Author: Lauren Hunsberger | Photography: Yasmeen Nayfeh | Posted In: Go | March 2023
Floss Boss founder Dr. Lina Kim is disrupting the dentistry industry—one mile (and smile) at a time.
“It’s pretty hard to miss us,” says Dr. Lina Kim about her bright sky-blue Winnebago bus emblazoned with the Floss Boss logo on it. “I wanted it to be colorful and a little loud, but also fresh and welcoming.”
The bus is the first mobile dentist office in Washington State. It’s equipped with three patient chairs, prepped for cleanings, treatments, scans, whitening, Botox and more. There are small flat-screen TVs on the ceilings above each chair, Bose headsets, fun sunglasses and thoughtful aesthetics throughout the entire vehicle, meant to make the patient experience as pleasant as possible.
It’s definitely not your typical dentist’s office.
“A mentor once told me: ‘You don’t want to ride the wave; you want to be the wave,’” she says. “And that really had an impact on me.” So, two and a half years ago, she began to make plans for the roving Floss Boss bus and the future of her practice.
With the mobile model, there were two critical things Kim wanted to change about the industry. The first was equitable access.
“My patients were taking three to four hours out of their day for a cleaning, driving from all over, and that made me think of the convenience factor. I thought, How cool would it be to make dentistry more available?”
By taking to the road, Kim knew she could not only better serve her existing patients but also get into communities that are underserved and often overlooked. “Time is the most valuable resource; not everyone can take a half day off work.”
For example, Kim recently connected with Utopia, an organization for the LGBTQIA+ community, through Delta Dental. “We did an event to bridge the gap in lack of dental care for some of the micro communities who often feel judged or marginalized.”
The other driving factor for creating a mobile office, which is in addition to her two brick-and-mortar offices, is to expand options for students of dentistry.
“Many dental students have roughly $400,000 in debt when they graduate, and they can have a hard time becoming a practice owner. I wanted to create an option for them, an alternative practice model,” Kim says. “A passion of mine is to give back to the academic dental community, and I wanted to show students that there are options for how to succeed in the industry.”
The response Kim has received from both the community and the industry has already begun to prove her concept. In fact, the second bus is on the way.
“Our vision is convenience, compassion and community. If I can encompass that in one model, it’s a success,” Kim says.
DETAILS BEHIND THE DENTIST
When did you first get into dentistry?
I became a dental assistant my senior year of high school and loved it. Then I went to the UW. In 2007 I took over my first office from a dentist with an existing practice.
Why were you drawn to the practice?
There are neurons that create certain feelings stemming from a smile. A person’s smile is very psychological, and I like helping people with that connection.
Where are your two brick-and-mortar offices?
In the Laurelhurst and Magnolia communities.
What does “holistic dentistry” mean to you?
Holistic health starts from the inside. That means we look at everything from dental anxiety, dental history and gum measurements to blood pressure and more. We are looking at the whole body, because dental health can actually become very systemic.
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about dentistry?
Prevention is the key.
For more information, please visit flossbossmobile.com or
follow them on Instagram @flossbossmobile.