It turns out that reluctance in visiting the dentist isn’t just limited to children. According to a report from the American Dental Association, more than half of adults with private dental insurance haven’t visited the dentist in over a year.
Regular dental care helps avoid more serious and costly dental procedures down the road and can highlight potential conditions like cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
New Providence, New Jersey-based HENRY the Dentist was designed to overcome the general hesitance of going to the dentist by providing services using its fleet of RV-sized mobile practices to allow employees to get dental care at their worksite.
Since its launch in 2017, the startup has signed up more than 70 customers including major enterprises like Merck, ADP and Vonage.
The startup’s mobile practices have three chairs and can see 24 patients a day. HENRY works with its client to determine the length of stay and how many times the company returns throughout the year.
The 40-person company has been boosted with a $ 10 million in funding led by Forerunner Ventures to expand its service offerings across New Jersey and Pennsylvania and in metro areas like New York City and Atlanta. San Francisco-based Forerunner has backed a number of successful consumer brands including Warby Parker, Jet and Hotel Tonight.
HENRY CEO and co-founder Justin Joffe said the company was formed to update the staid image associated with dentistry and create a new Uber-like experience for patients. Joffe started the company with his wife Alex after seeing how the largely fragmented industry has failed to update its customer experience in line with other segments.
Mobile dental models have been around for a while, but Joffe pointed to his company’s differentiator as offering a full medical team as part of its mobile practice. Every HENRY mobile clinic includes a dentist, a dental assistant, two dental hygienists and one office manager.
Besides performing dental checkups, teeth cleanings and teeth whitenings, the mobile practice has the ability to fill crowns, custom fit night guards and even perform quick turnaround impressions and orthodontics work through its physical clinic.
The founding team’s experience building consumer brands has also helped them develop an updated and more comfortable experience for patients.
Instead of flipping through outdated magazines in the waiting room, patients make their appointments online and are greeted to a visit where they are outfitted with Bose headphones, have their choice of entertainment options and enjoy a massage-featured exam chair.
The company’s expansion is based around a hub-and-spoke model, with mobile clinics built around a physical brick-and-mortar location that provides enhanced specialty services and lab work. Currently the company has one physical practice in New Jersey, but is working on opening its second location in Pennsylvania.
HENRY dentists are salaried, which Joffe says incentivises clinicians to provide better and more preventive care. The company also works to ensure the same dental team is matched up with the same companies for greater continuity of care.
HENRY’s services are offered at no additional charge to its employer clients. By working with insurers like Aetna, Cigna Delta Dental – who are looking to boost utilization – the company ensures that its providers are in-network with major plans.
Ashley Thomas, a wellness coordinator at real estate company Realogy, helped institute HENRY’s services at a former employer and plans to do the same at her current company.
“My primary dentist’s office felt like it was stuck in the 1970s,” Thomas said. “HENRY felt shiny, clean, high-tech, convenient and 21st century. I mean, I don’t know many dentists offices that let you watch TV while getting your teeth cleaned.”
Thomas added that HENRY helped her team with the outreach necessary to get employees engaged with the mobile dentistry service.
Joffe said the company is hoping to build on its strong momentum into 2020, with a planned Series B funding round to fuel expansion into five more states. Joffe’s growth plan calls for a presence in 15 to 20 states in three years as the company looks to develop national relationships with its existing employer clients.
As it expands, Joffe said the company is experimenting with new delivery methods for its services, including HENRY in the Boardroom, which would bring clinicians directly into the office for scheduled practice hours.
“We works with these great brands and companies and they often have phenomenal dental plans,” Joffe said. “Everyone needs preventive care and we’re proud to build a company that increases access to care and improves the experience for both patients and providers.”
Picture: HENRY the Dentist