It's Not Easy Being Green

Dec. 2, 2010
The ADA meeting this year was a showplace for many new products and services.

Paul Feuerstein, DMD

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The ADA meeting this year was a showplace for many new products and services. Going up and down more than 40 rows daily only allowed me to get a snippet of things. But a few caught my eye, and I'll start here with these.

The most interesting booth was not a new product but a concept. As we become environmentally conscious, we have to look at our practices. One of the exhibits was a giant glass Dumpster that showed the amount of trash a dental office discards; it was scary. Most of the trash was not biodegradable.

To counter this, a dentist and his wife have decided to lead the charge. I met Ina and Fred Pockrass at last year's ADA meting and found kindred spirits of the '60s. Fred set up his office in Berkeley, Calif. (the hotbed of peace and love), as the TranscenDentist. I expected to talk with him about the Maharishi, but instead learned how he had set up his office with a multitude of environmentally friendly options to reduce waste and energy.

Fred and Ina set up the EcoDentistry Association, and were enlisting dentists to join. They were also scouring the industry for acceptable products, equipment, and materials that met their criteria. To be honest, I thought this would merely appeal to the older, radical dentists and the younger, globally conscious dentists.

Fred and Ina are on a mission. For the past year they have brought their story to multiple manufacturers, aligned with a PR firm, and are having an impact. They now have a certification for offices and products that meet their criteria.

I still did not see a connection to my high-tech world until I spotted the DentalEZ light in the EcoDentist booth. The company has a new LED light, the EverLight. This reduces energy consumption and waste from discarded bulbs. Other manufacturers there included Discus, SciCan, and Hu-Friedy.

The trek to chartless or paperless offices is an obvious step, as is digital radiography in eliminating lead foil and packets. It was interesting to see many practitioners signing up to become part of this cause, as well as manufacturers' representatives who questioned Fred and Ina. Many signed up at the meeting.

To become part of this and get more information, visit www.ecodentistry.org. Also, watch for a special supplement in the March 2011 issue of Dental Economics® that will focus on several aspects of the green office.

No strings attached

Those of us using headlights have gone through several incarnations of lights. The majority are attached to loupes, glasses, or use a headband. The LEDs have relieved us of the tethered, fiber-optic bundle that attached the early lights to a big box. Almost all have a small power pack that you clip on a belt or pocket with a wire running up your side.

Users of this system have no doubt hooked the wire on something, thus yanking the glasses off, pulling off the pack, or ripping the wire from the battery pack. (Ultralight Optics has a simple solution to this with a "breakaway" smaller wire attached to the longer wire. This also puts the plugging-unplugging wear-and-tear on the little inexpensive wire.)

But Orascoptic has introduced a novel idea that incorporates the battery pack into the earpieces of the loupes. The Freedom Light is cleverly balanced and has a universal mounting clip that makes it quite flexible. The company also eliminated switches by using "capacitive touch technology." This makes it easier to clean, due to sleeker lines. More information is available at www.orascoptic.com.

Many other products debuted at the ADA meeting and will feed this column for some time. A new caries detection system, CarieScan (cariescan.com), is available from Patterson. I will report on this after I review the product and compare it with others in the marketplace.

Speaking of Patterson, EagleSoft has had a major revision in version 16 that I think will exhilarate current users and excite new ones. This update shows that companies actually listen to user input.

Also let me make a brief mention here of an oral biological system that is making some noise – Oragenics. The company's new EvoraPlus probiotic mints, as well as some interesting upcoming genetic engineering of oral bacteria, deserve further discussion in this column about company claims of reducing oral pathogens, improving periodontal health, breath, and even whitening. For more information, log on to www.evorapro.com.

With more major meetings coming up in the next few months, I will not likely run out of things to talk about.

Dr. Paul Feuerstein installed one of dentistry's first computers in 1978. For more than 20 years, he has taught technology courses. He was named "Clinician of the Year" at the 2010 Yankee Dental Congress. A general practitioner in North Billerica, Mass., since 1973, Dr. Feuerstein maintains a Web site (www.computersindentistry.com) and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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