Waste Management in Dentistry
Every process that works generates waste, which needs to be managed, and this is the case with dentistry. There are millions of waste materials generated daily from dental treatments that need proper disposal. There are multiple reasons why waste management in dentistry is important and why dental waste should be disposed of properly. Out of all those reasons, the prime one is to prevent contamination of bacteria. This article highlights some of the key methods of waste management in dentistry and how dental practitioners can make it their habit.
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Proper Distance for Disposal
The first and foremost thing a practicing dentist should do is to dispose of waste materials far from the dental set up to prevent any contamination. This waste can be anything like plastic gloves, water cups, used napkins, suction tips, etc.
After every dental treatment, have a dental assistant properly clean and disinfect the area. This is as important as cleaning the unit because it is very likely that waste materials will be found thrown on the floor, which is often overlooked and ignored. Using a disinfectant is the right way to make sure no cross-contamination occurs.
A trash can is surely present in every dental setup, but not all kinds of waste can be thrown in it directly. For example, blood-soaked cotton, suction tips, extracted teeth, used needles, amalgam fillings containing mercury, etc. are all hazardous things that need proper waste management in dentistry. Dentists must make sure to use biomedical containers, double bags, puncture-resistant boxes, and proper recycling services when it applies. You can check our full dental waste management guidelines here. Also, it is important to separate and recycle common waste like plastic, paper, and glass. And keep in mind that dental scrap containing precious metals can also be recycled and generate a good income for a dental office. Learn more about dental scrap refining here.
Why Is Waste Management in Dentistry So Important?
The main reason why properly disposing of the waste generated from dental interventions is important is because many diseases can be transmitted by contact with these materials. For example, it is known that the improper disposal of needles can cause accidental punctures to garbage collectors, which can lead to serious health issues for them. But it is also important to manage the waste inside the dental office to prevent cross-contamination from one patient to the next.
Another important reason is the environmental impact of this waste. Contaminant materials like mercury, lead, and some liquids used in dental procedures can be very harmful to the environment, so preventive measures are vital.
In conclusion, being a dentist means providing the best dental treatment to patients and counseling them. However, the role does not end here. Considering the general well-being and safety of patients also involves taking into consideration the whole environment. The better you follow good practices for waste management in dentistry, the better you can safeguard the environment and thus your patients.
Now you know the general rules of waste management in dentistry, and you can start applying these concepts. As we mentioned before, dental scrap is an important part of the dental waste management practice for every clinic, but you need to make sure that you send these materials to the right refiner, both for your practice’s benefit and for the environment.
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Core Scientific is the leader in dental scrap recycling in North America. We are a direct precious metal refinery specializing in dental scrap refining, and we provide our clients with the highest returns of the industry, 2 to 5 times higher than other providers!
We also hold ourselves to the highest standards of environmental compliance, so you know you are sending your dental waste to a trustworthy facility. We use the latest melting and assay technologies that extract more metals from scrap, making the recycling process more efficient and reducing the environmental footprint. For example, last year we recycled over 10,000 oz of precious metals, reducing 202,517 tons of waste and 2,674 lbs of CO2 emissions.