Q&A: Dentsply Sirona: Join us in Tackling the Social Side of Sustainability

Dentistry Today
Dentsply Sirona


For many people, sustainability means environmental actions to protect our planet. While tackling issues connected to the health of our planet are of the utmost importance, sustainability includes a lot more. Tony Johnson, SVP, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Dentsply Sirona, explains how dental professionals interested in furthering sustainability can also look into supporting local and disadvantaged communities.

As long-term partners, Dentsply Sirona and TeamSmile hosted several programs over the last few years. Besides being a national partner for full partnership of TeamSmile, Dentsply Sirona will continue to support, as a GOLD Partner, an additional program dedicated to children in need in Charlotte, NC, in 2024.

Q: What are some important factors to consider when building a sustainable dental industry, apart from reducing its environmental footprint?

A: Reducing our carbon emissions, waste, and general impact on the planet are important priorities for our industry and dental practices around the world in the fight against climate change—but they are not the only sustainability factors to consider. We also have a role to play in creating a fairer and more inclusive society as well as holding up the highest standards of ethics and responsibility.

Acting sustainably in this respect means building a diverse and inclusive industry for people of all backgrounds. It means providing care for marginalized groups, such as those living with disabilities or those who currently lack access to quality oral health care. At Dentsply Sirona, 1 of the 3 pillars of our BEYOND sustainability strategy, called Healthy Smiles, focuses on exactly that in a myriad of ways: working toward gender parity and pay parity for employees, empowering women in dentistry, increasing access to oral health care for communities in need, and much more. 

Q: How can dental professionals make a sustainable difference for local or disadvantaged communities?

A: There are 2 major ways to make a difference. The first is volunteering. At Dentsply Sirona, for instance, we partner with local NGOs and dental professional teams to support community actions. We provide equipment, funds, knowledge, and volunteers—and dental professionals share their knowledge and time. Together, we make a significant difference in patients’ lives in a way that is extremely rewarding.

The other way to make a difference is staffing. Adapting hiring practices to create a diverse team at your dental practice furthers sustainability by making the industry more diverse and inclusive while increasing your practice’s attractiveness for more diverse minorities, as evidenced by numerous studies.

If unsure of where to start, dentists can take a first step by taking the Pledge for Sustainable Dentistry and seeking out educational materials. Our Sustainability Educational Curriculum and the Sustainability Resource Kit, available online for free, are great places to learn about concrete actions to make a sustainable difference within dental practices and labs. We are always looking to engage with great new ideas—if anyone has further solutions, please reach out to us via email at corporate.communications@dentsplysirona.com.

A patient from Porto Rolim de Moura do Guaporé, a river community on the Guaporé River in Rondonia, Brazil. She received endodontic treatment, fiberglass posts, and restorations fabricated directly on-site with CEREC within Project 32.

Q: What role do industry partnerships play in sustainability? Can you provide some examples of industry players coming together?

A: Partnerships are absolutely vital as they bring different parties to the table, multiplying our impact.

Take our partnership with Smile Train, for instance. Since 2021, we have helped fund more than 2,700 cleft surgeries through our donations but also by encouraging others to donate as well. We have shared our expertise and worked with Smile Train and the FDI World Dental Federation to jointly develop the first-ever global protocols for digital cleft treatment.

Or take our longstanding partnership with TeamSmile, which helps to provide underserved children in our local area of Charlotte, NC, with free screenings and dental treatments, as well as oral health education resources. Similarly, in South America, we partner with Project 32 to help provide endo-dontic treatment to remote, financially challenged populations—eg, people living on the riverbanks in the Amazon Rainforest. It is crucial that meaningful projects such as these find partners that bring in funds; additional expertise; time; and, thanks to the higher public attention, additional volunteers. We at Dentsply Sirona are happy when we can be instrumental in this. We take great inspiration and motivation from our existing partnerships to push for even more opportunities to create healthy smiles and be a strong driver of sustainable change in our industry and beyond.

For more information, visit Dentsply Sirona’s website located at dentsplysirona.com/sustainability.