office Waste
Each year, dental offices generate
- 4.8 million lead foils
- 28 million liters of toxic x-ray fixer
- 3.7 tons of mercury waste
- 1.7 billion sterilization pouches
- 680 million chair barriers, light handle covers, and patient bibs
Source: EDA’s Dental Office Waste & Pollution
Did You Know?: The average dental practice uses 57,000 gallons of water each year.
Ways That Dental Offices Can Be Eco-Friendly
Using chemicals for sterilization can be dangerous and a major source of pollution. Using steam sterilization instead is one way to reduce waste and protect patient well-being.
Eliminating toxic cold-sterilization methods is another way that dental practices can “go green”.
Switching to eco-friendly disinfectants can maintain hospital-grade cleanliness without the damage to our environment.
Did you know that the EPA estimates that 50% of the mercury that ends up in treatment facilities originates from dental offices? Simple solutions like an amalgam separator keeps mercury-containing filling material from ending up in our water supply.
There are some truly scary dangers of using traditional x-rays. Switching to digital x-rays is a no-brainer. One of the by-products of traditional x-rays is lead foils. Lead waste can end up in the topsoil and stay there for up to 2,000 years.
The average dental office uses ALOT of water. As much as 57,000 gallons per year. Dry vacuum systems aim to reduce the amount of water a dental practice uses compared to a traditional vacuum system.
We Take Green Dentistry Seriously!
And We’re a Proud Member of the Eco-Dentistry Association
We’re proud members of the Eco-Dentistry Association. The EDA provides education, standards & connection to support for dental practices like ours and helps us support you in making greener decisions. We offer patients the option of testing their individual chemistry for bio-compatibility with dental materials. This service is provided by for our office by SHS labs
What We’re Doing To Be Green
- We use a steam autoclave with reusable instrument cloth pouches instead of paper-plastic and pouches that are thrown away, we purify our own water and use it in dental treatment
- We have reduced the use of plastic barriers and disposable supplies (autoclavable air water syringes, cloth headrest covers, recycled glass cups, etc)
- We use eco-friendly disinfectants for surfaces and equipment lines and eco-friendly multipurpose cleaners in order to achieve high air quality standards for staff and patients in the office.
- We have eliminated the use of toxic cold sterilizer by selecting instruments that can be heat sterilized
- We have a digital x-ray system, which eliminates chemical waste
- We recycle cardboard, paper, plastic, etc
- We collect and recycle ink and toner cartridges and use re-chargeable batteries
- We provide our patients with toothbrushes made from recycled yogurt containers or bamboo and recycle the disposable toothbrushes used by patients in our office
- We compost our kitchen waste
- We provide filtered drinking water in our break room and reception room to eliminate the need for bottled water
- When we do need to purchase disposable products we buy ones that are made from at least 50% recycled consumer waste and that come in recycled packaging
- Our stationery and printed communications are printed on paper that is at least 25% recycled
- We send appointment reminders and other communications electronically
- We print and copy double sided when possible
- VOC-free or low VOC wallpaper adhesive, paints, carpets, vinyls, natural stone countertop, etc
- LED lighting, motion detectors, energy saver computers, dishwashers, washer/dryer etc
- Our furniture made from renewable sources, reclaimed wood, etc
- We use hand sanitizer instead of soap and water when possible
- We promote turning off water while one brushes there teeth.
- My staff and I take continuing education about green dentistry and participate in many non-profit efforts focused on Chesapeake Bay preservation
- We use only BPA-free adhesives and sealants
- We have a sugar-free and xylitol candy bar for our patients to help fight tooth decay naturally
- Ladies nights with products from local natural beauty companies and entrepreneurs. We will be providing free DIY demonstrations on making your own natural mouthrinses and toothpastes and giving office tours so patients can see all the other green initiatives in our office.