July 24, 2009 (CHICAGO, Ill.) (WLS) — If you were worried about going to the dentist, here’s one more reason to get that six-month check-up: it could be good for the environment.

A new dental office is billing itself as the first ‘green’ dental group in the nation. It’s not only designed using eco-friendly materials, but it’s also leading the way in practicing green health care.

Rather than tapping and scraping teeth to find cavities, a laser inside the Diagnodent tool uses fluorescent light to detect decay in its earliest stages. “You’re making smaller holes in teeth. You’re preventing teeth from turning into toothaches, less chair time for the patient. Some of these types of cavities, you don’t need to use anesthetic,” said Goran Kralj, DDS of the ORA® Dental Studio in Chicago’s South Loop.

At the ORA® Dental Studio, digital x-rays are the norm. Not only do they give a three-dimensional view, but over time, they can save upwards of 200 liters of toxic developing fluid from re-entering the water stream. There are also patient benefits. “It’s over 90 percent less radiation than traditional films,” said the ORA® Dental Studio’s Steven Koos, DDS, MD.

Other equipment helps eliminate medical waste from being dumped into landfills or incinerated — releasing toxins into the air. One machine pulverizes used needles. “We have a system where we actually generate zero bio-hazardous waste. We’re able to dispose of our bio-hazardous waste in such a way that it renders it non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-recognizable, and we can dispose of it in regular garbage,” Koos said.

ORA® is a mercury-free and metal-free practice. Even its business administration is green. It is a completely paperless office. “It’s part of the tenet of what’s good for the planet is good for the patient and vice versa, but it’s also equitable health care that’s available to everyone,” said Koos.

ORA® Dental Studio offers general and cosmetic dentistry, and ORA® Oral surgery. They have two locations, and a third is soon to open.