FDI Developing Guidelines for Sustainable Dentistry

Dentistry Today

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The FDI World Dental Federation is developing guidelines on how to run an environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and successful dental practice without compromising quality of care.

Dr. James Zenk, FDI Dental Practice Committee Chair and leader of the group’s Sustainability in Dentistry project, said that green dentistry is important to FDI and that FDI’s commitment to sustainability can help dentists achieve sustainability in their daily work too.

“Many countries are leading the way in [terms of green dentistry] and many dentists are making sustainability a high priority by using more environmentally friendly dental supplies and equipment, cleaning products, or making structural, energy efficient changes to their clinics,” Zenk said.

“FDI can help by sharing these success stories to help build awareness in other countries and offices that are only beginning their sustainability journey,” Zenk said.

Adopted by the FDI General Assembly in 2019, the Sustainability in Dentistry policy statement recognizes the prevention of oral diseases and the promotion of health as the most sustainable way to ensure optimal, accessible, and affordable oral health with minimal impact on the environment.

FDI highlighted the environmental impact of dentistry and how these impacts can be reduced for the health of the patient, practitioner, and practice in an online infographic. The Sustainability in Dentistry projects aims to show how good oral health benefits the environment as well as patients and dental practices.

Sustainability in dentistry is multifaceted and involves many stakeholders who all have a role to play, FDI said, including national governments, educators, manufacturers, distributors, dental equipment  technicians, waste collectors, and processors.

Maintaining good oral health and providing quality care often can reduce costly interventions and result in more sustainable outcomes, FDI said.

In dental practices, appropriate waste management such as reducing medical waste, paper use, water consumption, or changing to alternative (electronic) methods of record keeping and using durable equipment also impact carbon emissions and wider sustainability, FDI said.

Patient and supplier education are equally important for sustainable and cost-effective methods of consumption and production, FDI said.

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