Mobile Dentistry and Sustainability: Healthy Employees and a Healthy Planet

Mobile dentistry and sustainability have more in common than you might think. Corporate mobile dentistry, while relatively new, continues to grow in popularity, and not just because of the convenience it accords. Onsite pop ups and mobile dental suites in your conference room can increase employee productivity, reduce absenteeism for dental emergencies, and cultivate stronger engagement. There’s another advantage to mobile dentistry, however, that’s less frequently discussed: sustainability. With increasing pressure being placed on businesses to attain higher levels of environmental responsibility and take action to curb emissions, mobile dentistry can help – with one big caveat. This exception also happens to be a point of debate among customers, namely choosing between onsite pop ups or clinics on wheels. If sustainability is a concern, let’s just say that a fleet of commercial vans packed full of equipment being powered by gasoline or diesel motors isn’t doing the planet any favors. 

Sustainable Smiles: Corporate Mobile Dentistry’s Environmental Edge

Dentistry has come a long way since its inception, evolving not only in terms of technology and technique but also in its environmental impact. As we become increasingly aware of the importance of sustainable living, green dentistry is emerging as a vital practice within the field. The rise of mobile dentistry also contributes to this eco-friendly approach. 

Mobile dentistry is a more environmentally sustainable approach to dental care as it eliminates the need for patients to travel to a traditional dental office, thereby reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainability. 

To illustrate the point, consider the telecommuting policies of Dell, Aetna, and Xerox, which saved 95,294 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported. To put it another way, it’s the equivalent of removing 20,000 passenger vehicles from the road. 

“Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions,” the United Nations Climate Action experts noted. It also means that the largest source of pollution comes from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation. 

This is where vans and vehicular clinics, while convenient, pose threats to sustainability.  If we look at the numbers, we can see why transportation accounts for the most greenhouse gas emissions by sector, followed by electricity, industry, agriculture, commercial, and residential. 

  • It is estimated that a medium gasoline-powered car emits 192 grams of CO2 per km.
  • In comparison, a medium car powered by diesel fuel emits 171 grams of CO2 per km.
  • Large vehicles such as commercial vans and trucks, however, produce up to 85% more greenhouse gas emissions per km, compared to small vehicles.

Mobile Dentistry and Sustainability: Strengthening Corporate Environmental Responsibility

Through Dentists on Demand, our teams pioneered a mobile dentistry solution that delivers oral care right to a company’s workforce in a manner that emphasizes sustainability. Utilizing a conference room or unoccupied space, our team sets up a portable dental unit to treat employees on site. This helps the environment in a variety of ways.

  • We reduce carbon emissions by seeing an entire group of employees at one location, eliminating the need for them to travel to offices across cities and counties.
  • All the water, electricity, utilities, and waste are concentrated into one site, not multiple offices.
  • By setting up our mobile dental suites in a client’s office, typically using just one vehicle to arrive, we also help prevent the pollution caused by other mobile dental outfits that employ fleets of vans to serve as clinics on wheels. 

The portable equipment used in mobile dentistry is equally eco-friendly. Digital x-rays are an essential part of the mobile dental suites. Not only are they portable, they improve quality and accuracy while reducing exposure to radiation. They also help the environment.

According to the Eco Dentistry Association, dental clinics produce 28 million liters of hazardous x-ray fixers every year. Greater reliance on digital imaging will remove the harmful chemicals and materials from the environment that are produced by conventional radiography.

Naturally, there’s the question of what happens after a pop up. Dentists on Demand can still engage with patients remotely. We utilize a proprietary teledentistry platform that connects patients to a dentist using a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. The dentist diagnoses the problem and accelerates treatment options, which may include electronic prescriptions for antibiotics and non-narcotic pain medication. Teledentistry can help dentists conduct checkups from the comfort of their patients’ homes or offices, reducing the need for unnecessary travel, along with other benefits.

  • Teledentistry enhances the patient experience when physical visits aren’t possible or necessary through personal interaction with a dental provider by phone or video.
  • It offers immediate online scheduling, expedited assessments and treatment recommendations, and faster access to a network of available dentists – regardless of where the patient happens to be.
  • The platforms protect information through private, secure, and fully HIPAA compliant protocols.
  • Teledentistry ensures the quality of diagnosis through video interactions because patients can better describe their conditions using body language, pointing to problem areas, or even showing what’s happening inside their mouths.

Greening the Workplace, One Smile at a Time: Mobile Dentistry and Sustainability

Long hours and increasingly longer commute times have forced people to make tough choices about priorities; they can squeeze only so many activities into the sparse free time that remains. Realizing the benefits of on-demand, on-site mobile dentistry can be a boon to business leaders and their stewardship of the environment. 

Preventative care helps mitigate absenteeism and lost productivity associated with dental emergencies. Onsite mobile dentistry is a sustainable solution that allows a company’s staff to receive the best preventative dental care just feet away from their working areas. For remote and hybrid team members, a pop-up provides a new way of incentivizing workers to head back to the office. But let’s also not forget that onsite mobile dentistry is also an excellent way to promote the health of the planet while ensuring the health of your workforce. 

To learn more about how Dentists on Demand can help your business, contact us today or download our free eBook, “The Holistic Health Benefits of Corporate Mobile Dentistry.”

Photo by Jan Piatkowski on Unsplash

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