When harried employees of such Silicon Valley companies as Intuit, Netscape Communications, and Cisco Systems are choosing a dentist these days, they use simple criteria: Does the dentist have a) a valid license? b) modern equipment and techniques? c) collision insurance?
Turns out "Internet time" is at once increasing employee teeth gnashing--and diminishing their chances to treat it. So, three years ago dentist Arnold Keiles in Palo Alto, Calif., decided to go to the Web's warriors. He called Winnebago and ordered a custom-built "mobile dentistry unit" with all the latest gadgets, from digital X-rays to a Web-based appointment service. Keiles's company, On-Site Dental Care, now has six of these $325,000 mobile units, which hit a couple dozen companies each week and serve hundreds of high-tech employees.
Companies don't pay, per se--they just make sure On-Site accepts their dental plans and then allow the mobile units onto their sites. Backed by local investors, the entrepreneurial Keiles hopes to bring drive-by root canals to other high-tech centers within the next five years. Oh boy.