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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

A Green Practice Produces Pearly Whites

Dec 04, 2014 11:42PM
by Robin Fillmore There is nothing halfway about Dr. Terry Victor, known throughout the community as The DC Dentist. In addition to seeing patients full-time and maintaining a monthly commitment to additional training in his field of holistic and biological dentistry, Victor is committed to generating practices that are good for business as well as the planet. When Victor and his staff decided to relocate his thriving practice to the Eastern Market neighborhood, the opportunity was presented to create something completely new. As construction began in 2011, there were no other dental practices that were working in a “green” office anywhere in the Eastern United States. Working hand-in-hand with a LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) architect and designer, every component of the building that could be substituted with a more-sustainable alternative, was chosen. Even the topic of waste was considered and features of the building were maintained so as not to add more to area landfills. The building which houses Victor’s practice, which has been home to a number of different businesses over the years, is now decked out from floor to roof with the latest in green building materials. Starting on the ground level, the carpeting is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials and the refurbished terrazzo flooring in the rest of the building is original. The decision to maintain the original flooring rather than replace it was one of the first acts of recycling. All the paint used in construction is non-volative organic compounds (no VOCs), thereby reducing the level of “interior pollution”. Throughout the building, there are skylights to bring in the natural light and when bulbs are necessary, only high efficiency bulbs are used. A ductless heating and cooling system is used that offers lower utility bills. The crowning glory of the building is the green roof, where plants absorb the rainwater and lessen the drainage into the sewers. The next step, according to Victor, is to design a solar energy system for the portion of the roof not planted, thereby reducing the practice’s carbon footprint even further. The milestone will be reached by the summer, according to plans. The manner in which Victor and his staff run the practice is similarly thoughtful. The office is completely paperless, with all patient charts held electronically. Even the special X-Ray machines, selected because they emit the lowest radiation possible, are read electronically to reduce the waste generated by traditional machines. Victor’s impetus to provide a green work space complements his philosophy for providing his patients with a holistic health experience. As he notes, “The inside and the outside—they go hand in hand. We try to have a good nontoxic environment and a nontoxic environment in our patients’ mouths, so they can have the healthiest body possible.” Since opening the building in May 2012, several other dentists have shown interest in learning from the experiences of Victor and his staff. Patients, too, have shown great interest in the green practices in the building and seek him out because of this added commitment to healthy living and sustainability. Some even request a tour of the building, which his staff is happy to provide. As a member of Green America, his reputation, both as an excellent dentist and as a supporter of green building practices, within the community is growing. Named as the Best Dentist in 2014 by the D.C. City Paper, The DC Dentist is changing not only the lives of his patients but also the field of dentistry by providing an example of the opportunities that dentists can explore in developing green buildings.   For more info about Dr. Victor, visit


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