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04 December 2019

A “planet caring” dentistry

Co-author: Edoardo Mancuso

Lorenzo Breschi


Dentistry is a profession dedicated to promoting and enhancing oral health and well-being.
To accomplish these goals, dentists use an immense variety of materials and equipment. Unfortunately, among them we can list substances like heavy metals, biomedical waste and plastic that present potential challenges to the environmental issue. It may seem far-fetched, but dentistry has a huge impact on our planet due to the large amount of waste generated by various dental procedures. In addition to that, most of the clinical steps require the use of a massive amount of water and electricity. For these reasons, the concept of a more eco-friendly dentistry is spreading around the dental world and is attracting every day a larger number of practitioners and industries involved in the field.

“Green dentistry" is a high-tech approach that reduces the environmental impact of dental procedures and encompasses a service model for dentistry that supports and maintains wellness. Indeed, reduce waste, change patterns of consumption and limit the amount of adverse chemicals entering the breathable air of a dental office are realistic and achievable goals. Recycling separately the paper and the plastic halves of the autoclave bag, using digital radiographs instead of traditional film-based x-rays, adopting nontoxic, biodegradable surface disinfectants and cleaners and switching to LED operatory lights instead of halogen lights, are only some of the effortless methods to reduce dentistry “carbon footprints”. An eco-friendly dental practice shouldn’t be a merely “feel good‟ endeavor.
The scientific world already demonstrated an over-whelming evidence of global climate changes and the finite capacity of our planet’s eco-system to absorb further depletion and degradation. Considering that most dental offices are privately-owned small businesses that have no financial advantage and no found or grants to invest in environmentally-friendly practices, the choice to move towards a “green dentistry”  is essentially left upon the consciousness of the private dentists.

For this reason, more research is needed to find cost-effective environmental alternatives for dental practice in order to reduce the impact on our planet.    

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