The environmental footprint of braces, really? Sustainability may not be the first thing that you think about when it comes to improving your smile. However, expert orthodontists are well aware of the importance of preserving the environment by following the best practices in their field. At first glance, braces may look like little more than a few pieces of metal strung together with wires. In this post, we’re going to show you how orthodontics is pursuing environmental sustainability. Now it’s time to show you what’s happening.
There are many aspects that go into your treatment plan that impact their environmental footprint. Learning more about how our orthodontic care center works hard to reduce waste and improve everyone’s quality of life allows you to feel good about your decision to fix your smile.
- 1 What Factors Influence the Environmental Footprint of Braces?
- 2 Conclusion
What Factors Influence the Environmental Footprint of Braces?
- Your treatment plan will begin with a complimentary consultation with Dr. Adam Schulof where he will use several different strategies to gain a full understanding of what work needs to be done. It is during this first meeting that our office begins to work hard on reducing the environmental footprint of your treatment. For instance, we choose to use digital imaging to gain a full view of your mouth, and this is considered to be better for the environment compared to using traditional x-rays.
- From there, your treatment continues with the doctor applying your braces to your teeth. We take pride in providing the highest quality lingual appliances that you can get in our area, and making sure that they are perfectly placed helps to reduce breakage that contributes to waste. When we only have to place your appliance once, you can be sure that we are not wasting the earth’s precious materials.
- Other factors that influence how your treatment impacts the environment include the chemicals we use in our office to perform tasks such as cleaning up the examination room. You should also know that we leave no detail alone. Everything from the lights that we use to the temperature that we set the thermostat at is done with an awareness of how our actions impact the environment.
How Do Digital Images Differ From X-Rays?
- Digital radiography uses advanced technology to capture images of your teeth, jaw bone, and other oral structures. The conventional x-ray systems that are still used by some offices today require more energy to operate, and they also need more materials such as film and developer solutions. With a digital x-ray, we can get an even better image of your mouth while being able to quickly see the images on a screen.
- Not only does this allow us to stop using chemicals to develop film x-rays, but it also cuts down on paperwork and storage waste. Your digital x-rays are electronically stored so that we can access them at any time without having to go digging through a wasteful collection of paper files.
What Other Ways Do Orthodontists Reduce Energy Loss?
- Similar to your home, orthodontists use strategies throughout the office to reduce how much energy is used each day, thus reducing the environmental footprint of braces . Programmable thermostats are one option that easily helps to keep the atmosphere in the treatment rooms comfortable for patients during the day with the temperature being slightly adjusted for energy savings at night.
- LED lights are another way that the environmental footprint of your treatment is reduced. As you’ll notice, your orthodontist uses bright lights to get a good view of your teeth when they are working on your appliances. Switching from incandescent bulbs to LED styles is an easy way to still be able to see the surface of your teeth without having to use as much electricity.
What About Equipment Sterilization?
- The equipment used for your treatment is often made of reusable materials such as stainless steel. This allows for waste to be kept down compared to using disposable products, but it also means that the equipment must be sterilized between patients. Your orthodontic care team carefully chooses which instruments are worth sterilizing to help cut down on waste. While they may use a disposable bib to keep your clothing clean and dry, it simply makes more sense to sterilize the doctor’s tools and other essential implements.
- There are several ways to sterilize equipment, and your doctor and the rest of the staff must comply with the recommended laws and guidelines regarding hygiene and safety. However, they can opt to use environmentally-friendly sterilization techniques whenever it is possible. For instance, using high temperatures and UV light can kill germs without releasing potentially toxic chemicals into the environment.
Are the Materials Used for Orthodontic Treatment Recyclable?
- Patients often ask if orthodontists reuse braces, and you can relax to hear that they should never take brackets out of one person’s mouth and put them in yours. However, there are many different materials that are used for your treatment that may be recyclable. For instance, the stainless steel that is used for the brackets and wires can be recycled by melting it down and reusing it for other purposes.
- Invisalign are also completely recyclable. The aligners, once used, are able to go in the recycle bin and are sent to the same place all other plastics go. Yay for that.
- In addition to metal, there are certain plastics that are recyclable, and these may consist of things such as disposable cups that you might use during rinsing portions of your treatment procedures. As with any type of office, you can also expect to see that the materials used in the normal operations of the business are recycled. Old paperwork and other types of materials should go into the recycling bin.
What Other Things Are Done to Preserve the Environment?
- Technology makes it far easier to make getting straighter teeth better for the environment. You can also help with this by making simple changes such as requesting text reminders of your upcoming appointments and email receipts. Taking care of your braces by following your treatment plan also helps to lower the risk of them breaking so that fewer materials are required to be used for your care further reducing the environmental footprint of braces.
Did learning about the environmental footprint of braces leave you wanting to know more about orthodontic treatment? Give our office a call for a complimentary consultation where Dr. Adam Schulhof can answer all of your questions.
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Curious of the Environmental Footprint of Braces? | 2020 NEEDS YOU
Dr Schulhof graduated with high honours from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and received his specialty training from Columbia University.
His early interest in lingual orthodontics has led to him becoming the top provider for Incognito in the U.S. and the world. Dr Schulhof was part of the LingualCare Clinical Advisory Board and is now a Key Opinion Leader for 3M and Incognito. He has presented lectures on lingual orthodontics throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Dr Schulhof is also active in research and development and was a major contributor to the development of Incognito Lite. Recently, New Jersey Orthodontist Dr Schulhof has opened a satellite practice in NYC.