5 Budget-Friendly Ways For Your Dental Practice to Go Green

Luca Tizzano
March 6, 2024

Over the last years, sustainability has moved from buzzword to necessity. Going green has gone mainstream in business - and dentistry is no different.

Hence, going green isn't merely a passing trend like inflatable furniture or tie-dye t-shirts. If you aim to future-proof your dental practice, adopting environmentally sustainable practices is imperative.

To put it in layman’s terms, green dentistry (or eco-dentistry) is an approach to oral health that reduces the environmental impact and creates a safe and high-quality environment for patients.

Dentistry is primarily a health profession. Therefore, it's crucial to recognize the significance of being eco-friendly and advocating for environmental and planetary health while assisting patients.

On top of that, sustainable initiatives can also save your practice time and money by reducing waste and increasing efficiency.

According to the ​​Ontario Academy of General Dentistry, “through anthropogenic global warming, human activity is causing irreversible damage to life on Earth, including rising sea levels, ocean acidification and ecosystem destruction, according to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body of the United Nations. With this looming threat in mind, businesses - including dental practices - can make decisions that contribute to reducing and reversing climate change.

With that in mind, let’s see why going green is good for your dental practice:

  • Promote better health and wellness in the community
  • Influence the environmental impact of your equipment and supplies
  • Minimise the plastic “burden”
  • Reduce costs with efficient technology
  • Use products with safer and more sustainable chemicals
  • Promote environmental and health benefits for staff and patients
  • Provide more natural-looking teeth restorations
  • Improve your practice’s reputation
  • Increase employee satisfaction, morale, and retention
  • Gain a competitive edge
  • Attract “green” patients

To cut a long story short, going green isn’t merely a matter of preference.

The four R model of green living (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover) is increasingly becoming a necessity for dental practices due to changing perspectives around the world.

Green dental practices play a vital role in fostering more sustainable resources and promoting a healthier environment.

Now, let's delve deeper into some effective, simple, and affordable ways for your dental practice to embrace sustainability.

2. 5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Make Your Practice Greener

According to Entrepreneur, the Green Business Bureau CEO Marcos Cordero says that "Many things require simply changing behaviour that results in excessive waste. Start small, and building sustainability will pay for itself."

Going green doesn't need to be difficult or expensive.

Here are a few simple tips to make your dental practice more sustainable without breaking the bank. These practices benefit both the environment and your practice's financial health.

1. Go paperless

As the world embraces digitalisation, it's time to start implementing eco-friendly paperless solutions.

While you may still rely on paper for now, there will come a tipping point where practices using traditional methods like sticky notes and paper intake forms will become outdated.

Transitioning from paper documents to digital records and electronic communication is more affordable than you might expect and offers long-term cost savings.

Whether you create electronic forms, scan patient information and store it digitally, use online patient records and charts, or automate appointment scheduling, going paperless allows you  to streamline workflows, reduce waste, increase efficiency, and maximise profitability.

2. Optimise inventory management

Inventory waste indeed carries significant environmental and financial consequences. Unused or expired stock is often either discarded in landfills or requires specialised collection.

The reality is that many dental practices are unaware of their inefficient and environmentally unfriendly manual inventory processes. While their primary focus is on delivering excellent oral health care, ordering and stock management often take a back seat.

Luckily, dental-specific ordering and stock management software can help your practice reduce waste by striking a balance between supply and demand.

Once you are able to calculate the amount of inventory necessary for future periods, you will significantly reduce the frequency of orders and shipping waste and positively impact the environment and your practice’s bottom line.