Even in San Francisco, a city known for creative thinking and innovation, Studio Dental is a fresh new idea. This general dentistry practice, founded by Dr. Sara Creighton and executive Lowell Caulder, is a mobile office that parks in different downtown locations so urban professionals can simply walk outside their offices and receive dental care in minutes. Studio Dental opened in June 2014 and now has 1,200 new patients. The concept came out of something Dr. Creighton noticed about her own friends in the Bay area — they wanted to go to the dentist, but often didn’t make time. She decided that one way to serve more people would be to make it easier for them to fit an appointment into their workday.
Studio Dental partners with corporations, parking outside their offices for a set period of time. They rent space on the city streets during the day, and the truck goes into storage each night. An e-mail is sent to employees with a private link where they can schedule appointments online. They pay by credit card using a Square Reader when the appointment is complete. It’s a whole new way of delivering dental care.
“Because we work with a single partner at a time,” said Dr. Creighton, “we have just one insurance to manage. We can give better estimates on benefits and the cost of appointments, which is usually difficult for dentists.”
Even though mobile health clinics are not new, building an upscale, sophisticated version that would appeal to tech-savvy professionals was a unique idea. Dr. Creighton had previously built a practice that was named the “world’s coolest office” in 2011 by Inc. magazine, so she knew the importance of design. She relied on the same architect to recreate a similar impact in the 230-square-foot truck while also accommodating dental equipment and technology.
Dr. Creighton worked with Henry Schein Field Sales Consultant Lisa Horn, Digital Technology Specialist Phil Koczwara and Equipment Sales Specialist Clayton Biederman who partnered with Lead Install Technician Mark Holmes in Los Angeles, where the trailer was built.
Big Impact in Small Footprint
Patients step from the sidewalk into a sleek, modern space that feels spacious and open. Ceilings soar to 12-feet high and are capped with skylights. Light-colored wood and black finishes are sleek and upscale, but warm.
In the compact waiting area, Mr. Caulder, who acts as a remote receptionist, greets patients via video chat. Patients check-in on an iPad and are welcomed back to one of two operatories separated by a central unit that stores equipment and a month’s worth of supplies while doubling as a privacy wall.
“Midmark Elevance chairs and delivery units were chosen for comfort and functionality, but also because they offered the most options for integration,” said Mr. Biederman. “The goal was to keep as much off the limited counter space as possible.” The doctor uses Gendex digital sensors, a NOMAD Pro 2 hand-held X-ray unit, intraoral cameras, and Cavitron ultrasonic scalers. To reduce reliance on water and electricity, Mr. Biederman recommended a dry vacuum, the Midmark PowerVac G; the compression unit is hidden smartly behind the waiting area wall. The sterilization area is also tucked into the nose of the trailer.
This office-on-wheels is hip, cool and offers a wide array of dental services, from exams and cleanings to fillings and even wisdom tooth extractions. Dr. Creighton and her associate see about 18 patients each day, many from such notable companies as Google, Dropbox and others. Most are back at their desks in an hour!