One in five Americans do not have adequate access to oral healthcare. And for many who do, the cost of care is insurmountable. Dental expenses account for a quarter of all healthcare out-of-pocket spending — that means, in aggregate, patients are personally paying $55 billion annually for dental care. Whether due to a lack of providers, high cost, social barriers or infrastructure challenges, getting to and paying for dental care is difficult for too many people.
To address the broken oral health system, CareQuest Innovation Partners, in partnership with MATTER, has launched SMILE Health — a program designed to identify and accelerate early-stage startups at the intersection of oral health improvement and health equity advancement. SMILE is an acronym that underscores the innovations the program seeks: Simple, Minimally Invasive, Integrated, Low-barrier and Equitable.
MATTER and CareQuest Innovation Partners welcomed former Dean of Harvard School of Dental Medicine Dr. Bruce Donoff and **Executive Director of National Collaborative for Health Equity Dr. Gail Christopher, **for a conversation with Chief Innovation Officer of CareQuest Innovation Partners Mariya Filipova discussing our current oral health system, bridging the gap between oral and overall health, ways to make oral health more accessible and equitable and the launch of SMILE Health.