Miles of Smiles
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What: On-site, mobile dental services for casino
Who: Chris Davenport of Casino Direct Health Services
Where: Las Vegas
When: Started in April 2000
Dental hygienist and budding entrepreneur Chris Davenport wanted to make visiting the dentist convenient for busy casino workers. After partnering with a dentist (hygienists can't own health practices under Nevada law), Davenport, 35, started Casino Direct Health Services and developed a 40-foot dental office on wheels for $350,000. He saw his first patients at the Primadonna Resorts, now owned by MGM Grand.
Davenport's private mobile dentistry practice soon partnered with Las Vegas casino operators to become part of the companies' benefits programs. Davenport and his staff travel to casinos six days a week, providing complete on-site care for employees during breaks or after their shifts.
Patient referrals have been integral in getting Davenport's business up and running. "All our prospective patients tend to work together, so when they come into our mobile facilities, they have to have a pretty amazing experience [to ensure referrals]," Davenport says. He keeps the patients happy with the latest technology: Not only are the three private offices in the mobile unit decked out with flat-screen TVs and memory-foam chairs, but he also uses a paperless record-keeping system.
In 2005, this combination of on-site care and high-tech gadgetry earned Casino Direct $2 million. With a new brick-and-mortar office now open in Las Vegas, Davenport expects to bring in at least $3.6 million in 2006.
Currently, Davenport is looking to add one mobile unit to his fleet in Nevada and is also working on a deal with Harrah's Entertainment to roll his service to casinos in Tunica, Mississippi. He hopes to have these new mobile units in action by year-end.
Davenport believes on-site dental care is a natural choice for large companies with health-care coverage. "If their employees are smiling," he says, "that's obviously going to affect their bottom line."