Dental Office Medical Waste Disposal

Medical Waste Disposal Services

Whether you are an independent dentist, a member of a dental
group, or an oral surgeon your dental practice produces many

types of regulated medical waste (RMW) also known as red bag waste.

How can Medical Waste of America (MWA) help my dental office with disposal and compliance?

MWA offers licensed and inspected waste disposal services in your area.  Whether it is Red Bag Waste, pathological regulated medical waste, or pharmaceutical, or trace chemo waste, MWA can transport and dispose of your waste properly and compliantly. 

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Dental practices also produce waste that is unique within the medical industry which may have to be handled as hazardous waste.

Some of the most common types of medical waste produced by a dental office includes:

  • Sharps, including syringes, needles, ortho wires, scalpels
  • Blood or saliva soaked materials
  • Extracted teeth with no amalgam
  • Anesthetic carpules with visible blood and/or broken
  • Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM)

Dental hazardous waste production can include but is not limited to:

  • Amalgam
  • Sterilizing chemicals and disinfectants
  • Old crowns
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Lead foil
  • Extracted teeth containing amalgam

How do I stay in compliance with Dental Medical Waste Disposal Regulations?

Your dental office is required to follow the same regulations as any hospital or medical facility and properly dispose of your RMW in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Transportation (DOT) and The Joint Commission (TJC) along with any laws imposed by the state in which you practice.

Dental practices should be cognizant of federal and state regulations when it comes to dental office waste. Separation and segregation is important, as some of the waste generated by a dental facility can be categorized as hazardous waste. You can access your state’s medical waste regulations by clicking here.  Whenever there is a doubt on the classification of the waste, adhere to federal guidelines or better yet contact your medical waste disposal company for proper guidance. Common hazardous dental office wastes, just like any other medical office, fall under the same requirements defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Medical Waste of America has a comprehensive, all-inclusive approach to disposal.  We are fully aware of all regulations and offer affordable, superior service customized to meet your needs.

How does a dental office dispose of amalgam?

First we need to understand what amalgam is, to better understand why it needs to be handled differently than other types of medical waste such as red bag waste.

According to the FDADental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients around the world.  Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid (elemental) mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight.  The chemical properties of elemental mercury allow it to react with and bind together the silver/copper/tin alloy particles to form an amalgam.

Mercury is toxic to humans, particularly fetuses, infants and children. It remains in the environment and can be absorbed when eating fish and shellfish. It is also considered a neurotoxin and can impair mental function.  In high doses, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

According to Environmental Protection Agency estimates, dental offices are responsible for 50 percent of the mercury entering the nation’s wastewater. As mentioned earlier, dental amalgam is approximately 50% mercury by weight, and research studies done in 2015 found that dental offices discharged about 4.4 tons of it annually.

Because of the toxicity of mercury and the amount of amalgam waste produced by dental offices, in recent years there has been more scrutiny placed on the proper disposal of dental amalgams.  The American Dental Association and the EPA released new guidelines and regulations in 2017, to address the handling and disposal of amalgam waste.  These new regulations require “most dental practices nationwide to install devices, called separators, to capture dental amalgam waste, preventing its release to sewer systems.” The new federal regulation requires that new dental offices must comply immediately and with few exceptions, the remainder of dental offices must be in compliance by July 14, 2020.

 

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