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The Next Step Towards Green Dentistry – Going Solar!

Wellesley Dental Group is excited to be hosting a Solar Panel Installation party on July 18th, 10-11am, at our office at 5 Seaward Rd in Wellesley. The town of Wellesley is celebrating the first commercial installation of solar panels in town, made possible with the help of our collaborators, The Power to Choose and Sustainable Wellesley. Members of Sustainable Energy Committee, and Wellesley’s Green Collaborative Network will be attending the event, among others.
Going solar has inspired us to do further research on how to maintain a sustainable dental practice. Green Dentistry is becoming a new standard; recycling, efficient energy use and reducing pollution are the main features of this trend, united under the umbrella of the”re-think” approach. Business owners need to re-think the way the resources are utilized and what kind of impact that has on the environment. First, let’s talk definitions and find out exactly what “Green Dentistry” is. Many experts agree that this term describes a practice that:

  • Reduces waste and pollution
  • Saves energy, water and money
  • Incorporates high-tech innovations
  • Is wellness based

Let’s explore all these options in detail:

  • Reducing waste and pollution.

The EDA estimates 1.7 billion sterilization pouches and 680 million chair barriers, light handle covers and patient bibs end up in landfill each year from US dental offices alone. Four processes are responsible for the majority of waste generated by a regular dental practice:

    1. Infection control methods, including disposable barriers and sterilization items and toxic disinfectant. We diligently abide by the industry standards on cleanliness of the working areas and instrument sterilization.
    2. Placement and removal of mercury-containing dental material. We don’t offer amalgam fillings and properly dispose of the extracted ones. 
    3. Conventional x-ray systems. Our office uses digital X-ray machines.
    4. Conventional vacuum systems. Updating the standard systems are on our green list. 

The other ways are:

    • Donate used clothes, shoes, etc. to organizations such as Cradles to Crayons. Check! Wellesley Dental Group is a permanent drop-off location for your donations.
    • Recycle ALL aluminum, glass, and plastic. Check!
    • Reuse or recycle paper and cardboard. Check!
    • Go paperless! Use electronics for paperwork, budget, paying bills, and marketing instead of paper (patients can fill out forms on an iPad or online, at home). Send appointment reminders through email, text messages, or recycled paper. Check! We are gradually decreasing the amount of paper used for the office communication and send email appointment reminders and newsletters.
    • Encourage your staff to bike, walk, or carpool to work. Check! 
    • Use only low toxic cleaning products. Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products is on our to-do list!
  • Saving energy and water. Dental offices use a lot of electricity to run compressors, drills, overhead lights, operatory lights and computers. Dental vacuum systems can use as much as 360 gallons of water per day in a typical practice. It doesn’t take replacing all the equipment in the practice today to go green. Simple changes in habits can make a big difference for the planet.

    • Opt in for solar energy. It is a great way to be a more sustainable business. Check!!!
    • Make sure your electronic equipment and office lights are turned off overnight. This will reduce “phantom load” which is estimated to account for 10% of the typical energy bill. Check! 
    • Install programmable thermostats. Check!
    • Use a water-free hand disinfectant to clean hands. Check!
    • Replace high-energy office lights to energy-efficient fluorescent lighting. Working towards it! 
    • Install ceiling fans where appropriate.
    • Install skylights to enhance lighting and keep it energy free.
    • Review your water bill monthly for spikes, and think of ways to reduce water waste.
  • Using Technological Innovations. Recently designed tools are more energy-efficient, produce better results and reduce pollution.
    • Digital Imaging (x-rays). Offer instant image availability, improved image quality, enhanced diagnostic efficacy and minimal radiation exposure. They also eliminate toxic x-ray fixer solutions and lead foils. Check!
    • Steam Sterilization. Time efficient and reliable, it eliminates toxic chemical sterilization vapors in the dental office environment. Check!
    • CAD/CAM Systems. Patients enjoy convenient completion of lab-quality restorations in single appointment and comfort of digital impressions. Check!
    • Oral Detoxification with Laser Hygiene Technologies. Check!
    • LED-Operatory Lighting. Check!
    • Digital Oral Cancer Screening. Check!
    • Digital Impressions. Check!
    • Digital Patient Charting. Check!
  • Focus on Wellness. A growing number of people seeks dental professionals who share their values of personal and planetary wellness. The dentist is not only a medical professional but also an educator, co-therapist and health coach. Drs. Ali and Ali have always invested their time to play that role in the patients’ lives. Prevention is at the cornerstone of their practice.
    • Stay updated on the healthy trends and research, keep the patients informed about the ways to improve their wellness.  Check! Wellesley Dental Group maintains consistent presence on social media, regularly sharing information about the latest research, pertinent to the health-conscious community.
    • Help the patient relax in the chair and enjoy the visit. Check! We use music therapy to help our patients feel comfortable during their visit. 
    • Prioritize preventive health, focus on the long-lasting treatment and quality dental work. Check! This has always been one of the focus points of our practice.

We are always looking for ways to improve and be responsible members of the community. We are not perfect but we are doing our best! If we have inspired you to research your options of having a more energy-sustainable home, please stay tuned, we will keep you informed! Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or to set up an appointment and consultation.   References:

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