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The New Dentist

More Dentists Choosing to build "Green Offices"

In the summer of 2008, John Boice owner of Boice Engineering and Development Inc., based in Southern California, was paying $5.00 a gallon for gas on each of the 15 vehicles in his company’s fleet. He says that was his wake-up-call. Mr. Boice was going to do whatever it took to go “green” in his business and offer his clients the option of building entirely “green” offices.

Mr. Boice has designed and constructed several dental offices during his 15 years in business, and he says he has found that once he began offering the “green” building option, dentists were very interested in pursuing it. “Many dentists have heard of eco-friendly, but they don’t know much about the LEED program, which stands for Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED). That is the national benchmark for the design, construction, and operations of high performance green buildings. “ He notes that most dentists don’t realize how much they can do in designing a new office that is environmentally friendly and energy efficient. “But once we start talking about it and they understand how easily they can inCorporate it into the design of their offices, they are very interested in pursuing it,” notes Mr. Boice.

When helping a dentist establish a green office, this developer seeks to answer a few specific questions, beginning with location. Is the doctor considering space close to public transportation? Will there be a long-term lease agreement in which the doctor can stay in this particular office for a minimum of 10 years? Is there onsite recycling or is there enough stORA®ge to hold materials until they can be collected for recycling? And is there an area in the new office where the doctor can establish his/her own recycling system? In addition, Mr. Boice works with various vendors to help doctors establish paperless offices, inCorporate digital X-ray systems, purchase recycled furniture and cabinetry, and the list goes on.

In building “green” practices, Mr. Boice says that his company uses low viscosity paints, all waste is recycled, and nothing goes to the landfill. Recycled and renewable products are inCorporated into the building wherever they can be, including in the flooring and cabinetry. Energy efficient and natural lighting is used throughout the office as well as energy efficient HVAC systems, the computers have Energy Star ratings, and the restrooms are equipped with low-flow toilets.

Dr. Kendalyn Lutz-Craver, a 2003 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, built her first practice in 2007 in rural North Carolina. She was intent on ensuring that her new building would be LEED certified. “Once you have the design, you sit down with the architects and engineers and go through the checklist and you can be certified as silver, gold, or platinum. You go through the list and figure out what makes sense, what is doable, what is cost effective, and what’s going to give you the best return on your investment in your facility. It’s much easier to build a LEED certified practice today because that is the trend in building,” explains Dr. Lutz-Craver.

In addition to LEED certification, dentists can also pursue GreenDOC Dental Office Certification through the Eco-Dentistry Association (www.ecodentistry.org). The program provides standards for green dental offices, best practices, product recommendations, action plans to help establish green practices over time, as well as other services.

Susan Beck is director of the Eco-Dentistry Association. She explains that the organization was established to provide dental professionals with continuing education, practical tips, product suggestions, and standards for going green. According to the association, each year dental practices generate 4.8 million lead foils, 28 million liters of toxic X-ray fixer, 3.4 tons of mercury waste, 1.7 billion sterilization pouches, and 680 million chair barriers, light handle covers, and patient bibs. The green dentistry approach to practice reduces waste and pollution. Saves water, energy, and money, and inCorporates high tech equipment.

For Dr. Bridget Walsh, a 2003 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, when she and her sister, Dr. Megan Azar, a 2002 graduate of Temple University’s School of Dentistry, decided they were going to open their first practice, they knew they wanted to create an environmentally friendly practice.

"The summer before we moved into our new office, there were all these articles on the water quality in our community, (Clarks Summit, PA) and the concerns with all these emerging chemicals. We just felt we had a responsibility to consider our impact on the environment when we were setting up our office and in how we planned to practice. We used a natural linseed linoleum, which is known as Marmoleum. In the carpeted areas we used low VOC (volatile organic compounds) carpet that is recyclable. We used a no VOC paint and energy efficient lighting. Most of our paper products are post consumer recycled. We’ve tried to use preferred purchasing and consider the packaging when we order products as well as the timing. We place our supply orders only once a month so that everything comes together at one time. We’ve reduced the harmful chemicals that we use to clean and found effective alternatives for those. We also went with digital X-rays and digital charts.” She urges dentists to talk to their suppliers about product options. “When your reps know that green dentistry and eco-friendly practices are a priority for you, they will recommend products that have less impact on the environment,” explains Dr. Walsh.

