“Hi Ariel. Just a reminder of your upcoming dental appt tomorrow at 9:00am at Dropbox. Thank you!”
Getting a text reminder that my next dentist appointment is at the offices of one of San Francisco’s larger tech companies is strange, but in this case, not entirely unexpected. Studio Dental, a dentist’s office on wheels (or an Uber for your teeth, if you like), first grabbed attention this past fall when it launched an Indiegogo campaign to build a a 230-square-foot office on wheels that contains skylights, TV monitors, and headphones for patients, and 12-foot ceilings to make the whole space seem bigger than the relatively small trailer that it is. Now it’s a real thing, sitting in a parking space in front of Dropbox’s offices.
When I arrive at Studio Dental, I am struck by how compact it seems from the outside. Once I step inside, the office does indeed feel larger, thanks mainly to those high ceilings.
There isn’t really space for a waiting room, so I’m greeted by co-founder Lowell Caulder, a former investment banker, whose face is on a small screen built into the wall. Caulder, who is talking to me from a remote location, instructs me to fill out patient information on an iPad placed in a slot below the screen. Space maximization is clearly a priority.
Next, I’m shuffled through a narrow hallway to one of two partitioned-off patient spaces. There is a lot of wood paneling throughout.
Above the patient chair, a dual purpose flat-screen shows X-rays and offers an array of TV shows via Hulu for patients. Beyond that, Studio Dental offers a normal dentist experience. Sara Creighton, another co-founder, is the dentist.
The idea of sending doctors out in vans or trucks to reach patients where they are isn’t new. In rural areas, poorer urban areas, and in developing countries, doctors often arrive on wheels–either with equipment to take into patient homes, or with fully equipped offices that move around, much like Studio Dental.
At the very least, Studio Dental appears to be the first doctor’s office on wheels that caters to the tech crowd. For now, appointments in the trailer are limited to employees of partner companies, including Dropbox and Google. That will change eventually as Studio Dental grows, but at the moment, this is just one of the quirkier perks of working at tech companies where perks already run rampant.