By Aimee Gaspari
YTI Dental Assisting Instructor
When you go to your local grocery store, how many of you see individuals with designer, reusable, cloth bags for their merchandise purchases? Many stores are even giving a discount to those that bring their own shopping bags. This is in an effort for the stores to support the environment and "go green."
Now, what about the dental industry? Take a look around your dental office at your next comprehensive visit. There is a great possibility that your office is adopting more eco-friendly procedures and products. Time has taught us in dentistry that disposables are not the way to go in the future. Disposable products had their place and time. They certainly were effective and made a dental assistant's job easier and faster. However, we have learned through organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that our methods are damaging the environment.
The bulk of the disposable products used in a dental office on a day to day basis are plastic and not easily broken down in landfills. There are limitations on the availability of recycling these products. However, there are dental products that are constructed from refurbished materials. Dr. Fred Pockrass, D.D.S is the founder of the Eco-Dentistry Association (EDA). He recommends that dentists strongly consider changing their methodology with regards to the following: reusable instruments, paper products instead of plastic, use of refurbished materials, washable patient napkins, disinfectant cloths, environmentally friendly chemicals, digital radiology, paperless administration duties and a mercury free disposable system. These methods of reusable products are completely safe and follow OSHA protocol and compliance.
These eco-friendly changes in dentistry are new and exciting. This allows a dental assistant to help support the community and to provide a safe environment. As if dental assisting was not rewarding enough with the opportunities of giving back to patients, now dental assistants can give back on a larger scale. Keep your eyes open and see what is green at your next dental visit.
» Read "Eco-friendly dentistry: develop a re-thinking habit" for more information on eco-friendly dentistry
» Learn more about the Dental Assisting program at YTI Career Institute