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Tooth Patrol
Montalba Architects designs a mobile dental office in San Francisco.
Courtesy Montalba Architects

A dentist, Dr. Sara Creighton, and her former patient, Lowell Caulder, have set out to create the first mobile dental office in San Francisco—delivering convenient (and hopefully less scary) care to people at work. They have named the office Studio Dental and teamed with LA firm Montalba Architects. This is the second time Creighton has worked with the firm, which previously designed her Washington Square Park Dental offices in San Francisco. They anticipate opening the new office shortly.

The team’s goal has been to design a more inspiring space while still being able to fit the necessities of a dental practice—a waiting room, two operating rooms, and a sterilization room. Working with only 230 square feet inside a 26-foot-long trailer, many elements serve double-duty.


For example, layered wall panels—CNC-milled solid surfacing over acoustical foam—provide acoustical dampening between rooms and also provide opportunities to embed mirrors, visually expanding the tiny interior volume, explained Montalba Architects principal and founder David Montalba. Double-sided program elements, like the stacked instrument panel between the two patient rooms, further maximize the work area.

Eleven-foot ceilings in the operatories hold skylights that provide diffused natural light and also store TV monitors. The waiting room features a tablet for check-in, a magazine rack, bench seating, and an area for sterilizing equipment hidden behind the millwork paneling.

The design team stuck to a paired-down materials palette, weaving together perforated panels, wood millwork, and white surfaces.

“By keeping the interior enclosed and pushing this vertical orientation, the patient experience is directed toward a more calming, natural light–infused environment,” said Montalba.

Ariel Rosenstock