Thursday, September 15, 2005

Welcome from your Google Dentist



The first thing people ask me when they find out where I work is how many hours I spend at the office. I live there, I tell them. They look at me with sympathy: yeah, I've heard the hours are brutal. No, I explain, I actually am the first person who lives on campus, in a little apartment right next door to my office. That's because I'm Google's first full-time on-site dentist. I just started a few weeks ago and am just catching my breath long enough to start this online diary, because everyone also asks me about my blog. They usually ask it when their mouth's full of cotton, so it took me a while to know what they were talking about.

How did I get here? I graduated from USC dental school a few years back and was working in an office in LA. The weather was great but the whole place a little soulless so when a friend of a friend mentioned the Google opening, I was intrigued. What kind of company has its own dentist? (More on that in a minute.) In addition, you had to be willing to live on campus and handle emergency calls in the middle of the night. Given my ongoing single status I jumped at the opportunity and came up to Mountain View to check things out. Where are the mountains? I asked, but that didn't throw them a bit. The interview process I went through was more intense than I've ever experienced before. At one point I had several guys & gals in a room and they're asking me to diagram on a whiteboard a particularly complex root canal procedure with twin impacted molars. I'll tell you that was more stressful than doing the actual procedure.

I guess I kept it together well enough and I got the job. At this point they give me basically a clean slate to design my office and living quarters. I've got a couple state of the art articulated chairs in there, all the usual drills and suction, x-ray, and so on, plus amenities like flatscreens and wireless internet for the busy employees who come by my office. They put up a sign, "Google Tooth (Beta)" with my own logo; I think the Beta is an inside joke. We opened for business a few weeks back and pretty soon I had a steady daily dose of traffic for teeth cleaning, fillings, crowns, and a couple root canals so far. Nights and weekends are pretty quiet but I do get an occasional toothache or chipped tooth from an evening frisbee game.

After they hear this people usually ask why we need our own dentist, or they roll their eyes about supposed extravagence like the well-known free meals at work and so on. Actually, I'm surprised more companies of their size don't have their own dentist. Just do the math (I had to do some math in my interview also): with 3000 employees visiting the dentist twice a year on weekdays, that's 24 patients a day, which is more than a full load. Do you want those people staying at work or leaving the office for several hours each time? On top of that, the after-hours service is key because people here are night owls, and a dental emergency could leave someone unable to work for quite some time during a key product release.

Anyway, that's just the start of it, so I'll be sure to post more stories about my experiences, the relative dental health of various execs, and so on. A couple of engineers have already offered to work their 20% time on an x-ray browser so they can explore high-res tooth maps from their desktops. And that's the tooth.

72 Comments:

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Marci said...

Dr Sam, thanks for the great weblog and the job you did on my teeth last week. your stories kept me laughing so i look forward to more posts from you!

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger Emarts said...

Dr. Sam, me duele mi diente canino derecho, que hago?

 
At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Sam..

you don't work at Google.

we've never heard of you?

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you have anything better to do with your time than design silly hoaxes like this?

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger RoryStew said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to be a Dental Hygienist but I'm terrified of the dentist! i don't know what it is about the chair that makes me squirm. When I was there the last time I had 4 cavities! My appointment to get them filled is tomorrow, can anyone show me there's nothing to be afraid of??

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger annelia said...

i like google, so i like you. i guess this is therapy for adentist, since they have the highest rate of you know what.

Good Luck!

 
At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Doctor, my name is Miguel and Im living in Mexico, I find your story so great!!! I will work in USA in 1 year aprox, I am in a IDP program and studing for NBDE part II. If you need someone to work with you let me know ok? I´ll be great to work with google!!!

 
At 3:19 AM, Anonymous Yucaipa teeth whitening said...

First of all I like to congratulate you for your job in Google. I think you are enjoying to work with Google. Thanks for sharing your experience and feelings with us. Best of luck.

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Richmond Hill Dentist said...

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At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Kenneth Kowalsky said...

Instead of calling your blog "That's the Tooth", how about something a little less cliché such as... wait for it... wait for it... "The tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth"?

 
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At 11:25 PM, Blogger Doris said...

Wow! You must have been so proud to be working in Google, if friends ask you, where's your clinic? You can simply reply, hmmmm it's in Google. ahhahaah! Good job, doc! Google is so lucky to have you on board too. 3000 employees, whew! That's more than a handful. Well, I'm glad that I have a reliable dentist in Memphis TN, too. He specializes in gum diseases and even sleep apnea. Memphis residents are so lucky to have him around. Well, thanks doc for sharing your experience! I'm glad I came across your blog. I had a blast!

 
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That's very creative. If only you can use Google Tooth to find actual dental offices like Google Maps, haha. That would be something, wouldn't it? You can instantly check the dental location on your Ipad.

 
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