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Practicing Dentistry Sustainably

Feature
Article
Dental Products ReportDental Products Report April 2024
Volume 58
Issue 4

How the dental industry is working to lighten its environmental impact.

Image Credit: © malp / stock.adobe.com

Image Credit: © malp / stock.adobe.com

Whether looking at an individual clinic or taking a macro-perspective that includes dental product manufacturers, providing dental care is a resource-heavy undertaking. But that might not always be the case.

Although some resources are required and some waste will be generated by both dental clinics and the companies making the products those clinics use, a new focus on sustainability throughout the dental industry is helping make it possible to provide top-tier oral health care while operating as efficiently as possible and significantly reducing waste.

When it comes to the practice level, there are numerous ways to reduce water and energy use. Replacing single-use plastics with compostable or biodegradable alternatives can also reduce a practice’s environmental footprint. Another approach to reducing dental waste is to prevent dental disease in the first place. This is one of the concepts underpinning the Sustainability in Dentistry program founded by the FDI World Dental Federation and Dentsply Sirona. The program includes online courses, sustainability resources, and an annual global sustainability award. With an approach focused on evidence-based oral care and prevention combined with guidance on steps to improve sustainability within a dental practice, this global effort aims to empower dental professionals to make a change that affects their practice. More details on the Sustainability in Dentistry program are available at fdiworlddental.org/sustainability-dentistry.

Sustainably Manufacturing Dental Products

It might be a buzzword and often good for public relations, but that doesn’t mean corporate efforts to make operations more sustainable aren’t also good for business. Dental manufacturers have been making major efforts to reduce their use of resources and to decrease waste and harmful emissions. Here are some sustainability success statistics from around the dental industry.

Dentsply Sirona logo

There was a 15% reduction in both water withdrawal at warehouses and manufacturing plants and scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.1

Ultradent Logo

There were 1,200,000 to 1,500,000 gallons of water per year saved by operational changes that focused on efficient use of resources.2

Henry Schein logo

There was a 74% mitigation of carbon impact from shipping parcels by next-day air through a partnership with United Parcel Service, making ground transportation possible.3

GC logo

There were 4.7 tons less of plastic used each year after changing product packaging from plastic to regular and carton paper materials.4

Ivoclar logo

A total of 72% of the energy used at company facilities in 2021 came from 100% renewable sources, including solar and hydroelectric power.5

Align Technology logo

Almost 50% less polymer is used to make an aligner today compared with aligners made in 2016. Additionally, 33% less resin is used to make 3D-printed models for aligner production.6

Midmark logo

There were 1.2 million pounds less of carbon dioxide emissions released in 2023 when compared with 2022. This reduction is due to a new efficient air compressor system in a production facility.7

References

  1. Sustainability Report 2022. Dentsply Sirona. 2022. Accessed March 12, 2024. https://www.dentsplysirona.com/content/dam/master/corporate/merchandise/documents/CORP-document-2022-sustainability-report-EN.pdf
  2. Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2024. Ultradent. 2024. Accessed March 12, 2024. https://assets.ctfassets.net/wfptrcrbtkd0/5jrCFrL1g5FBrOrDCjf4mM/ada05959d110e7895edb5cd1749899e9/UPI_SRS_Report_2024.pdf
  3. 2022 Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Henry Schein. 2022. Accessed March 12, 2024. https://www.henryschein.com/us-en/images/corporate/2022CSRReport.pdf
  4. GC Group Global CSR Report 2023. GC Dental. 2023. Accessed March 13, 2024. https://www.gc.dental/america/sites/america.gc.dental/files/documents/2023-10/gc-csr-2023.pdf
  5. Corporate Social Responsibility Review 2022. Ivoclar. 2022. Accessed March 13, 2024. https://www.ivoclar.com/GLOBAL%20-%20MEDIA/Corporate%20Content/Responsibility/CSR%20Report%202022_EN.pdf
  6. Corporate social responsibility. Align Technology. Accessed March 13, 2024. https://www.aligntech.com/about/corporate_social_responsibility
  7. 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report. Midmark. 2023. Accessed March 13, 2024. https://www.midmark.com/docs/default-source/documents/2023-corporate-responsibility-report.pdf

Sustainable Opportunities

Making a dental practice more sustainable can take many forms, and any effort that makes a positive impact is worthwhile. Here’s a look at some dental products that might be able to help with those efforts.



