CVS Health is venturing into dental care with plans to offer a relatively new teeth-straightening service.
CVS Health and other drugstores have been pushing in recent years to add more services to their store locations, in part to help their customers stay healthy.
However, they’re also trying to attract customers for profitable beauty products and stave off competition, like the online retail giant Amazon.com which provides same-day delivery for many of the products that drugstores sell outside their pharmacies.
The drugstore chain announced Thursday that it will add SmileDirectClub locations to hundreds of its stores, where customers can get started on getting their teeth straightened without an in-person visit with a dentist or orthodontist.
Under the CVS plan, customers get a 3D image of their mouth made by a SmileDirect employee at one of the drugstore locations. The image is sent to a dentist or orthodontist who approves the patient’s treatment plan. Patients are shipped clear, removable aligners designed to straighten their teeth.
CVS Pharmacy President Kevin Hourican, when asked about the criticism coming from The America Association of Orthodontists, said he has no concerns about safety with SmileDirect, which he said provides a “high quality” product and limits care to patients who don’t have complex dental needs.
CVS Health also will add SmileDirect service as a covered option in the dental care network of its recently acquired Aetna health insurance business.
Another insurer, UnitedHealthcare, announced a similar coverage expansion Thursday.
CVS Health found in its pilot that the SmileDirect locations attracted younger, new customers.
“People want to improve their smile, and they feel better about themselves,” Hourican said.