August 4, 2023

Developing a more sustainable practice

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August 4, 2023

Developing a more sustainable practice

Smart Dental Care opened its first practice in 2007, and today, the group has 45practices located in North West England and Northern Ireland. We provide a broad range of private and NHS treatments from general dentistry through to smile makeovers, implants and cosmetic treatments. We also deliver specialist contracts on behalf of the NHS, including minor oral surgery, orthodontics, emergency dentalcare and treating people in prisons across the northwest.

We are a large organisation employing around 170 dentists and 350 clinical and non-clinical staff across the group. Our aim is to continue to grow and to continue to offer NHS dentistry as part of our mix. We see real value in dealing with patients at every level and giving them an informed choice of treatment from NHS to private options.

Recently, we have started to move towards a cooperative model that allows our dentists to become stakeholders in their own practice, so they can run it as if it is their own. Our head office supports their operation in terms of funding and organisational support, but principals are left to serve their local community in ways, they know are best for their patients and the services they require.

Environmental impact

As a group, we are very mindful of our impact on the environment and have been looking to implement practical ways to adopt a greener business approach and find ways to reduce our carbon footprint. This is not an easy task, because we have thousands of patients coming in to see us every week, but equally, we have to make a start and do whatever we can to practise in more sustainable ways.

The digital route

We are in the process of introducing digital dentistry across our practices including intraoral scanners, CBCT and digital X-rays to offer a wider range of services that patients are now looking for while future-proofing our business. Intraoral scanning allows the digital results to be sent directly to the lab without having to make and send casts and Moulds using alginates, that also have to be disposed of eventually.

The use of digital X-rays means, we can dispense with toxic chemicals and solvents used in traditional X-rays and the images can be immediately uploaded and stored electronically in patients’ notes.

A paper-reduced approach

Practice management software is a great tool to reduce the amount of paper used in practice by digitising documents and patient records. We use the software to send text messages and email appointment reminders to patients rather than sending letters.

We are increasing the use of tablets in our practices so instead of using printed forms, patients use tablets to complete their documentation. We are launching initiatives for online booking, remote form filling and contactless payments meaning patients also spend less time at the reception desk completing administrative functions.

Additional measures

In a further effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we are installing LED lighting across the group as well as energy-saving light motion sensors that automatically turn lights on and off. Where possible, we buy our electricity from energy providers that use renewable sources.

We strive to cut down on unnecessary travel by our staff to save on fuel, time and travel costs while helping to reduce the carbon emissions and pollution associated with vehicle use. We do not supply company cars to our staff but we want to encourage the use of electric vehicles by way of free electric car charge points installed outside the group’s head office in Manchester.

Practice Green

Embedding sustainability into our practices is an ongoing process and is extremely important to us. In this respect, we welcome any support to move our green initiatives forward and find ways to measure our carbon footprint and assess the significance of actions we are taking.

As a long-time customer of Henry Schein Dental, we are interested to learn more about the company’s new environmental sustainability program, Practice Green. This new initiative is designed to encourage practitioners and practice teams to adopt a greener business approach and a shared commitment to environmental sustainability while continuing to provide high-quality patient care.

We are always looking for companies and manufacturers who share a mutual commitment to reduce the impact the dental industry has on the environment, and we are looking forward to working with Henry Schein and its Practice Green initiative in the coming months.

We hope to be able to understand more about the steps we can take to become more sustainable and to publicise what we are doing from a green frame work perspective. Working on initiatives such as this is an important step towards a greener future for all.

For more information about Practice Green, please visit