Our Green Office
The term “green building” has become popular for describing a people- and planet-friendly space. The concept was a factor in every decision we made for our new office – from selecting the location to construction choices to planning our move. It guides our maintenance and management choices every day.
Our ideal: a balance of “patient-friendly” and “planet-friendly,” “high touch” and “high tech.”
Every treatment room features huge windows with a terraced view of classic, East Texas woods. These windows are energy-efficient, double-paned glass with an added film coating.
Our air conditioning uses a zoned, maximum energy-efficient system with ducted return air and insulation on the outside of the oil-free metal ducts.
With respect for our chemically and scent sensitive, we ask that patients minimize the use of fragrances when visiting our office.
In search of polyurethane–free flooring for the reception and treatment rooms, we went from wood to bamboo to Travertine to ceramic to dirt…and delightfully ended up with porcelain. For the lab, we chose marmoleum, which is fully biodegradable and naturally inhibits bacterial growth.
Both drinking water and the water we use during treatment is from Mountain Valley Spring Water stored in glass.
Amalgam-separators in our plumbing collect the mercury waste too often associated with dental office drainage.
Other features include:
Minimized radiation exposure with digital intraoral and panoramic x-rays. By going 100% digital, we also lost the paper, lead foil and developing fluids associated with traditional film.
Color-corrected, super-efficient fluorescent lighting in treatment areas. We started using them 30 years ago to get the best shade matches and safely dispose of spent bulbs at the Home Depot drop-off.
Paint with no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). It cost more but eliminated the new paint “smell” and will reduce toxins for years to come.
Stationery made from recycled materials, less paper due to wise use of computers, “green” cleaning products and Energy-Star appliances.
Our Clean Office
Six Stage Air Filtration
Clean water (Mountain Valley Spring Water)
Rising naturally from a spring in the Ouachita mountains, Mountain Valley spring water filters through granite-based aquifers collecting all the goodness from the land. The water is sodium-free with a naturally balanced pH and rich blend of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Mountain Valley premium spring water is bottled in glass to preserve the quality and taste. <- link
Treatment Room Sanitation
The first step is always PPE: Personal Protective Equipment. This means wearing task-oriented gloves, masks, eyewear and lab coats, as appropriate.
After each procedure, the contaminated instruments are gathered and placed in a cassette (closed instrument tray) to go to the sterilization lab.
All biohazardous waste is placed in biohazardous waste containers.
All protective barriers – from light handles, x-ray units, knobs, equipment panels, computer keyboards and so on – are removed and placed in the trash.
Air/water syringe tips and dental burs used during procedures are taken to the sterilization lab to be autoclaved (cleaned by high pressure saturated steam).
Air/water and handpiece lines are flushed with ozonated water, 30 seconds each.
All surfaces are sprayed and disinfected with Cavicide for 5 minutes to eliminate surface pathogens.
Gloves are removed, hands washed, then new gloves placed, and new protective barriers are placed for the next patient.
Instrument Sterilization Process
As above, our staff wears PPE, as appropriate.
The cassette of used instruments is taken to the sterilization lab and placed in an ultrasonic cleaner for 15 minutes of hands-free scrubbing.
The cassette is rinsed for 3 minutes in cold water, then placed in a drying unit for 5 minutes.
The cassette is opened and inspected. If all is in order, the cassette is placed in a sterile wrap, sealed and labeled.
The cassette is autoclaved in a 1 hour, 3 step sterilization process. After it has been sterilized and is cool to touch, it is placed in a sterile cabinet until needed. Color-changing tape on the cassette serves as a monitor of its successful sterilization.
A Biological Monitoring System is performed once a week on each autoclave, using bacterial spore test strips to monitor steam, dry heat, chemical vapor and ethylene oxide gas sterilization processes.