Sunday, August 15, 2010

Forget whitening...let's green our smiles!

I've been trying to be environmentally respectful for a while now, but last January, inspired by a class at Yankee Dental Congress, I joined the Eco Dental Association (EDA) which can be interwebbed at http://www.ecodentistry.org/

Since then, I've worked to try to bring my practice onto a level where I can not only feel I'm doing some good for environmental sustainability, but as a business strategy I can stake out a niche as "the green dentist," a label I've perhaps even shied away from since joining the Seacoast Green Alliance (http://www.greenalliance.biz/)

So I'm finally putting together a brochure which will highlight some of my green initiatives, in the hopes of first advertising to existing and new patients what we're all about when we SAY "green dentistry" and secondly, challenging people to possibly suggest new things we could do which perhaps we've not even thought of!

Here's what I've got so far for the brochure:

Green Initiatives

Dentists often say, "You only have to care for the teeth you want to keep!" By 12 years old, the baby teeth are usually all gone, and we have to work to maintain these valuable little white appendages. Similarly, we only have one planet, so anything we can do to preserve the environment is a step in the right direction. While it's impossible to eliminate all waste, here's some things Dr Swanson and his team do to shrink our "footprint" on the Earth:

Digital X-rays - Eliminates plastic, lead and hazardous developing chemicals of traditional x-rays.

Electronic Patient Records - Reduce paper use, increase efficiency of communication with other providers.

Biodegradable seat covers and cups - Reduce CO2 production and break down in landfills.

Preserve brand toothbrushes - made from recycled Stoneyfield yogurt cups and recyclable as plastic "lumber" for benches, playground equipment, etc

Instruments and equipment - Use of reusables which are safe to sterilize in our autoclaves instead of disposables.

Email and text message appointment reminders; electronic claims, bills, band statements - reduce paper

Use of local dental laboratories - reduce packaging and fuel needs as well as supporting or New Hampshire neighbors.

Nearby bus stop - allows patients to use public transportation

Amalgam separator - prevents mercury from escaping into the environment

Office Recycling - reduction of landfill "trash" by separating out plastics, paper, aluminum and glass

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So any suggestions? :)

13 comments:

NYC Dentist said...

Remind your patients that turning the water off when they brush their teeth can save so much water. It's just a small change but over time it really adds up!

Hannah said...

I think texting reminders is a great idea! Paper and the cost of mailing it can really add up, and I think a lot of patients would be happy to sign up for text message reminders. What an easy step toward protecting the environment.

Metro Dentist New York said...

How about you and your staff all wearing green scrubs to highlight your commitment. When asked why your all wearing green -respond that it is to remind yourself and your staff of your commitment to being kind to the environment. This could be a cute passive way to bring up the subject of your "Greeness" with your patients.

Kristen said...

I'm a green advocate myself, so I informed my dentist (Rock Hill, SC) of the measures he can apply to his clinic, like using scented candles and oils instead of aerosol sprays. I also went to my brother's dentist (Tega Cay, SC) and told him that he can suggest green household practices to his patients. I think this is a good way to start making a change in our neighborhood. We can go green not only in our homes but also in establishments.

Jen said...

Hi Dr. Nate,

We love what you're doing on this blog. I'm from BERKMAN PR and I'm trying to find your email address, but it doesn't seem to be anywhere on your blog. Can I please receive your email address for future pitch ideas? Please email me at jennifer@berkmanpr.com. Thank you!

Best,
Jen

Anonymous said...

Where are you! I miss you blog. I check back once a month & nothing never ever anyfing. Makes me sad!

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austin@getfoundfirst.com said...

I agree with the comments above. Not wasting water and dressing up to educate patients and show them your concern.

Anonymous said...

hmmm still nothing:(

Dental Implants New York said...

Green dentistry is becoming very relevant these days with the increase risk of global warming. There has been a requirement for this kind of services and it is good to see that dentist like you taking the initiatives.

Trinidad Philipps said...

It's great that dentists like you are participating in this movement. This can really help our procedures and treatments to be more beneficial to our health. Take the Digital X-rays for example. Overexposure to x-ray radiation can damage the healthy tissues in our body causing the patient to be uncomfortable and agitated. This can also trigger the growth of tumor and lymph node that can cause cancer. Therefore, it is necessary to take extra precautions when opting to have an x-ray, but with this new technology, we wouldn’t have to worry too much about it anymore.

amit said...


Thanks for such a simple yet SWEET idea! I’m enjoying playing with my punches right now…thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful day!


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