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Waste disposal in dentistry

Consciousness about the correct handling of trash has increased in the last decade, with studies showing that 89% of people consider recycling as the acceptable method for disposing of waste. The dental industry is not excluded from this trend. Waste disposal in dentistry is an important matter, specifically with plastic and amalgam waste contributing to the contamination of water bodies, and heavy metals from dental amalgams becoming part of food chains and generating new diseases. For this reason, dental waste disposal guidelines are vital to keeping the environmental impact of this activity under control.

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Types of wastes and disposal guidelines

In this article, we are discussing the five major types of dental waste that are common in almost all dental offices and need to be disposed of properly. Here are the most important guidelines for these five types of waste:

1. Dental sharps waste

Dental sharps are classified as the objects or devices used to lacerate or perforate the oral skin. Sharps include different items such as dermal needles, one-use blades, and some plastics items. Once they are used, they are considered as bio-hazardous waste, so these special guidelines should be followed:

– This waste needs to be discarded properly in sharps containers. 

– Dental sharps waste must be sent to metal recyclers and properly treated so it cannot harm the environment or surrounding communities. 

– Plastic waste that is not biodegradable should be converted to biodegradable plastic instead of burying in landfills.

2. Hazardous and reactive waste 

Hazardous waste from dental clinics has the following traits: reactivity, ignitability, toxicity, or corrosivity. This waste may exist in fluid or solid form. The disposal guidelines for hazardous waste completely depend on the physical state of waste material. To avoid hazardous waste from entering the environment, the following measures should be taken:

– Hazardous waste should not be thrown away in the trash or washed down the sink.

– Each dental office should individually regulate the disposal of hazardous waste including non-functional X-ray machines.

3. Pharmaceutical waste 

According to standard definition, pharmaceutical waste includes unused, expired, or unwanted pharmaceutical products. Health care companies and related businesses that manufacture pharmaceutical products should collect the leftovers and unused products from the dental offices for their environment-friendly disposal. Some options to dispose of the pharmaceutical waste are:

– Incineration of expired products in the waste combustor. 

– Mail-back systems inexpensive and convenient removal of pharmaceutical waste.

– Refiners and separators for the extraction of useful substances from rejected products.

4. Dental amalgam waste

Amalgam contains metals such as liquid mercury or metal alloy mixtures used to fill cavities. Dental amalgam waste includes vacuum filters, chair-side trap filters, and saliva ousters if used in treatment. If not disposed of correctly, amalgam waste enters into waterways and affects the environment and community. Following these recommendations can avoid harmful effects:

– The use of amalgam separators should be introduced in every dental office.

– Amalgam recycling is an effective program for waste management.

– The separated amalgam should not be discarded in the trash. 

– Heavy metal waste should be sent to metal refineries.

5. Dental scrap

Dental scrap is extracted dental materials like crowns, bridges, PFMs, and others that contain precious metals. These metals can be pollutants when tossed into landfills, but when properly disposed of, they can generate an income for a dental office. These are the key guidelines for recycling dental scrap:

-This waste should be sent to a dental scrap refiner, like Core Scientific, who will process it and recover the precious metals, giving you back a profit.

-Collect dental scrap separated from other types of waste. Core Scientific sends you a free container to recollect and send back to refine.

-You can recycle porcelain fused to metal, porcelain fused to gold, extractions with inlays and onlays, precious metal crowns and bridges, yellow gold partials, buttons, wires, and clasps. If you have any other materials that you don’t know if can be recycled, contact us, and we will be glad to help you.

Core Scientific is a specialized dental scrap refinery and the leader of the industry in the US. Our dental clients double or triple their returns compared to their previous providers when they start working with us, and they can generate from $1,000 to $10,000 a year. We provide this superior service because we use the latest refining and assay technologies that allow us to extract more precious metals from dental scrap, and also because we stick to our 100% transparency policy. We are also an INC 5,000 company, one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, thanks to these practices and the trust of our customers.

You can request a container now, or get in touch with us if you want to know more about our process.

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700 Industrial Drive, Ste K

Cary IL

60013, United States

Phone: 866-660-4631

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Monday-Friday: 9:00 – 5:00

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: Closed

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Comments (2)

[…] these few simple steps to decrease dental office waste. It is important to learn which items used in the dental clinic can be recycled and how. Many other […]

[…] dentistry, like any other medical waste, is regulated by national and local agencies and requires proper disposal given that it can present a potential risk for human and environmental health. The Resource […]

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