Steven Koos is an MD and DDS who specializes in ORA® Oral and maxillofacial surgery in Chicago. His office, ORA® Surgery & Implant Studio, is the first completely green ORA® Oral surgery practice in the nation. “We carefully planned the construction of a green building on a sustainable site. We are members of the United States Green Building Council, and we built our practice in accordance with LEED. We utilized all green interior design finishes and textiles that are free of PBTs, which are persistent bio-accumulated toxins and VOCs. Many of the materials are made from post-industrial and post consumer waste. We also employ green business practices, which includes paperless charting, environmentally conscious purchasing, electronic claims, electronic reminders, and electronic recall.”

Dr. Koos notes that his practice also practices green health care, sustainable health care, and eco-friendly dentistry®. “We are the first dental office to produce zero bio-hazardous waste. Typically, companies are hired to haul that waste off and then it is incinerated and all those products’ harmful chemicals and toxins are released into the air. We process our bio-hazardous waste on site using a system called the Demolizer II. It renders the waste safe for disposal through the regular garbage. I would hope this is something that would be commonly used in any patient facility.”

Many dentists new to practice and those already established are very concerned about the environment and reducing waste. They are taking numerous steps in their own homes and when they realize what they can do in the design of their practices, they are very interested in going green. “This isn’t a fad. It is a necessary movement. The medical community has embraced this and it only makes sense that dental community follow suit,” emphasizes Dr. Koos.

Interested in learning more about going green and the LEED® Green Building System™? Visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s Web site at www.usgbc.org. If you’re considering building in the Southern California area and would like to know more about building “green” contact Boice Engineering and Development Inc. (951) 898-5850. And for more information on the Eco-Dentistry Association visit www.ecodentistry.org or call 510-841-1229.

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Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Jessica P. Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Koos and his team at ORA are incredible. It’s a shame he isn’t in a field where you would need to see him on a regular basis, because he is one of the best medical professionals i’ve ever experienced. He took his time to explain everything during the consultation, his team played some good [...]
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Cheryl S. Chicago, Illinois. I’m pleased to say they fixed the tooth. They worked to assure me they’ll continue to help; if any issues arise in the future. Let’s hope they’re aren’t any!
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Rahul L. Chicago, Illinois. As far as wisdom tooth extraction goes, I had an excellent experience with Dr. Schrotenboer. Understandably so, I was not looking forward to it, and had been putting it off for a while. The previous oral surgeon I consulted with was abrasive and impatient with my questions and it did nothing but increase my anxiety. [...]
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Zahra H. Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Koos was phenomenal. I had 1 consultation before him and wasn’t a big fan but Dr Koos won me over instantly as a loyal patient who has referred a couple people thus far. I had 4 impacted wisdom teeth and, while they were not causing pain, he sat with me and talked to me [...]
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Jessie B. Chicago, Illinois. I have been to Ora surgery twice- first to get a tooth extracted, and following to get a screw put in for an implant. I can’t say enough positive things about this place! The receptionists are all very friendly and informative. The decor, and ambiance of this place feels like a spa. Dr. Jason has [...]
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Victoria P. Chicago, Illinois. An incredibly gifted oral surgeon. Dr. Schrotenboer provided me with a thorough explanation both during my consultation and the day of my wisdom teeth extraction. He is patient and detailed when answering his patient’s questions, and definitely establishes trust with his patients. The staff and the office is the perfect environment you’d ever want to [...]
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Katie S. Chicago, Illinois. This has to be one of the best oral surgery offices in the city. I’m impressed with the design, staff and friendliness of the office (esp lily!). It was super easy to make an appointment too. Dr. Schrotenboer is very knowledgeable and easy to talk with. He put my mind at ease and was very [...]
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Olia D. Chicago, Illinois. The best Dental Experience I’ve ever had! I got 3 wisdom teeth removed. They used laughing gas for this procedure. It basically makes you feel like you can touch the sealing and it makes the whole going to sleep thing a lot easier! I had all for impacted get plenty of rest!
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Yaya M. Chicago, Illinois. First I have to start off by saying that DR. JASON SCHROTENBOER is hands down the best in his practice!!! I had been putting off getting my wisdom teeth pulled out for abt a year cuz I was terrified abt the entire procedure & the fact that I had to get 2 taken out scared [...]
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Chicago ? Caitlin M. Chicago, Illinois. I just had 2 of my wisdom teeth pulled here this morning. At 28 years old, I had been putting off this procedure for a looooong time. Had I known it would be so easy, I would have done it years ago! I wish every dental procedure was so good! I have nothing but positive [...]