Blog : Green Story: Newmarket Dental Sets Green Trends in Unlikely Industry

By Corey | May 19, 2015 | in

Every Green Alliance business undergoes a Sustainability Certification. This certification serves to show everyone what each business has accomplished and what they are still working to accomplish when it comes to green business practices. The final part of the evaluation is the Green Story. You can read the full certification documents for all of our business partners on their indivdual pages. Check out Newmarket Dental's Green Story below.

Describing how he came to be a “green dentist,” Dr. Nathan Swanson’s analogy is, for a lack of a better term, quite cinematic: “I started noticing how much garbage was piling up in the back of the medical complex just between a few offices,” Swanson explains. “And then I multiplied that out by the fact that there are 5 similar complexes in the city of Exeter alone. Then I multiplied that out by how many there were in the state, the country, the world. Basically it was like one of those scenes in the movie where the camera pans out Google Earth-style super far and you recognize and appreciate the true scope of the scene.”

For Swanson, who owns and runs Newmarket Dental in downtown Newmarket, the issue of waste was the first – and in some ways the easiest – step in becoming a truly green dentist. From here he began looking at the actual tools of the trade; the toothbrushes, floss, seat covers, and other dental ephemera familiar to most. He replaced the old toothbrushes with ones that are 100% recyclable and biodegradable (from recycled Stonyfield yogurt cups); switched from plastic seat covers – used dry cleaning bags at one point – to corn-based slipcovers; bid adieu to run-of-the-mill plastic cups in lieu of corn-based cups; and even switched to a dental floss whose container was recyclable. From here Dr. Swanson plans on exploring and hopefully soon incorporating larger, more significant changes, including a complete renovation of Newmarket Dental’s office, switching to materials that received the highest environmental ratings. At the time of Newmarket Dental’s last Sustainability Evaluation (2010) Dr. Nate’s green dreams were “ to take over an old mill building space or warehouse, and literally do everything possible in the greenest, most sustainable manner possible – from the toothbrushes and seat covers to the envelope of the building itself.” He has never lost sight of that, and has done everything in the past five years to fulfill those goals.

Of course, the folks at Newmarket Dental do all of the little things too: recycling paper and toner cartridges, shutting off all lights and equipment at night and over weekends – even using the sheets of paper used to transport the steel dental tools to write notes on after they’re used. In short, Newmarket Dental is the perfect example of a business setting trends in an industry which hasn’t exactly been readily associated with “going green”.

Beyond the simpler tools of the trade, Dr. Nate has a grander vision for making the bigger-ticket items of his office more green, efficient, and sustainable. Since the move to the new, renovated office, Newmarket Dental has switched to natural gas for heating; and consulted with Aucella Heating and Cooling to improve the efficiency of the heating system in their rented space. They’ve switched from paper medical charts to completely digital, and patients fill out paperwork on an iPad, eliminating Newmarket Dental’s paper usage.

Dr. Nate donates extensively – clothing, canned goods, toothbrushes and other dental supplies, etc. – to a Dover food pantry. While moving offices in 2014, all usable furniture and office supplies were sold at tag price, and the proceeds were donated to a nonprofit dental organization, Families First Dental located in Portsmouth. He also prides his entire business on providing a beneficial, and, quite frankly, novel service: dentistry you can afford. Dr. Nate doesn’t “upsell” on his services, meaning he only acknowledges and recommends services and procedures he deems necessary. Dr. Nate has also served as President of the Southeast New Hampshire Dental Society, a branch of the national American Dental Association, and is currently the Vice President of Newmarket Business Association as well as the Seacoast region Trustee to the New Hampshire Dental Society.

Green Dreams: Dr. Nate’s dream is continue to push the envelope for green businesses within the medical field. While Newmarket Dental’s sustainability efforts have far surpassed many of their competitors, Dr. Nate is always educating himself to ensure that what the practice is doing is both the greenest and provides the patient with the best experience possible. Dr. Nate would love to purchase a space and make it as green as they come, complete with solar panels.

To learn more about Newmarket Dental, check out their Green Alliance page here!