here are some ways we practice green dentistry
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
We are the first business in West Hartford to use a geothermal system for our heating and air conditioning. The ground absorbs nearly half of the solar energy our planet receives. As a result, the earth maintains a constant 54 degrees just below its surface all year round.
A geothermal system takes advantage of stable underground temperatures. A heat pump circulates water from underground wells below our rear parking lot to provide heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. This system is remarkably efficient and saves energy.
In addition, the heat given off from our geothermal pumps provides the hot water used in our office.
Incorporating Digital Technology
Electronic Patient Charts and Records
When practical, we have eliminated the use of paper. Patient forms, records, charts, treatment plans, ledgers, and notes are stored on our secure centralized server. We even use electronic patient recalls and reminders, virtually eliminating the use of postcards.
Each year the average dental office using traditional film based x-rays produces 28 million liters of toxic x-ray fixer and 4.8 million pieces of lead foil. Lead waste can end up in the topsoil and stay there for up to 2,000 years. Our use of digital imaging technology eliminates the need for lead foil and for the harmful chemicals and fixatives used to process x-rays. In addition, our patients are exposed to 90 percent less radiation with the use of digital imaging technology versus traditional x-rays for tooth imaging. Digital x-rays are not only healthier for patients, but also for the environment.
Elimination of Toxic Materials
- During the construction of our facility, low or no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) materials for all wallpaper adhesive, paints, vinyl, and carpets were used. Therefore, chemical and particle emissions exceeded acceptable indoor air quality standards.
- Natural stone countertops are installed throughout the office.
- When possible we use eco-friendly disinfectants that uphold hospital-grade cleanliness.
- Our eco-friendly bulk instrument sterilization process is a non-toxic infection control system that uses steam sterilization rather than a chemical-based process. Steam sterilization does not require ventilation for chemical vapors. Chemicals traditionally used in infection control and sterilization can be very harmful and hazardous to human health and the overall environment.
- Our Hydrim (an automated dishwasher-like machine) washes, rinses, and disinfects dental instruments with very small amounts of water.
Use of an Amalgam Separator
The World Health Organization reports that health care facilities, including dental offices, account for as much as 5% of total waste water mercury emissions. The EPA estimates that 50% of the mercury that ends up in treatment facilities originates from dental offices. We have installed special traps our sink drains and suction tubes to prevent amalgam from entering the plumbing system. Fine amalgam particles are filtered out of the water through a dry vacuum filtration system providing an environmentally sound disposal of old silver fillings. This system has dramatically decreased the release of mercury entering and contaminating our municipal water system.
Energy and Water Efficiency
- We use energy-efficient compact fluorescent and LED lighting, motion detectors, and energy saving computers and printers.
- Electronic timer systems and dusk-to-dawn sensors have been installed for our outside lighting, and for regulating the heating and cooling system for the office.
- Our on-site laundry facility has an energy-star washer and dryer to facilitate the use of cloth towels and gowns.
- Each year the average dental practice uses 57,000 gallons of water. For water conservation we use low-flow faucets, dental bowls, and toilets.
Use of Cotton Towels
- When feasible, cloth towels are used rather than paper towels for cleaning.
- Like a spa, we pamper our patients with cloth towels for hand drying in the bathroom and offer hot towels after procedures.
- We recycle cardboard, plastics, and paper.
- We collect and recycle ink and toner cartridges.
- Our broken and non-usable dental instruments are recycled.