Dentistry and the Environment

Two words you don’t often see in the same sentence!As healthcare providers we all have a role to play in tackling the biggest threat to global health in the 21st Century: Climate Change. The healthcare sector is the largest carbon emitter in the UK with the NHS contributing to approximately 4.5% of the UK’s carbon emissions. We are compelled by overwhelming evidence to make changes in our daily lives to limit the impact each one ofus has on the environment around us. Obvious examples like re- cycling, limiting air travel and transition to battery powered vehicles have become mainstream in our attempts to minimise our carbon footprint. Our efforts may prove to be futile as industrialisation in developing countries will overpower ourefforts but it does feel worthy at least to consider how we can modify our behaviour.

There are35,000 dental practitioners in the UK and I would suggest that most of them have a negative impact on the environment. We consume electricity to power lighting, compressors, sterilising autoclaves and countless other devices which we simply can’t do without.Cross infection control of the highest standards require disposal of plastics on a massive scale. Once again it is completely unacceptable to abandon this or chemical disinfection of surfaces. In order to be effective these chemicals are pretty nasty substances. Even impression material and plaster models require specialist disposal. When you really start analysing it dentistry is an environmental disaster!

So what can we do?

Clean those choppers and avoid sweets,fizzy drinks ……..

Yes you’ve heard it all before but avoiding dental treatment is good for you and the planet.

We are taking the next step in the digital age and digitising all our impressions apart from alginate (seaweed). So no more gloop and gagging and a much more comfortable experience for the patient. So what does this do for environment?

  • No more silicone
  • No plaster models
  • No transportation, push the button and the digital impression can be in Los Angeles, Beijing or Bognor Regis.
  • Crowns, dentures, and just about anything else can be printed.

Orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry have now entered the digital age.The quality of outcome is amazing !

Okay so the digital production line is not carbon neutral but it is getting there and so are we!

If you would like any further information please feel free to call The Mayhill Dental Centre on 01600 712020 or email

Dentistry and the Environment

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