The elephant in the operatory: Sustainability and the single-use mouthpiece

By Darina April 21, 2023

Happy Earth Day! Dentistry is not known as an environmentally-friendly field – disposable material that does not easily decompose, significant water use, and many other items that lead to an enormous amount of waste. But sustainability has always been a big priority for us, and based on many conversations with customers, we know it really matters to you, too. From the beginning, we have committed to radically improving the dental experience for patients and clinicians — while minimizing our footprint. 

This is really challenging. Balancing sustainability with patient safety is a constant tightrope, and we will always tilt toward the side of safety. 

That’s why today, we want to acknowledge the elephant in the operatory: How can we talk about sustainability while continuing to offer a single-use mouthpiece?


Climbing towards the summit

For us, sustainability is a journey. And we have our eyes on a lofty mountaintop: A plant-based, compostable, single-use mouthpiece that provides the lowest risk of cross-contamination and the smallest impact on the environment. 

We aren’t there yet. And realistically, we know it might take years. Until then, we’ll always be transparent about how our journey to sustainability is progressing. Here’s where we are today: 


1) We believe single-use mouthpieces are the current best option 

As of today, the Zyris Isolite® dental isolation systems work with a single-use mouthpiece made of soft polymer. 

Why not go the autoclavable route? Because we have not yet seen a way for autoclavable mouthpieces to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. Also, we know the staff time required to clean autoclavable mouthpieces every day is significant, and that time is costly. Especially given the staffing shortages so many dental practices are facing right now.

Ultimately, we want every patient to know they’re safe in a clinician’s chair. A brand new, perfectly clear mouthpiece delivers on that every time.


2) We’re working to develop a plant-based, compostable, single-use mouthpiece

Our product team is consistently working with our manufacturing partners and material providers to develop a plant-based, compostable, single-use mouthpiece that will provide the highest level of patient comfort and safety—at a cost that makes sense for our clinicians.

This is a tall order, and our research continues. But we’re determined to reach that mountaintop, and we know this product will be a game-changer once it arrives on the market.


3) We’re investing in plant-based materials across our product lines

As we continue to research compostable options for mouthpieces, we’re investing in plant-based and recyclable materials across our product lines. In fact, we’ll be introducing an exciting new plant-based product this year (stay tuned)!

Here are just a few of the steps we’ve taken on our path to environmental sustainability:

  • Using 100% plant-based and compostable trays, made from recycled sugar cane fiber, for our Zyris Isolite Core family of products — all delivered in a 100% recyclable box
  • Using 100% recyclable packaging for Zyris Isolite mouthpieces
  • Avoiding harsh chemicals and retaining organic designation for the Zyris Velop disinfectant line (along with a 100% recyclable box and bottle) 


Working together towards a more sustainable future

Keep your feedback coming! We’re working together to create the best tools for clinicians that leave the smallest footprint. 

We look forward to sharing more news on how Zyris products will continue to become more environmentally-friendly — and how we’ll help protect the health of your patients and our planet for years to come.