April 1, 2024

Curaprox Wooden Toothbrush

Curaprox wooden toothbrush |  Image Credit: © Curaden

Image Credit: © Curaden

Curaprox Wooden Toothbrush

Made from durable Swiss beech wood that is harvested from sustainably managed forests, Curaprox’s wooden toothbrush is designed to provide an effective toothbrush for daily oral care while reducing impact on the environment. The brush handle is biodegradable and compostable, and the compact, slightly angled brush head is designed for easy access to any part of the mouth. Each brush features 4440 tightly packed, ultrasoft filaments to provide a comfortable brushing experience that reaches every area within the mouth.

Curaden

800-919-0120

curaden.us



April 1, 2024

Trap-Eze Plaster Plus™

100

Image Credit: Buffalo Dental Mfg

Trap-Eze Plaster Plus™

The Trap-Eze Plaster Plus is a specially designed, disposable sink trap that effectively captures plaster, wax, polishing compounds, abrasives, pumice, steel wool, and the latest environmental concern, microplastics. Dental practices commonly release microplastics into municipal wastewater from procedures such as removing and adjusting restorations or milling and grinding restorations. The amount of microplastics generated per procedure is small, but its generation occurs frequently. The sink trap slows the water discharge flow, allowing sediment to settle out of wastewater. It is reportedly easy to install and replace the trap, which is disposable.

Buffalo Dental Mfg.

800-828-0203

BuffaloDental.com



April 1, 2024

Bio Nitrile Powder Free Biodegradable Examination Gloves

Bio Nitrile Powder Free Biodegradable Examination Gloves | Image Credit: © Cranberry

Image Credit: © Cranberry

Bio Nitrile Powder Free Biodegradable Examination Gloves

Cranberry’s Bio Nitrile Powder Free Biodegradable Examination Gloves are designed to meet the growing demand for sustainable, ecofriendly dental products. The nitrile material features an additive that reportedly introduces microbial activity when the gloves are disposed of in a landfill, and up to 90% of the material breaks down in less than 1.5 years. The biodegradable properties do not affect the gloves’ performance, as they pass and exceed American Society for Testing and Materials standards for tensile strength and force at break.

Cranberry

707-553-6190

cranberryusa.com



April 1, 2024

EcoChoice Compostable Dental Flossers

EcoChoice Compostable Dental Flossers | image Credit: © Plackers

image Credit: © Plackers

EcoChoice Compostable Dental Flossers

Dental flosser brand Plackers has announced the launch of its new EcoChoice Compostable Dental Flossers. These dental flossers are 100% biodegradable, crafted from Danimer Scientific’s polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). Danimer Scientific’s PHA is a biopolymer made from canola oil, natural silk floss, and coconut coating, according to the manufacturer. These flossers are designed to decompose after 26 weeks if composted. Flossers will join Plackers’ line of EcoChoice products. They are available exclusively through Amazon.

Plackers

877-752-2537

plackers.com



April 1, 2024

BioGREEN™ Biodegradable Micro-Applicators

BioGREEN™ Biodegradable Micro-Applicators | Image Credit: © Premier Dental Co

Image Credit: © Premier Dental Co

BioGREEN™ Biodegradable Micro-Applicators

With strength and durability, these biodegradable microapplicators are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastic applicators. Their bendable shape makes them flexible for easy use, and the brush tips are gluten free and lint free.

These applicators are biodegradable and compostable, come in recyclable packaging made from sustainable materials, and require less energy to produce than petroleum plastics.

Premier Dental Co

888-773-6872

premierdentalco.com



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