Dental Care Beyond the Dentist’s Chair

Preventistry, DentaQuest’s all-in approach to transforming oral health, starts with access to care. Many patients face barriers to accessing quality health care such as a lack of transportation, the inability to take time off from work for an appointment, limited numbers of oral care providers in an area language/cultural barriers, lack of dental insurance and/or coverage and more.

The traditional model of getting care at a dentist’s office simply doesn’t work for everyone, and the oral health industry is recognizing the need to provide care beyond the dental chair and into non-traditional settings.

Significant Barriers to Accessing
Oral Health Care for Medicaid Beneficiaries 

(according to Medicaid Dental Administrators)
Inability to take time off from work
78 percent bar chart

Few dentists/oral care providers in the area
78 percent bar chart

Lack of transportation

73 percent

Language or cultural barriers
54 percent bar chart
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A recent report, Reversible Decay: Oral Health is a Public Health Problem We Can Solve, finds consensus among dentists, patients, physicians, employers and Medicaid dental administrators on solutions to improve the failing oral health system.


Medical-Dental Integration – or increased collaboration among physicians and dentists – is one strategy to expand access to oral care. 

Preventive dental exams help you maintain a healthy mouth and can identify health concerns affected by poor oral health early, before they become more challenging to treat. To effectively address the mouth-body connection, providers of all kinds need to coordinate and provide care holistically. 

Many physicians are interested in offering their patients in-office dental procedures, including fluoride treatment and cleanings. Patients – including parents of child patients  – and dentists see value in expanding access to oral health exams and preventive screenings in non-traditional care locations such as schools, pharmacies, and community centers, and data indicates those screenings can lead to more dental office visits.

Non-Traditional Care Settings
School icon

Pharmacy RX icon

Retail Icon


Alternative options to increase access include advancements in technology, as well as changes to benefit designs.

Employers (four in 10) are open to employee benefits updates that expand access, including providing convenient access to urgent dental care (40%) and offering options for telehealth or e-visits (38%).

In this digital era, telehealth services are increasingly used as a non-traditional method for expanding access to dental care. Teledentistry uses technology to deliver virtual dental services and encompasses the use of video, mobile apps and software systems to diagnose, treat, connect and share without the patient having to be on-site at the dentist’s office.

Expanding access to health care via these types of non-traditional methods and alternative settings not only helps the patient achieve better health outcomes, but also benefits the providers, employers and others who have the best interest of the patient in mind.