DALLAS — A mobile dentistry operating out of a unique tiny house is turning heads in Downtown Dallas.
If you’ve seen Nomad Dental, owned and operated by 29-year-old Dr. Anna Cowdin, it definitely makes you do a double take.
Mobile dentistry isn’t new, oftentimes traveling dentist offices go to schools or retirement homes to work with people who need dental care but can’t make it to an actual dentist.
Cowdin, who recently earned her DMD from Roseman University of Health Sciences in April, got a bright idea along those lines—offer spontaneous appointments to people working in Downtown Dallas who don’t have time to drive to a dental appointment during their workday.
The idea is for people to be able to walk out of their jobs and get a quick exam or cleaning. But Cowdin also does crowns, x-rays, implants, bridges, dentures, and anything else normally offered by your average dentist.
“I wanted to make it more convenient, and I wanted to come to them,” Cowdin said. “Healthcare is really inaccessible for a lot of people, and the working hours conflict with the same hours that doctors and dentists are seeing patients.”
Cowdin’s operation is regulated by the state, and it’s pretty impressive. Her office has three chairs to treat patients, TV’s, phone chargers, and it’s solar powered too.
“If there’s a cloudy day we have a generator that flips on, and there’s no interruption to services,” Cowdin said.
Believe it or not, Cowdin said constructing a mobile dentistry is cheaper than renting space. She says her tiny house cost about $250,000. Compare that to average costs startup and leasing costs for a dental office which hovers between $600,000 to $1 million.
“We try to keep our overhead low which helps us keep our prices low for people,” Cowdin said.
Speaking of prices, the only downside is Cowdin is an out of network operation right now. So, if you’re insured, you’ll have to pay in full for services upfront and then get reimbursed by your carrier later.
Cleanings run about $125 and for $225 you can get an exam, an x-ray, and a cleaning as a new patient.
If you don’t have insurance, you can pay Cowdin about $30 a month for one exam, x-rays, two cleanings, and ten percent off any services that lasts through the year.
Cowdin said she opened about five weeks ago and has already seen a few hundred patients. She even set up outside Dallas Police to see officers for free.
“People are really loving it. They see this tiny house and they’re like, ‘what’s inside there?’ And then they get into the dentist chair and they’re like this is just like a regular dentist office,” Cowdin said.
Every two weeks, Cowdin rotates between 4 locations: 903 Jackson, 500 N Akard, 2001 Bryant, and 2430 San Jacinto St.
You can see which location Cowdin is setting up at on her website www.nomad-dental.com. The only thing she worries about? Parking.
“It’s difficult to navigate the world of private and publicly owned parking,” she said. “But I think parking lots really like us because we’re guaranteed to pay for a spot,” Cowdin said with a laugh.
Right now, Cowdin is the only dentist in her office but tentatively plans to add more staff in the future.