Drugstores dig into dental care
SmileDirectClub is piloting kiosk sales of its teeth-straightening kits in six CVS stores, the startup confirmed to Retail Dive in an email. The kits are also sold in more than 100 CVS locations, the spokesperson said. The report comes about a year after CVS began a dental health initiative as part of its growing medical focus.
The kiosks are available for customers to forge the necessary dental impressions, according to a report in Fortune. Previously SmileDirectClub's kits were available exclusively at Macy's. In addition to CVS and Macy's, they're also now available at Bed Bath & Beyond, according to the company's website.
The report also comes as Aspen Dental and Walgreens announced that the dental health chain is bringing dental offices to two Florida Walgreens stores. The first opened Dec. 13 in Palatka and the second is scheduled to open in the Tampa area in the second quarter this year, according to an Aspen press release.
Americans' expense and frustration around accessing healthcare in general and dental care in particular is providing drugstore retailers — already players in the sector thanks to their pharmacy operations — with a significant opportunity for growth.
That has those retailers expanding their pharmacy and medical care services, especially for screenings and chronic care needs that often send patients to their stores anyway. CVS Health has gone so far as to ditch tobacco sales as part of its wellness pivot, buy health insurer Aetna outright and develop "health hub" concept stores.
While CVS was first out of the gate in emphasizing dental care as part of its push to meet customers' health needs, its new tie-up with SmileDirectClub is quite limited compared to Walgreens' move to invite in extensive dental care from qualified practitioners.
In the U.S., even people with well-subsidized, comprehensive health insurance lack dental coverage. The Walgreens-Aspen collaboration addresses that, the companies said. The locations offer a range of dental services, denture, implant and Invisalign teeth alignment; a digital dental health scan for new patients, who receive exams and x-rays for free if they're without insurance; quick turn-around on denture alignments, repairs and adjustments thanks to an in-house lab; and "a variety of financing options," according to the release.
CVS didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment regarding its SmileDirectClub kiosks or whether it has plans to augment those with further dental care opportunities.
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