Startup-life comes with some pretty sweet perks. There are the free lunches, shuttle buses, and branded t-shirts. A lucky few may even work in offices equipped with nap pods.
But only in Silicon Valley will a truck bring a dental office to tech companies’ doors.
Studio Dental, founded in 2014, is the first dental office on wheels. The truck visits patients at work, making regular visits to tech companies like Google and Airbnb to provide employees services from teeth cleanings to wisdom teeth removals in the parking lot.
“Dentistry is in serious need of sprucing up — the industry is stigmatised as old, smelly, and often times scary,” cofounder and dentist Sara Creighton told Rock Health in a 2014 interview.
Creighton, who built her first practice while still in dental school, set out to create a dental office that would actually entice people to come in for a check-up. She thought about how she could incorporate technology and smart design, and teamed up with cofounder Lowell Caulder, an investment banker and a Harvard Business School dropout, to bring her vision to life.
Studio Dental fits on a 26-foot-long trailer bed and includes a waiting area, a sterilization room, and two patient stations. Once you step inside, you forget almost immediately that you’re in a truck. Cut-outs in the walls and wood cabinets create constellation-like patterns that draw the eyes upward — because really, don’t you hate looking at a plain stucco ceiling while you sit in a dental chair?
Televisions that stream Netflix also hang overhead.
The office may appeal to techies more than traditional dental offices, though it isn’t just for people who work in tech — patients book appointments online, receive email receipts after their visit, and view digital X-rays and impressions on the website.
According to the website, the company’s prices are in the 80th percentile of Bay Area dental practices. It accepts PPO plans from most insurance providers.
Studio Dental has over 25 corporate clients, including well-known tech companies Bot & Dolly, Dropbox, Jawbone, Twitter, and Square. CNN Money reported in 2015 that the business made about $1 million in its first year.
Crighton told Fast Company in 2015 that she hopes to add more trucks, more dentists, and more cities. Patients may some day be able to track a truck’s location and book appointments through an app — “like an Uber almost, so you can see which truck is near you,” Creighton said.
The “uberification” of dental care is officially here.
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