Tend Vs. Traditional Dentists - Here's How They Compare.

The Official Popdust Review.

dentist uses tools on a patient with sunglasses and headphones

A good trip to the dentist just means it was short and painless; what a low bar!

Why are dentist appointments practically synonymous with pain and outrageous bills?!

When we heard about NYC's Tend dental offices, we figured they'd be pretty similar to your standard dental practices, but after one trip we realized there are some major differences. Tend is trying to make going to the dentist like going to a spa - their offices are gorgeous and completely spotless, and you can watch Netflix while getting your cavities filled (yes, really!).

To help you decide if you should switch from your traditional dentist to Tend's new model, we outlined the key similarities and differences, so you can make an informed decision for you and your teeth.

Key Similarities

  • Both offer standard dental check-ups along with elective procedures, like whitening and veneers.
  • Both take insurance, and are explicit about what they do and do not take.

Key Differences

  • The Pay Model: Most dental practices will pay their dentists based on commission. With Tend, they receive a competitive salary along with a bonus based on the percentage of customers who book a second appointment with Tend. That means you won't be talked into any unnecessary procedures
  • The Culture: Tend focuses on a judgement-free dental culture, whereas most dental offices don't agree on the standard from dentist to dentist.
  • The Tools: Tend uses the latest tools in dentistry to ensure the least amount of noise, weird smells, and pain possible.
  • The Ambience: Tend has Netflix - seriously, they offer streaming services above the dental equipment so you have a distraction from the pain.
  • The Cost: Tend is upfront about costs; they'll never slap you with a surprise bill. Tend also offers higher-priced procedures like whitening, veneers, and invisible braces at a significant discount.
  • Check-in: Tend has contactless check-in, whereas this differs for other providers.

Traditional Dentist Overview

Looped in with the DMV, dentist appointments are just one of those inevitabilities we dread. After spending time in a dingy waiting room, you're led into a dental chair where your mouth is poked by sharp tools, there are maybe some x-rays, some bubble gum toothpaste, and you're off.

There's also the frustration of being told you need particular dental work, like a cavity filling, when you weren't complaining of any mouth pain. For a car, you're supposed to get a second opinion, but you should be able to trust your dentist. Unfortunately, dentists are often paid on commission, so filling a tiny cavity or offering a small extra service may be in their realm, even if you don't really need it.

While there are incredible dentists out there, most practices lack a culture of hospitality and kindness with patients.

Tend Overview

First off, Tend will not give you the nostalgic feeling of dentist offices from your youth. No overly sterile smell or dystopian fluorescent lights. The offices are called "studios" and that's the perfect description. With sleek, but fun designs and colors, they definitely make you feel welcomed and relaxed.

But, the care is most important. They're staffed by dentists who aren't just high-quality, but who are also trained in hospitality; every dental professional is trained by the head of clinical development, a highly prestigious dentist. Their job is to maintain and treat your teeth, along with offering no judgement or upsells.

Because they aren't paid for each service they give, but rather given bonuses on whether you stay on as a patient at Tend, they're never going to give you anything you don't need. This way it's all about you and what you really need.

There's of course, also the added bonus for you of screens in every room that show your appointment, so you know you're in the right place. The Netflix screen is also a huge plus.

Why does dentistry need to be a distraction-free experience?! They're poking around in your mouth, you deserve all the distractions in the world.

Finally, they're invested in providing the best services possible; that means upgrading to new dental tools whenever they're available. Your previous dentist office may be working with the same tools from the 1990's, even if dentistry has advanced to provide tools that offer less pain, with the same amount of efficacy.

Final Notes

Tend is in-network for most insurers, but you can double check on their site before you book an appointment at one of their NYC locations: Chelsea, Wall Street, Williamsburg, Flatiron, Grand Central, or (coming soon!) the Upper West Side. If they take your insurance and have a convenient location for you, you have to check them out.

Their offices are gorgeous, their dentists are the best, and they legitimately want you to have a good time (and maintain your dental health!). There are great dentists everywhere, but Tendonly has great dentists.

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