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Eco-friendly dentistry® is defined by various dentists and dental organizations and primarily consists of general dentistry, oral surgery and other specialty dental services featuring green practices to reduce impact on the eco-system, the environment and patient treatment practices.
The first international reference to eco-friendly dentistry was published in a University of Waterloo study by Dr. Ali Farahani and Mittale Suchak on April 3, 2007. In their study, they defined eco-friendly dentistry as an "approach to dentistry that implements sustainable practices by keeping resource consumption in line with nature's economy, by safeguarding the external environment by virtue of eliminating or reducing outgoing wastes and by promoting the well-being of all those in the clinical environment by conscious reduction of the chemicals in the breathable air."
On December 22, 2009, Dr. Steven Koos, DDS, MD trademarked and officially defined eco-friendly dentistry in the United States as a newly evolving practice of dentistry, which encompasses a simultaneous devotion to sustainability, prevention, precaution, and a minimally invasive patient-centric as well as global-centric treatment philosophy. Eco-friendly dentistry, through green design and operations, protects the immediate health of patients and team members, protects the health of the surrounding community, and protects the health of the global community and natural resources. Eco-friendly dentistry includes environmental consideration in medical facilities materials, medical waste management and patient treatment techniques and materials.
Eco-friendly dentistry is often used synonymously with the term green dentistry.
Green Dentistry has been defined by the Eco Dentistry Association as "a high-tech approach that reduces the environmental impact of dental practices and encompasses a service model for dentistry that supports and maintains wellness."
In 2008, the Eco Dentistry Association was co-founded by Dr. Fred Pockrass and his wife, Ina Pockrass. The Eco-Dentistry Association (EDA) provides "education, standards and connection" to patients and dentists who practice green dentistry. The EDA aims to help dentists "come up with safe and reusable alternatives that lower a dentists' operating cost by replacing paper with digital media whenever possible." As of February, 2011, the EDA has approximately 600 members.
Also in 2008, Dr. Steven Koos, DDS, MD established the United States’ first fully green oral surgery facility in Chicago, Illinois, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, focusing on sustainability and the practice of eco-friendly dentistry. Dr. Koos is a dual-degree Chicago oral and maxillofacial surgeon and is an advisory board member for the Eco Dentistry Association and a contributing member of the Council for Environmentally Responsible Surgery with Practice Greenhealth.
Elements of eco-friendly dentistry
Specific elements in office and building construction, office operations and patient practices distinguish the practice of eco-friendly dentistry in comparison to traditional dentistry.
Building and office construction
- Careful planning and construction of a green building, including membership with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and building facilities in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines, a national benchmark for constructing green buildings.
- Utilizing green interior design, finishes, and textiles, including interior elements that are free of Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBT) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and that are made from post-industrial or post-consumer waste or come from sustainable resources.
- Certification with USGBC LEED for EBOM (Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance)
- Paperless patient charting and registration, electronic claims, electronic patient recall and reminders.
- Digital radiography eliminating film manufacturing, toxic chemical processors and fixatives and reducing patient exposure to radiation.
- Environmentally conscious purchasing of products and services.
- Significant decreases in solid waste production and high ratios of recycling. Paper goods and products only from FSC certified sources.
- Utilizing the authoritative benchmarks set forth by the Green Guide for Health Care(GGHC) and the Eco-Dentistry Association (EDA)
- Utilizing 100% sustainable energy to power any facility.
- Offsetting CO2 with certified carbon offsets and investment into reforestation campaigns.
- Formulating a green team with designated responsibilities and goals
- Recording and publishing metrics in relation to bio-hazardous waste, solid waste, recyclables, water consumption and energy consumption in order to set annual goals, implement improvements, and to compare to national benchmarks.
- Incorporation of a formal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program within the cooperate structure.
- Elimination or diversion of bio-hazardous waste through Demolizer II units and/or Pella-DRX
- Use of amalgam separator or mercury eliminator to prevent mercury from entering and contaminating municipal water system.
- Use of dry vacuum systems and bulk instrument sterilization systems, in addition to automated low-flow faucets, and toilets for water conservation.
- Formal Environmental Purchasing of Products and Services (EPPS)
- Creating formal mission statement and adhering to the precautionary principle
- Practicing metal-free, mercury-free dentistry with no amalgam.
- Use of non-toxic, green cleaning and sterilization products and supplies.
- Use of only Green Seal approved products and materials.
- Certification with EDA Green DOC Program
- Use of dry-heat or steam sterilization vs. chemical sterilization
- Recycling of broken or non-usable instruments in a program like Hu-Friedy's Environdent program.
- Utilizing Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate-free phthalate(DEHP-free), Polyvinyl chloride-free (PVC-free) surgical tubing and Intravenous fluid bags
- use of lead-free patient x-ray aprons and shielding
- BPA-free composite resins and oral appliances
- "What is Eco-friendly Dentistry
- "Eco-friendly Dentistry: The Environmentally-Responsible Dental Practice"
- "Eco-Dentists Aim to Clean and Green
- "What is Green Dentistry?"
- "A Green Business with Teeth"
- "A Green Business with Teeth"
- "More Dentists Choosing to Build 'Green' Offices"
- "The Greening of Mint Dental Works"
- "Chicagos First Green Dental Practice"
- "Chicago Dental Studio Goes Green"
- "Step Inside Chicago's Only Green Dental Studio"
- "Good for the Patient, Good for the Environment
- "Eco Dentistry Association Advisory Board
- "What is CERS?"
- "History of Practice Greenhealth"