While there's no denying "green" is big, it's seen an uptick in one very specific area of late: the smile industry. "Eco-Friendly" has become an important 'buzz phrase' in most dental offices, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because of patient awareness and inquiries" , says Atlanta cosmetic dentist Ronald Goldstein, DDS.
This past summer the American Dental Association (ADA) endorsed new deadlines for dental offices to capture dental amalgam waste so that it can by recylced. "More and more dental offices are thinking and acting 'green' by reducing the amount of plastic used in multiple areas such as utilizing digital scanning instead of plastic impression trays, and substituting cloth and paper for plastic in both sterilization and other areas of patient protection" Dr. Goldstein explains.
According to Dr. Goldstein, digital methods are quickly replacing paper and plastic ones, especially in X-rays, charting and photo records. And wihile it doesn't necessarily affect the health of the patient it is something that helps the greater good.
Lasers get more love: Sure, lasers sound like a high-tech solution for just about anything, but there's also a real impact on what they help in terms of the environment. " I recently used a laser to remove decay in three teeth for a patient - years ago that would have meeant reducing 40 percent of their enamel and dentin." Dr. Goldstein says. "By use of a laser and air abrasion, less than 10 percent of the patient's tooth sturcture was removed, and all without local anesthetic. To me, this is the future of patient care. Also keeping restorations smaller means less water used."