By Maxwell Rotbart
Dentistry has joined the ranks of pizza makers, grocers, and office suppliers as a business that offers at-your-door service.
Meet HENRY The Dentist, one of an expanding number of nationwide startups that are providing patients the convenience of on-site mobile dentistry.
Founded in 2017 by Justin Joffe, a Harvard Business School graduate who has spearheaded several other entrepreneurial ventures, HENRY uses state-of-the-art mobile dental clinics – basically refitted RVs – to provide hour-long dental services so that employees can use their in-network benefits without having to take paid time off to commute to their dentist’s office.
The mobile clinics, three of which are currently in service in New Jersey, are well-lit, comfortable, and patient-friendly; including massage chairs and television screens that show Netflix and HBO programming for in-the-chair entertainment.
$10 Million Startup Capital
According to CrunchBase, which categorizes HENRY The Dentist as an early stage venture, the privately held company has had two initial rounds of funding, raising $10 million.
In addition to Joffe, the CEO, the company is led by Jeffrey Rappaport, DDS, its dental director, who is a 2008 graduate of New York University’s College of Dentistry. Dr. Rappaport is involved with several other dental-related ventures, including quip, Afora, and LAVAAN.
HENRY The Dentist looks to the human resources departments of large employers to schedule the mobile clinics and ensure integration with each company’s PPO plan. Employees are able to receive on-site dental services, including cleanings, exams, x-rays, fillings, crowns, whitening, and Invisalign. The company has its administrative offices in New Providence, New Jersey, where it also treats patients who require more attention than the mobile clinics can provide.
“HENRY The Dentist is for dentistry what Uber is for taxis, Warby Parker is for eyeglasses and Amazon is for commerce,” according to the testimonial provided by “Caroline L.” on the company’s website. “A disruptor that’s completely changing the game and fully improving the consumer experience. I got a checkup one day and fixed two cavities day two. The practice is really chic, clean and extremely convenient (I was back to my desk within an hour both times.)”
HENRY, whose mobile clinics provide service to the entire state of New Jersey, is looking to expand soon to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The Travel Burden
The business case for HENRY is compelling.
As the company notes on its website, a 2017 CDC report found that “36% of Americans with dental insurance have not gone to the dentist in over one year.”
Particularly in major urban centers, HENRY believes that many people don’t visit a dentist because of the “travel burden.”
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau, as cited by NPR, shows that residents of the New York metropolitan area (including Newark) spend an average of 37 minutes each day in a one-way commute to work - among the longest travel times in the nation. Commuting to work, then driving back-and-forth to the dentist, then commuting home at the end of the day is off-putting to many patients, who simply skip routine dental appointments.
HENRY’s goal is to eliminate the extra travel time.
Other Mobile Dental Clinics
It should be noted that HENRY isn’t the only mobile dental clinic in America, although for now, it appears to be the largest for-profit enterprise targeting business clients.
Smile Programs provides mobile dentistry to public school districts in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, among other parts of the United States. It notes on its website that their services are offered “at no cost to parents.”
Caring Mobile Dental brings dental services to “seniors and special needs individuals” in Denver and Colorado Springs.
Complete Mobile Dentistry – with mobile dentist clinics in 18 states, as well as the Virgin Islands and American Samoa – is contracted by Logistics Health Incorporated to provide care to members of the United States Armed Services.
These clinics, together with HENRY, and others entering the marketplace throughout the United States, are reshaping the nation’s dental industry by providing convenient care to Americans of all walks of life.
Author: Contributing writer Maxwell Rotbart specializes in covering business, education, and history-related topics. He is the author of The State of Israel: Prime Ministers, available from Amazon.com.
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