A dental chain that will surely appeal to millennials, and perhaps lots of other people who hate going to the dentist, opened its first location in Washington today. Tend, a startup out of New York, has an aesthetic and a user-friendly bent reminiscent of Varnish Lane, WeWork, and other chains inclined toward the young and tech-y.
The look for Tend “studios” is modeled after restaurants or spas (cool colors, clean lines). Appointments can be made via an app. And when you book, you can state preferences like what flavor of toothpaste you want, or whether you prefer a hygienist who’s chatty, or not. There’s a custom sink bar dubbed “The Brushery” where you can freshen up before your appointment, and a streaming TV setup so you can watch Netflix while all the plaque is being cleaned off your teeth (you can also queue what you want to watch before the appointment).
CEO Doug Hudson, who founded Hearing Planet (which helps people buy hearing aids), says the chain is trying other ways to soften the more unpleasant portions of going to the dentist as well—quieter tools, for instance, and scent diffusers to minimize unpleasant sounds and smells. (The custom scent is “Bergamist,” with notes of citrus and wood.) “We just want to make it simple for you,” Hudson says.
The first Tend opened on Capitol Hill. Five additional locations will open later this year in Navy Yard, 14th & U, Downtown, Metro Center, and Ballston.