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Dental Waste

Dental offices produce a variety of dangerous wastes during a normal business day. These wastes must be properly managed for clean water. Wastewater from a dental office is regulated through both dangerous-waste and water-quality rules.

Amalgam Separators are Required

All dentists are required to have an amalgam separator and to maintain it carefully to keep wastewater clean. This applies to offices on sewer lines and septic systems. Those on a septic system may only a use commercial system with a holding tank and should have it tested regularly for contamination.

Dentists can effectively manage dangerous waste following the information below:

Common Wastes in Dental Offices describes materials that can be dangerous waste.

Dental Amalgam Wastes offers dangerous waste guidance for dental professionals.

Choosing an Amalgam Separator offers guidance on this important topic.

Dangerous Wastes from X-Ray Operations describes how to manage the silver, lead, and hydroquinone wastes that photographic x-ray processes produce.

Silver Recovery Canisters for Used X-ray Fixer in Dental Offices discusses the maintenance and operation of these systems.

Cleaners/Disinfectants in Dental Offices discusses disinfectants, cleaning solutions, chemiclave solutions and cold sterilants and the safest options for flushing vacuum systems. Never bleach your vacuum system.

Sampling Dental Wastewater tells how to set up a device that allows the wastewater to be sampled before discharge to the sanitary sewer.

Best Management Practices for Dental Office Wastes is a downloadable Ecology publication that explains how dental offices should handle wastes.

Related information

Mercury - Dental Topic Hub at the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange offers ways for dental professionals to prevent pollution.

Dental Amalgam from the US Food and Drug Administration

Fact Sheet - Mercury Use in Dental Amalgam from the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC)