Studio Dental Inc. is making it a lot harder for patients to put off their biannual cleanings. Founders Dr. Sara Creighton and CEO Lowell Caulder have created the 26-foot-long Studio Dental Mobile Unit to deliver dental services to offices around San Francisco.

The goal is to provide a convenient experience that’s a balance of high-tech and serene office space—all within a 230-square-foot interior.

David Montalba, founder and principal of Montalba Architects Inc., the Los Angeles-based architecture firm tasked with creating the atypical dental environment, says the primary challenge was to create the feeling of spaciousness while finding room for all the necessary equipment, including a sterilization room, waiting area, and two operatories.

Millwork houses equipment in the workspaces and conceals a sound system and HVAC unit, while also wrapping around to form a patient waiting bench. Acoustical dampening material was added to control sound and privacy.

Simple materials, colors, and lighting elements achieve a streamlined look, and Studio Dental’s brand identity is enforced with touches of natural wood, white surfaces, and a custom perforation pattern on the unit’s exterior and interior panels.

“The material colors of white, blonde wood, and black are all meant to complement one another and enhance the volume and perceived spatial qualities of the trailer,” Montalba says.

To inspire relaxation during cleanings and procedures, designers paid particular attention to the ceiling. “Rather than opening the side panels to potentially unattractive exterior environments, such as urban parking lots, we decided to install skylights to capture diffused natural light and house TV monitors to help patients remain relaxed while looking up during procedures,” Montalba says.

An integrated tablet in the waiting bench provides patient forms as well as magazines, and laptops concealed in the millwork allow the dental staff to share visual information with patients during procedures.

Anne DiNardo is senior editor of Healthcare Design. She can be reached at