While attending the Chicago Midwinter Meeting, we were able to sit down with Dr. Andie Pearson. Dr. Pearson is a new Eco-Dentistry Association member from Illinois and shared some of her thoughts about her eco friendly dental office and the future of green dentistry.
Tell me a little about yourself and what inspired you to be a leader in green dentistry.
My name is Andie Pearson and I have been in practice for 23 years. For 22 years I have been a biocompatibility dentist and I am a Craniosacral therapist. I am very sensitive to the environment, so when I got out of dental school and began to start my practice I needed to work in an environment that was comfortable and wouldn’t make me sick. I worked hard to create a safe, clean space – both physically and emotionally for my patients and staff. I wanted non-toxic materials to be used, to protect the environment, and be kind to my patients. Those considerations helped me create a green dental office.
What is the most unexpected benefit of having a green dental office?
Aside from the positive legacy that I am leaving for my children, I am happy that I am helping shift the view of dentistry. Patients aren’t as afraid to come to the dentist! I have patients that travel 3 hours round trip to dental appointments. Hearing patients say “I look forward to coming to the dentist!” makes me feel like I’m doing my part to shift the industry for the better.
What green initiative are you most proud of?
My office is powered by 100% wind energy. I had the opportunity to pay for 20% wind energy and I took it up a notch. I chose to purchase 100% wind energy because it’s better for the planet. We have bamboo flooring, no VOC carpets, no VOC paint and skylights that let in natural light. We also don’t use glutaraldehyde, so the air quality in my office is much better.
How have your patients responded to your green initiatives?
They have come to expect it now! I have been doing it so long and my patients know that when given the choice, I will do what’s best for them and the planet. I am constantly looking for ways to do better – in my materials, office and continuing education.
If there was only one thing to tell you colleagues to help them go green, what would it be?
Go digital – get as paperless as possible and make sure you recycle everything else. Digital patient charting, digital patient reminders and digital x-rays reduce a lot of avoidable waste and is better for patients and the planet.
Do you believe that high – tech, green dentistry is the dentistry of the future?
I believe that green dentistry is the dentistry of the future for a lot of reasons. Science will eventually run parallel with green improvements, such as digital equipment. Whether dentists chose to be green or not, if they purchase digital equipment, they will have taken green steps. Improvements in technology will be clean and green out of function. Eventually, there will be no separation between green and technology.