Almost everyone dreads visiting their office. They almost always try to have a conversation with you while your mouth is perpetually stuck open and all you can do is slightly nod your head or make indiscernible noises. But what you don’t know is that when your tooth is aching and the only possibility is removing it, dentists are garbage men in the medical waste world.
Your mouth is the gateway to your body and houses multiples diseases and bacteria. In between your gums and tissue there are potentially infectious materials. A dentist has to know how each item he uses not only needs to be sterilized but also properly disposed of. Before he even looks at your achy tooth every piece of equipment they may or may not use has to be sterilized to the highest standard. After they pull that achy tooth out, they then have to know how to properly dispose of it. Most patients do not want to keep the painful memento. This is where dentists shine as garbage men. Teeth can go a variety of places and it is the dentist’s responsibility to sort them accordingly. They can be taken to a licensed recycler specifically contracted for medical waste. If the patient had a filling in the past, that metal tooth cannot be incinerated because when the filling melts, harmful gasses could be released and potentially damage the environment as well as people. Aside from throwing them out or recycling, some extracted teeth are cleaned by the dentist, properly disinfected, and then turned into teaching aids for the next generation of dentist. Your tooth could even potentially be used to develop new methods of treating teeth.
So the next time you visit your dentist, after the novocaine starts to ware off, and they tell you to floss, know that they do not just care about how healthy your smile is; they also care about the environment and proper disposal of medical waste. You are in good hands, because your dentist is wise to the ways of recycling and properly disposing of your teeth, as well as anything else that comes through their office.