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21 June 2024

Eco-Friendly Dentistry: How Dentists are Embracing Green Practices

It seems as if the entire world is “going green” in this day and age. Such an approach actually makes a great deal of sense when we consider the impact that greenhouse gas emissions and similarly hazardous materials can have upon the environment. Interestingly enough, the world of dentistry has recently adopted the very same mindset. 

What exactly is eco-friendly dentistry? What core principles does it espouse? Are the treatments themselves any different from the traditional approaches that we have come to expect? Let’s examine each of these rather interesting questions.

A Brief Definition

Sometimes referred to as “green dentistry”, this approach is not entirely different from other sustainable practices that have become commonplace in recent years. Eco-friendly dentistry is associated with a handful of straightforward principles:

  • To limit the production of waste products harmful to the environment.
  • To reduce the on-site consumption of water and energy.
  • To adopt the latest technological techniques that will further streamline the treatments themselves.

Another interesting facet of green dentistry involves how the dentists have also become to pass on wellness suggestions to their patients. In other words, the approaches outlined above could very well carry one once the visit has been completed. 

Why Now?

This is yet another logical question to pose. After all, humanity has been aware of the impacts of climate change for well over two decades. 

The main point here is that the effects themselves have become very real in recent times. Therefore, consumers are much more open to alternative solutions capable of addressing everyday health-related tasks. Ecologically friendly dentistry just happens to fall into this broad category. 

Statistics also prove a significant point. Recent studies suggest that six out of ten Americans are now keen to reduce the ongoing impacts of climate change. 

They also realise that green solutions go far beyond everyday recommendations such as purchasing an electric vehicle or replacing incandescent lights with LED fixtures. Why not also espouse a more sustainable mindset when scheduling an appointment with the local dentist?

A Closer Look at the Core Principles of Green Dentistry

We have already examined a relatively broad definition of eco-friendly dentistry, It is now possible to move on and examine the finer points. 


It is only logical to highlight the important role played by conservation when referring to green dentistry. This is heavily associated with adopting targeted on-site habits to reduce the consumption of natural resources, water being by far the most common. 

For example, staff can distribute water-free disinfectants or ensure that all taps are turned off when not in use. These simple steps alone can have a massive impact on the carbon footprint of any dental practice. 

Energy Efficiency

Although budding technologies such as photovoltaics (solar power) and wind energy are beginning to enjoy mainstream applications, the unfortunate fact is that many businesses still rely upon fossil fuels as a source of mains electricity. 

Dental offices have developed several means to reduce the impact of non-renewable resources. Examples include (but are not limited to) the installation of energy-efficient systems, the adoption of eco-friendly building designs, and the use of appliances with a positive energy efficiency rating provided by the Energy Star network. 

The Use of Environmentally Friendly Products

Some of us may still be able to recall when mercury was an important ingredient within the average dental filling. The good news is that times have certainly changed. Medical professionals in general are keenly aware of the risks that hazardous substances may pose to the environment. 

Dentists have adopted several unique strategies. For instance, fillings are much more likely to be comprised of composite materials such as porcelain or even glass. Offices have likewise begun to curtail the use of materials known for containing high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

Even the presence of lead within traditional X-ray film is being reduced over time. This is great news for patients as well as the environment. 

Technological Innovations

Technology is yet another core facet within the green dentistry sector. This often involves what has been dubbed a hybrid approach to traditional practices. Digital solutions have begun to reduce the amount of paper used for traditional purposes (such as storing patient records).

Virtual consultations can likewise limit the instances when individuals will require an on-site appointment, helping to mitigate the greenhouse gases that would otherwise be emitted when driving to and from the office. 

Surprising Additional Benefits

There is little doubt that a green approach to dentistry is intended to reduce the ongoing effects of climate change. However, did you know that the patients themselves can also benefit from these very same practices? 

One example involves how eco-friendly dentists tend to embrace a rather holistic approach when treating a patient. No longer will they merely address the issue at hand (such as a cavity or the presence of gum disease). 

These professionals choose to take additional steps. Evaluating dietary habits, encouraging the proper oral care habits, and even recommending a nutritionist are some examples. 

Not only will individuals be provided with a more well-rounded approach, but the advice obtained could inspire them to make positive lifestyle changes; resulting in beneficial long-term impacts.

Will the Treatment Methods Differ?

Eco-friendly dentistry is more of a principle than a migration away from traditional practices. In other words, you can expect to enjoy the very same targeted solutions that were possible in the past. If anything, the methods might even be more effective.

Everyone is affected by climate change. This is just as true in terms of eco-friendly dentistry as it is when discussing other sectors such as oil and natural gas production. Although choosing a green dentist might not appear to make that much of a difference, the simple fact is that even seemingly minor efforts can contribute to a brighter future. 


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