HS Dental Rely on us-2

Rooting out emissions: curbing carbon and deforestation in dentistry

dentistry, practice green, carbon emissions

In the urgent mission to combat climate change, every industry must step up, and dentistry is no exception. However, the road to sustainability in dental practices is unique, with regulations, hygiene standards, and patient safety acting as challenging but necessary gatekeepers.

In this blog, we take a closer look at carbon emissions produced by transportation, and deforestation exacerbated by paper usage, and highlight changes you can make, small and large, to reduce your environmental impact in these areas.

Carbon emissions in dentistry

Understanding the negative impacts of carbon emissions is crucial for fostering sustainability in dental practices. Carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, contributes to global warming and climate change, leading to disrupted weather patterns, biodiversity loss, and health risks that are now happening in droves across the globe. Acknowledging these impacts enables us to take proactive steps to mitigate them, ensuring a healthier planet for future generations.13

The equipment we utilise, the transportation we rely on, and the day-to-day operations of our practices all contribute to the carbon emissions associated with dentistry[1]. Large equipment integral to dentistry – such as x-ray machines and autoclaves – have a high energy consumption and therefore impact on your overall footprint. But the equipment is vital to the practice, so what is the solution?

Another heavy factor to consider, is transportation. Studies show that the average dental practice emits a significant amount of carbon dioxide annually, with travel making up the largest portion[2]. This environmental impact underscores the need for a proactive approach to reducing our carbon footprint.

To address these challenges, you can implement a range of strategies to reduce your dental practice’s contribution to carbon emissions. Investing in energy-efficient equipment where appropriate, and eco-friendly lighting, for instance, not only reduces energy consumption but also leads to long-term cost savings. Embracing renewable energy sources and exploring sustainable transportation options for our staff further aligns our practices with eco-conscious principles.

Dentistry’s impact on deforestation

In our pursuit of excellence in patient care, it's essential to acknowledge the broader environmental implications of our practices. One such concern is the impact of paper use on deforestation, which is devastating natural habitats and ecosystems across the globe.

14Deforestation carries significant environmental consequences, affecting biodiversity, climate regulation, and the livelihoods of communities around the world. It's a stark reminder that even seemingly routine aspects of our profession hold ecological significance.

The demand for paper products, including patient records, consent forms, and administrative documents, contributes to the depletion of vital forested areas.

To tackle this problem, we propose a shift towards digital administration in dental practices. Systems and software like Dentally and Software of Excellence offer efficient and secure alternatives to seamlessly take your practice digital.

As well as this, make sure you have clear recycling practices for the paper products you can’t go without, especially as paper is still a more sustainable choice than plastic.

Additionally, we can explore sustainable sourcing options for the paper you do use. Choosing recycled or bamboo-based materials supports responsible forestry practices and helps alleviate the pressure on natural forests.

Little changes make a big difference

The solutions presented here are not just suggestions, but actionable steps towards a greener, more sustainable future for dentistry. From implementing paperless administration to embracing energy-efficient equipment, each measure holds the potential to make a substantial difference if we all work together.

By adopting these practices, you not only fortify your commitment to patient well-being but also contribute to the broader movement towards a healthier, more vibrant planet.

Together, we can create smiles that not only radiate health and happiness but also reflect our dedication to a sustainable future. The time for action is now, and we invite you to join us on this remarkable journey towards greener dentistry.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9100308/

[2] https://publishing.rcseng.ac.uk/doi/10.1308/rcsfdj.2020.96

Leave a Comment