From Netflix to virtual scans, dental startups now like to make the experience of having hands inside your mouth less bizarre.
Dental Service Of The Future
The dental industry is changing, shiny toothbrushes, pastes and floss have brought dental hygiene consciousness to customers. Consumer packaged goods were the first round: electric tooth toothbrushes, tooth paste, and Cocofloss. And the second wave is probably dental service.
One of the first pioneers in this sector is Smile Direct Club, the direct-to-consumer aligner business that did not have the rosiest public offering when it went public last month (its stock dropped 14 percent to date after debut). But this year it's still one of the best offers. The business views itself as being almost competitive and there are optimistic analysts. As the future of Smile Direct is brighter, the quality of a whiter smile is perceived by more investors.
Yet, everywhere, other dental services companies are emerging. There is Level, which functions solely as a dental benefit funded by the company, but operates like Tend from a New York storefront office. Some of these firms chose to work directly with employees rather than through a network of insurers, leaving the middle man out. There are remote dentistry start-ups like Lydian, with fixed offices in Texas and Arizona as well as 50-foot mobile offices coming to you. Henry, another high-tech dentist's office on wheels, Joffe's business partners with employers to take directly to the office cleanings and root canals.
Netflix In Your Dental Chair
Another dentistry startup Tend is launching its first site in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan. With $36 million in funding and executives from SoulCycle, One Health, and Smile Direct Club, Tend hopes to reinvent the office of the dentist and convince more people to care for their teeth. One thing that makes Tend interesting: patients can watch your favorite Netflix and HBO show while sitting on dental chair. Cool!
The aim of the experience is to help you feel comfortable. The receptionist must lead you to a room with four sinks covered in blue and green marbling before your appointment starts, like swishing mouthwash. You will have picked one of Tend's premium, direct-to-consumer toothpastes such as RiseWell, Hello, or Marvis by this time. They will then hand you a new Quip toothbrush and you will brush your teeth under the soft white glow of tube lights.
For access information, Tend has an online booking and a patient portal. Onboarding is also online and can be completed before your trip, the clipboard of papers you usually fill out while waiting for the beginning of your appointment.
Trying to be a dental tastemaker and bringing consumers to a limited range of dental products, such as Quip toothbrushes, differentiates Tend. There's a gleaming white wall of shelves behind the front desk and to the right where these items are featured prominently— like a little slice of the fast-growing industry trying to get into your mouth.
(Cover photo by Hellotend.com)