All Points Medical Waste Blog

How to Manage Medical Waste in my Dental Practice

5 tips to help ensure you’re compliant

If your dental office is like most, you have numerous patients coming in daily for a variety of procedures and treatments. It’s also likely that your practice generates a substantial amount of waste—some of which can be considered hazardous. Because of this, it’s crucial that you are aware of how to dispose of your medical waste properly, not only to keep your patients and your staff safe, but also to protect yourself from non-compliance. Here are 5 tips to on safe and proper disposal of the most common types of dental waste:

1. Treat mercury amalgam as hazardous waste

Dental amalgam has been used for more than 100 years to fill in cavities and although it exists in millions of mouths across the world, the fact that it contains mercury means it must be handled properly when removed. Mercury amalgam waste should never be thrown into the garbage or into a sharps container, the mercury can be toxic to the water supply, the environment and to people.

2. Waste that contains blood should be put into approved waste bags

Gauze, cotton balls, gloves and other items that contain blood and other bodily fluids are common in dental practices. Because these substances can contain pathogens or other infectious materials, they must be placed in a leak-proof and puncture-resistant medical waste bag and disposed of by a waste professional.

3. Sharps must be disposed of in the proper container and in a safe location

Everyone understands the danger of sharps—they can prick or stick someone if they accidentally come in contact with them. And because they can also contain medicine or substances after use, it’s important to dispose of them properly. Every dental practice should have the appropriate number of sharps containers and each one must be placed in the correct location; never under a sink, near a light switch or in high-traffic areas.

4. Disinfectants and sterilizers can be considered hazardous waste

Although they may seem fairly innocuous, many chemicals used to sterilize and disinfect dental equipment are federally regulated and can be hazardous to the environment. Be sure you are aware of what you are using and any state or federal mandates that guide how you should dispose of these substances. Never flush any chemical down the toilet or pour into the sink drain.

5. Waste containing lead should be managed by a licensed, certified disposal provider

The more we learn about lead, the more we understand its dangers and risks to people, animals and the environment. X-ray packets and lead aprons contain lead foil that can contaminate soil and groundwater. Be sure to partner with a reputable medical waste provider to ensure that any lead waste is managed properly.

To remain compliant and protect your practice, staff and patients, work with an experienced medical waste disposal company.

All Points Medical Waste provides medical waste disposal services to dentists, doctors, treatment centers, surgical centers, veterinarian practices and other related facilities.

Give us a call today or fill out our quote request form to get more information.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Medical Waste. All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated medical waste disposal and compliance company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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