There is, has been or will be a time when we will look at the calendar and notice it is time to think about your continuing education requirements for re-licensure. I practice in Maryland and we are required to have 30 CEU’s every two years. There are some specific courses we are required to have, but these only amount to about 8 hours or less.
We have all taken those courses on Aesthetic Dentistry where we are shown cases of full mouth restorations with too-white of teeth, or cases with twenty or more implants. I’m not sure about you, but I can tell you that cases like that don’t walk into my office every day. So, I usually look for courses that I hope will be of use every day for the benefit of my patients. There have been countless courses in oral pathology, treatment planning, and restorative (the real life kind for both fixed and removable). While these are all great topics, my interest was sparked when I came across “Green Dentistry 101: The Case for Green Dentistry; Eco-Friendly Infection Control and Wellness Dentistry” presented by Ina Pockrass, co-founder of the Eco-Dentistry Association. I thought it would be interesting, it was close to home and the location had a nice luncheon. So I went.
Ina started off with the basic “Big Picture”. She explained how our environment is in trouble and emphasized that in our profession, we are in a powerful position to help our patients and the planet. This is where I should inject that I live and practice near the Chesapeake Bay and I am an avid boater. I would love to say that after hearing Ina speak I sold my big polluting powerboat and switched to a sailboat…but alas, I have always had a sailboat! And believe me, when you are on the water and going four knots you get to see the results of pollution and run off up close and personal. As a lover of the outdoors and spending time on the Bay, Ina had struck a chord! Things suddenly began to click. How can I do my part?
During the afternoon session, Ina gave us a quiz called, “Are you greener than you think?” Some of the “green” initiatives on the list were already in place at my practice because they made my office run more efficiently. I had a dry vacuum system, steam sterilization, digital x-rays, and electronic records. Even still, I scored just 10 points out of 36 possible and thought, “I am pale green. I can do better!” A couple days later I emailed Ina and we exchanged some emails…and the rest you can say is history. I have continued to implement more and more of the Eco-Dentistry’s suggestions and in doing so I know I offer a better environment for my patients, staff and myself. I am currently working on my GreenDOC™ office certification and I hope that it will be well beyond pale green. I’m hoping to be “as green as Kermit.” Wish me luck!
Joe Revak, DMD, MAS