The Los Angeles Times reports on how CVS is looking to expand a pilot program, SmileDirectClub, that it started earlier this year.

According to the story, “The drugstore chain said 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 3-D 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. They check in remotely with a dentist or orthodontist, often by smartphone. The service costs $1,850 before insurance.”

The Times notes that “the American Assn. of Orthodontists has criticized the service, warning that in-person visits are important in this type of care. Dentists can spot gum disease during these visits and X-rays can detect bone loss not seen in a photo.”

KC's View: Speaking as someone who is severely dentist-phobic - I once went more than a decade between dentist visits, and until recently needed Xanax and gas just to get a cleaning (I’ve evolved…a little) - I think anything that helps people understand the importance of good dental care is a good thing. I worry less about the dentists - most of whom are doing just fine, thank you - than people with bad teeth.