Project reduces nitrous oxide emissions

A sustainability project at the University of London’s Eastman Dental Hospital has led to a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

“Back in October 2022, we decided to benchmark our carbon footprint at the Eastman Dental Hospital, to really understand what we were using nitrous oxide for," explained pediatric dentistry consultant Lexy Lyne, in an October 17 news post.

Led by dental sedation-trained nurses Monika Ozdoba and Petra Vassell, the investigators first identified the procedures associated with the highest nitrous usage, such as root canal treatments, for instance.

Next, by training dentists and dental nurses on how to deliver nitrous oxide effectively and encouraging the use of minimally invasive dentistry (which does not require sedation), the hospital reduced its carbon footprint from nitrous oxide by over 20% within just a few months, according to the university.

The team is now in the process of expanding the project nationally in partnership with the British Society of Pediatric Dentistry, with the long-term aim of producing practical guidance for other dental practices in the U.K., Lyne noted.

“My hope is that that all this work will ultimately feed into the next set of national guidance about nitrous oxide in anesthesia and we can have a separate section for dentistry,” she said.

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