Eco-friendly Dentistry – Not a matter of choice anymore – Dr Ayyaz Ali Khan

Karachi: The second day of the congress began with an address by Dr. Oliver Hennedige from the Asia Pacific Dental Federation (APDF), who congratulated the PDA for the successful organization of this congress. He invited the delegates of the congress to attend the next Asia Pacific Dental Congress (APDC)  being organized in Singapore during April 2015.
Dr Oliver informed the audience about a special contest being orchestrated by the APDF to select some outstanding Orators and Workshop organizers from the Pakistani dental fraternity. The selected speakers will be further trained and groomed by the APDF to speak at Dental events all over the world, as a part of the APDF panel of experts, thus gaining global fame. All leading dentists of Pakistan can participate and compete in this valuable contest for proving their mettle and getting selected for global exposure.
A session was organized by the ORAL DISEASES COMMISSION, which began with a lecture by Dr. John Issak – one of the most senior dentist in Pakistan with a Masters degree from the UK. The topic of his lecture was; “Frequently misdiagnosed and mismanaged Lesions” in dentistry. He discussed a variety of lesions and ulcers that may appear to be cancerous but are actually benign and caused by Syphillis, Tuberculosis or other diseases in the mouth. He also highlighted the special care needed to plan the treatment of such ulcers, especially in diabetic patients. His key message was that; We need to educate our students, dentists and general practitioners about diagnosing and managing such lesions.
The next speaker in the Oral Disease Session was Dr. Max Tseng – an Orthodontist from Taiwan. The topic of his presentation was “Orthodontic problems in Asia Pacific Region”. He highlighted the “Price of a beautiful smile”, stating that Braces may cause problems like; Caries, Gum problems, Root Resorption, TMD joints, Retention or conflict results. The patient must be given “Oral Hygiene Instructions” before treatment, as cavities may cause problems and in many cases Floridation may be required. Dr Max advised that a Vibrating tooth brush is more effective than a rotating toothbrush. He also discussed other critical topics like; Dental Sealing, Bone grafting, Gingiva Graft before the braces and rood angulation.
He stated that the patient’s physical status, emotional status or Occlusions may also cause such problems. He added that 80% of our population is affected by Facial Asymmetry. He advised the dentists to consider stability before treatment planning, by using the suitable kind of retainers. He further discussed the innovative Vacuum-formed Retainers. To avoid problems in treatment he suggested solutions like; Good initial record, Analysis, options of TP, consultations and decisions of TX.
The second speaker in the Oral Diseases Commission was Dr Riaz Qureshi – a senior dentist from the United Kingdom. The topic of his lecture was; “Oral Surgery – Burning issues in Pakistan and the underdeveloped countries of Asia Pacific”.
He stated that inadequate dental care and malnutrition may cause problems like; Yellow eyes and lifeless faces, which has a higher incidence than HIV, in the Asia Pacific countries. He advised the dentists; not to restrict themselves to the teeth treatment alone. Paan, Chaalia and Gutka were also highlighted as major triggers of mouth disease and Aspiration Pneumonia in south Asian countries. Another problem is of Poverty and especially  Mental Poverty, which leaves reproduction as the only entertainment for the poor segments. Anemia also aggravates or causes Oral Cancer, which may also be triggered by Trauma on the chin. Malformations of the face, unmanaged tumors, Malocclusions, etc. are also causing problems in the region.
At the end of this session Dr Oliver Henedige from the APDF presented the memento Shields to the speakers.
The second session of the day was on “Dental Public Health”, moderated by the famous dentist – Dr Anwar Saeed, who is the Chairman of Dental Public Health at APDF. He urged that the Earth’s ecology and environment should be preserved for the wellbeing and survival of the future generations.
The highlight of this session was the lecture on “Green Dentistry” by the iconic dentist and research scholar of Pakistan – Dr Ayyaz Ali Khan, who is a PhD in Epidemiology and has worked extensively on research for Global Organizations like; WHO. The main topic of his presentation was: “Eco-Friendly Dentistry – Not a matter of Choice anymore”.
Dr. Ayyaz began his discussion with a question posed to the audience; “Why do we choose to become dentists?” The responses from the dentists included; Shorter course, More money, Interesting field, Rejection from MBBS admissions, More scope and solid career, or Parents’ wish.
Dr Ayyaz said; A majority of dentists fails to recognize that we can make a difference and create an impact on society, while alleviating the pain of the patients. In Islamabad, 90 percent of the dentists are afraid of using Amalgam as it is suspected to deplete the Ozone layer and damage the environment, causing various severe ailments among the dentists and the masses on the whole. It has high Carbon dioxide emissions and Pollution, which has triggered Climatic changes. So, being humans and responsible professionals, it is the duty of the dentist to save the planet. Green Dentistry is no more a choice that we have. It is our duty now.
He highlighted some alarming facts, relating to the Annual environmental impact of dentistry on the global eco-system. Dental practices produce massive amounts of toxic and non toxic waste materials, like; 680 million disposable plastic barriers, 1.7 billion sterile pouches, 28 million litres of fixers, 4.8 million lead foils.3.7 million tons of amalgam waste and billions of litres of waste water. Other pollutants and environmental hazards at the Dental practices include; Dental lights, electricity consumption, paints, air-compressors, etc. All this contributes to the larger carbon footprint of the area we work in. According to studies, dentists cause 400 times more hazards to the environment than the other professions.
We understand that it is not possible for us to go-green immediately, but it is a gradual process which we need to immediately start working on. Dr Ayyaz also highlighted various measures to make dental practices more environment friendly. Dentists can reduce paper usage by relying on Electronic mails. Digital X-rays can help reduce the use of Xray materials. Waste disposal is a serious issue.
Some eco-friendly recommendations include;  Sterilization and reuse of stainless steel instruments and use of Towel barriers, Autoclave bags, Dry vacuum pumps, bio-degradable sundries, LCD display screens, organic paints, etc. Recycling programmes are also available in many large cities of Pakistan. Higher technology products are mostly designed to help save the environment. The basic formula is to; Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as a way of life.
The other speakers delivering insightful presentations during the session on “Green Dentistry” were; Dr Ashar Afaq from Dow University of Health Sciences, who deliberated on; “Waste handling in Dentistry”, and Dr Marium Azfar from the Sir Syed Dental College, with her topic; “Hi-Tech innovations in Dentistry”. Professor Syed Mumtaz from the Baqai Dental College discussed the topic; “Save Energy, Water and Money”, while Dr Kulsoom Fatima Rizvi from Bahria University’s Medical and Dental Section, deliberated on; Lifestyle and dentistry”.
At the end of this session; leading dentists like; The President of PDA- Dr Saqib Rasheed, Dr Mehmood Shah, Dr Asif Arain and Dr Kashif Naqvi distributed the memento shields among the speakers of the session.
This session was followed by another session on Patient Management Prosthodontics, organized by the Pakistan Prosthodontics Association, featuring numerous learned dental experts, academicians and speakers like; Professor Dr. (Col) Azad Ali Azad from Armed Forces Institute of Dentistry and Dr Najeeb Saad – the HOD Dentistry at AKUH.
January 24, 2015

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