When you’re choosing a new dentist there is so much to consider. Will you be comfortable there? Will they listen to you and honour your choices? Will they work with your insurance provider and make certain you’re using the coverage to your best advantage? But is the dental office also doing all they can to help protect you and our earth?
As an average adult the first three questions you can reasonably answer for yourself. But how could you know what to look for in an earth-friendly dental office? That’s where we come in!
What to Look For in an Earth Friendly Dental Office
1. Digital X-rays – Probably the most important reason to look for Digital X-ray in your dental office is that as a patient you will experience 70% less radiation than conventional film X-rays. If that’s not reason enough, they are also immediately processed and your dentist can diagnose you faster. The archiving of your X-rays and sharing those images with specialists are also much easier and faster in digital form and less paper storage.
2. Amalgam Separator – Sounds like something from a science fiction story, but the Amalgam Separator is the most important earth friendly device a dental office can employ. When old mercury fillings (AKA silver fillings) are taken out of the patients mouth, the bits of heavy metals like mercury and silver will go straight into our water system if an Amalgam Separator is not employed. The Amalgam Separator pulls all heavy metals from the water and allows only clean water to go into our water system. The heavy metals are then collected and disposed of meticulously using a special service.
3. Recycle Paper/plastics – This one is obvious. All offices should have a recycle system in place. Most of us do in our homes. Less paper in our landfills means less in our landfills.
4. Digital Files – The old look of paper files lining the walls is pretty out of date. Your dentist should keep everything in a safe digital file where they can send that info easily to a specialist if need be and save trees.
5. Filtered Water – Your dentist should be using filtered water both when cleaning their utensils and spraying in your mouth. Your mouth often has open sores while your dentist is working, you deserve the cleanest of water to cleanse your mouth. Do not settle for less. Ask your dentist where they get their purified water from? Is it cleaned in house? What system do they use?
6. Special Recycle of All Sharp Objects – Sharp objects like needles need to be recycled properly. Besides the fact they are medical waste and could be disposed of that way, it’s better if your dentist is protecting the environment by recycling sharp objects like needles by a special service.
These six points are the minimum your dental office should offer to keep you, your family and the earth has healthy as possible. Ask your dentist. Keep them accountable. And most importantly your dental office should be a space where you feel free to ask these questions or any other that will help you feel comfortable during your dental visit.