DEERFIELD, Ill. and WOONSOCKET, R.I. — With chain drug stores starting to offer some health check ups, CVS Health and Walgreens are now addressing oral health at some of their locations as well. CVS’s partnership with SmileDirectClub is a pilot that fits patients for invisible braces in CVS stores — while Walgreens opened an Aspen Dental office in one of its Florida stores, as reported by CNBC. These pilot programs and forays into dental services represent another way in which chain drugs are adding services for customers and reaching out to new customers at the same time, especially seniors.
Adding a dentist office, which offers everything from cleanings to Invisalign to crowns, “ties in nicely” with Walgreens’ strategy, said Walgreens chief medical officer Pat Carroll. Doing so makes dental care more accessible and transparent, he added, since Walgreens has convenient locations and Aspen posts the prices online. It’s also a smart way to reach out to seniors as traditional Medicare does not cover most dental procedures, which means many seniors have to pay for such services out of pocket.
SmileDirectClub is a start up that sells teeth straightening kits directly to consumers via the internet. CVS has added a “SmileShopExpress “inside six of its drugstores that provides customers with a 3D scan that will be used to create invisible braces.
“CVS Pharmacy is committed to making health easier and more convenient for our customers,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “As part of this commitment, we continuously test new programs and partnerships to enhance the customer experience.”
The teeth-straightening market has become extremely competitive since 40 of market leader Invisalign’s patents expired in October 2017. SmileDirectClub, along with other start-ups such as Candid. com, are looking to fill that vacuum while offering less expensive treatments.
Along with the opening of the Aspen Dental location, with plans for another this year, Walgreens is also offering more health services in its stores through various partnerships and the addition of lab testing, urgent care, primary care, and vision and hearing care in select stores.