A Holistic Approach to Dentistry
Dr. Terry Victor, The DC Dentist, has hung out his shingle on Capitol Hill and is showing the neighborhood what eco-friendly dentistry means. With one of the first ecological dental practices on the East Coast, Victor is committed to taking care of both his patients and the environment by providing individualized care and by using recycled materials throughout his office. He hopes to lead by example, one patient at a time.
What Is an Eco-Friendly Dentist?
“I want to be in balance with how I see the world,” Victor explained when discussing why he spent the time and money to renovate his office to LEED-certified specifications. “We really need to tread lightly on the Earth,” he said. In addition to restoring the original terrazzo flooring and using ceiling tiles made from recycled plastic bottles, Victor installed a green roof and film on the windows that filters ultraviolet rays and cuts down on energy costs.
To minimize his practice’s impact on the environment Victor and his staff do not keep paper copies of patients’ records and instead rely on electronic records. He also pays for a service that uses an amalgam separator to prevent mercury from entering DC’s wastewater. “I use natural irrigators to kill bacteria,” Victor said, as well as an ultrasonic scaler, which is a machine that uses water and vibrations to remove built-up plaque on teeth. “The x-rays we use are digital to minimize exposure to radiation, which is especially important for expectant mothers and children,” said Viveka Bizzell-Palmer, Dr. Victor’s strategist, who also relies on him for her family’s dental care.
Caring for His Patients
“Dr. Victor sticks with you and spends time explaining each procedure,” according to Stephanie Brown of Silver Spring, who has been a patient of his for the past ten years. “He doesn’t rush you and makes sure the patient is comfortable,” even offering “reiki and aromatherapy.”
A graduate of Howard University College of Dentistry and a practicing dentist for nearly 15 years, Victor said his interests and passions led him to dentistry. “I like to work with my hands, I wanted to have my own business, I like to work with people, and I wanted to be in the health field,” Victor explained.
“He takes into account each patient’s individual needs and profile,” according to Bizzell-Palmer. “Dr. Victor asks himself what he can do to give each patient the best experience that is as natural as possible.” “My aim is to always treat the patient with the utmost care, dignity, and respect,” said Victor, adding “We want to make patients feel they are coming into our home.” Victor’s “home” is on 11th Street across from Frager’s, and the space capitalizes on all available light with a picture window in the front of the building, several skylights throughout the office, and walls painted a calming, light sage green.
A Holistic Approach
“I see my patients’ care in relation to their overall care,” said Victor, adding that what he does “has to have a non-toxic effect on the rest of the body.” “The things we do in dentistry will stay in a patient’s mouth 24/7. You need to make sure that whatever you’re doing for that patient won’t have an adverse effect over time,” he noted. Therefore, he uses bio-compatible materials in all his procedures.
“Some of my best patients are my little ones,” Victor explained, and added, “Treat them well, tell them what you’re doing and make it interesting for them.” While most of the children he treats “like coming to the dentist,” Victor acknowledges that some adults fear dentists. To lessen their anxiety he offers apprehensive patients sedatives to take the night before an appointment.
Giving Back to the Hill
“I wanted to be on the Hill because [residents] will appreciate the eco-friendly, holistic approach,” Victor explained. He also acknowledged that Hill residents tend to be very busy; therefore his practice offers patients the opportunity to schedule their own routine appointments and to ask dental questions via Skype.
In addition to making the latest dental innovations available to Baby Boomers, Victor said he’d like to work with children in the neighborhood.” “We’ll start targeting some schools and let them know that we’re here.” The DC Dentist will offer a post-Halloween candy buy-back and will host an Earth Day and Arbor Day event at their office on Sunday, April 21. During this event The DC Dentist will provide plantings for children who stop by the office, collect toothbrushes to recycle, and give out new toothbrushes. They will also hold a workshop for children and their parents that will teach children how to be socially responsible by recycling toothbrushes and using toxin-free, environmentally safe products.
For more information on The DC Dentist call 202-544-3626 or visit www.thedcdentist.com.
Ellen Boomer is an Eastern Market resident, former teacher, current tutor, and freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.