Environmental Dentistry

The environment is an integral part of who we are. As citizens of this planet, we rely on the environment for the oxygen we breathe and the food that we eat. In turn, it relies on us for the care it needs to continue to exist and maintain a viable ecosystem.

This environmental consciousness has trickled down to dentistry. There are now dentists that strive to achieve a more ethically and environmentally responsible practice that treats the patient as a whole. Here are a few examples.

* Only using bio-compatible products such as implants to solve oral problems with patients
* Resisting the use of metals in the mouth
* Finding alternatives to toxic substances used in fillings

According to these dentists, it is our responsibility not to harm the body in an effort to save the mouth. Everything used should enhance not hurt. When it comes to practice, the dentists work much like more conventional dentists. They perform routine exams and diagnose problems with inflammation, gum disease, cavities and the need for surgery. But, they find other ways to handle the treatment besides what they refer to as incompatible options.

Fillings are one of their main concerns. When it comes to filling cavities in teeth, a substance called amalgam is often used. Amalgam still contains a good deal of mercury. As you know, mercury is a known cancerous agent. It has even been taken out of thermometers. According to conventional dentistry, this amalgam converts to non-toxic substances when mixed with saliva.

The disposal of these medical waste products also concern environmental dentists. They do not want to harm the environment with chemicals that can damage the land and the water table. They strive to handle it is a way that is non-toxic to the patient and the land.

Environmental dentists look for solutions to treat the patient without impacting the rest of the body. Implants are not currently tested for bio-compatibility but environmental dentists are trying to push the industry in that direction.

Will you receive better care at one or the other? Who is to say? The underlying tenets of dentistry are still to maintain the health of the mouth. Those who are environmentally conscious take it one step further and try not to impact the future health of the other systems of the body because of what they are doing today. They instill in their patients this same philosophy.