What Makes a Dentist Green?
The Pacific Northwest shines with signs of spring – blooming trees, a long-awaited sun glinting on the Willamette River, and Mt. Hood’s white summit stark against a blue sky. With each season, it feels like there are scores of reasons to care for our environment. At Mint, however, we think about environmental stewardship and human health every day of the year. In fact, we actually built our dental practice on these concepts.
Our health depends on clean air, a robust ecology and a supply of fresh water. Eco-dentistry recognizes this connection with an approach that protects health – for both the planet and patients. This guiding principle made us the nation’s first dental practice to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum award – the highest honor for sustainable building and operations from the U.S. Green Building Council.
So how does eco-dentistry play out in the real world? What actually makes a dentist “green”? Here are important things to look for:
Practices that promote personal health for you, the doctors and staff
Every time you walk in the door, take a deep breath. Really. Our air is some of the cleanest indoor air around. We started with a state-of-the-art ventilation system that brings in fresh air and sports C02 sensors. Our paints, finishes and adhesives were chosen precisely to protect air quality. We don’t’ use latex gloves, which can release allergens into the air, and we spruce up the space with only natural cleaning products.
Measures that lessen environmental impacts
Energy production and use affect our land, air and global climate. We’re conserving energy with Energy Star appliances, highly efficient lighting, occupancy sensors and using renewable power from PGE. Even in the rainy Pacific Northwest, water is a precious resource. By using an alcohol hand rub in patient rooms, we were able to get rid of sinks and faucets in our treatment rooms. On a daily basis, this saves at least 360 paper towels and 90 gallons of water.
Strategies that protect our local community
Portland is big on recycling and so are we! Most of the materials in our office were locally manufactured with recycled content, or reclaimed and repurposed. The best alternative to recycling is not to generate materials in the first place. Digital radiography helps us reduce the need for film, chemicals and paper (i.e. save trees). What’s more, compared to standard X-rays our digital X-ray machine cuts your radiation exposure by to 85% to keep you well.
Spring is a great time for Oregonians to recognize and celebrate our beautiful and diverse ecology. We want you to know that, at Mint, we’re making decisions every day that protect your health, our community’s resources, and greater the environment.