What’s in One Dentist’s Bag for House Calls
How Dr. David Blende Packs for Visits to Patients in San Francisco and New York
ByErin Geiger Smith
Feb. 3, 2014 7:02 p.m. ET
Many people dread a trip to the dentist. In the case of David Blende, the dentist—and the necessary dental gear—can come to you.
The Blende Dental Group has offices in San Francisco and Manhattan, but Dr. Blende and his team of dentists began offering in-home treatment in the Bay Area about five years ago.
They also make home visits throughout New York City for everything from routine exams to root canals.
At-home patients range from people unable to leave their homes to people who just prefer concierge dentistry.
Dr. Blende says his clients include venture capitalists, musicians and technology executives like one in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood who recently wanted his teeth cleaned and bleached after he put his children to bed.
Dr. Blende’s office uses a small van in California, but he usually takes cabs to house calls in New York.
Joining him in the taxi is a black Solo roller bag and a small, toolbox-shaped case with the tools and accessories he needs to conduct an initial exam.
Dr. Blende strives to “recreate the dental office” in the home, he says, adding that just because he brings the treatment to the patient doesn’t mean any corners can be cut on either sterilization or the standard of care.
He arrives in his street clothes and changes into a doctor’s gown, latex-free gloves, mask and “high-powered binocular glasses with their own light source,” Dr. Blende says.
He also takes along a laptop with a touch screen. “Most house calls we take X-rays, and have images on our computer screen instantly. We also have a little pencil-like camera, which creates streaming video and captures photographs instantly.”
The Nomad X-ray machine “looks a bit like an old-fashioned Buck Rogers ray gun,” Dr. Blende says. It weighs about 8 pounds and cost the office approximately $8,000.
Should a patient need more invasive work, Dr. Blende has a second rolling case that serves as a self-contained portable dental unit. It includes its own water storage, filled with sterile water, and a dental drill with a light that shines on the tooth.
This more extensive kit allowed Dr. Blende to perform two root canals and six crown procedures on a homebound Upper East Side dweller recently.
Regardless of the dental work needed, Dr. Blende’s at-home patients don’t have to forgo the end-of-visit dental swag. For elderly patients, the dentist brings along samples of prescription toothpaste and prescription mouthwash. For other patients, the prize might be an electric toothbrush.
Dr. Blende’s bag also includes the proper disposable containers to make sure any medical waste leaves the house with him. He says he aims to leave the homes he visits cleaner than when he arrived.
“Kind of like the Boy Scouts,” he says.