Many people, myself included, are frustrated with the current state of the healthcare system in the United States (and other countries too, I'm sure). However, healthcare providers who have green, holistic, or integrative philosophies are often hard to find--especially for patients who wish to have their healthcare expenses covered by insurance. I personally went through my own wild goose chase to find a good, open-minded doctor who is covered by my insurance.
Dentistry is another area where people have difficulty finding quality providers. In my area, many of the best dentists are "out of network" and their services are only partially covered. Holistic dentistry is a wonderful branch of preventative healthcare, fortunately there are organizations to help people find green, holistic dentists in their area. In today's post, guest writer Shannon Firestone offers some great information about these organizations and how they can help you make more eco-friendly preventative care choices for your oral health.
The Eco-Dentistry Association is a fantastic organization that educates green dental patients and helps anyone interested to find providers that put the health of their patients and the planet first. All participating dentists have a vested interest in helping to reduce their environmental footprint. You can search a member dentist either by zip code or by city, and you can also search for a specific type of dental professional.
There are currently more than 600 members, and the website and its founders do a marvelous job when it comes to giving advice to dentists and patients alike so that they can reduce waste, save money, and create a healthier environment for everyone.
Another great resource is The Center for Natural Dentistry. It has a very large practice and a wonderful website that outlines the many benefits of going green when it comes to your dental care. The dentists go above and beyond low-wattage fluorescent lights and low-flow toilets at their office, and the website outlines the variety of efforts (note that these things make a great checklist when looking for a green dentist, so remember to inquire about each of the below before making a commitment to any one practice):
• Eco-friendly cleaning solutions to protect our waterways
• Reusable towels to reduce waste
• On-site, energy-efficient laundry facility to reduce waste
• Biohazard disposal policies to ensure toxic chemicals (such as mercury) don’t pollute our environment
• Comprehensive Patient Protection Program to ensure mercury vapors don’t pollute the air or our patients’ lungs
• Paperless records to reduce paper consumption and waste
For holistic dentists, a fantastic resource is the Holistic Dental Association. The Holistic Dental Association’s website offers its visitors a searchable database of their members. You can search by name, city, or state. The association has been in existence since 1978 and has come to be one of the most trusted and reputable for their ability to provide support and guidance to practitioners of holistic and alternative dentistry, “as well as informing the public of the benefits of holistic dentistry for their health and well-being.”
The aforementioned resources are not only great for finding both green and holistic dentists, but are also great resources to educate yourself on what you as an individual can do. There are so many safe and reusable alternatives that lower dentists’ operating costs while helping the environment and we should make it a priority to connect with dentists who make use of them.
Thanks to Shannon for sharing these great resources and tips! I especially like how she pointed out the importance of becoming educated on what we as individuals can do in our own efforts to be greener and take a more preventative approach to healthcare.
Shannon Firestone is a freelancer for TopDentists.com and other healthcare media outlets.