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.