About Us

Low-income children are five times more likely to suffer from untreated tooth decay compared to children with greater means. This leads to suffering and health problems that can extend into adulthood, all of which can be easily prevented at an affordable cost. Our SmileConnect solution, an integrated care model, addresses this need by helping providers in the community coordinate dental care for children. Originally funded by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, our program was developed to be both customizable and scalable to other states working to reduce the burden of childhood dental disease.

Our Approach

Altarum’s SmileConnect program is a scalable model that combines provider education and information technology to improve access to dental care. The three elements of the SmileConnect model include:

  • 1) A continuing medical education program that helps primary care providers integrate preventive oral health exams and other basic dental care services, such as application of fluoride varnishes, into well-child visits.
  • 2) A secure online portal that makes it easy for primary care doctors and other community providers to refer children to nearby dentists who accept Medicaid and CHIP, and to track the care of their young patients
  • 3) An oral health integration effort that provides an oral health curriculum training and resources to WIC staff to increase their ability to discuss oral health with clients and provide dental referrals.
Results in Michigan

All three elements of the SmileConnect program have been implemented in communities across Michigan, resulting in a significant amount of children covered by Medicaid or CHIP receiving earlier access to preventive oral health services. In addition, more than 80,000 infants and children (around 40% of the state’s WIC participation) now have access to 50 WIC clinics in both urban and rural settings.