Our integrated oral health care model is used by states and counties to ensure more children are getting preventive dental care. 

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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.

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) A social networking platform that connects children in the community who need dental care with dental clinicians who are willing to volunteer their services.


All three elements of the SmileConnect program have been implemented in communities across Michigan, resulting in nearly one million children covered by Medicaid or CHIP receiving earlier access to preventive oral health services. In addition, more than 54,000 children in 30 states using the SmileConnect social networking platform have been connected with donated oral health supplies, education, and preventive services in predominately low-income areas.

SmileConnect® Contact

Contact Us

Carley Kirk

Carley Kirk  - MS, RDH

Deputy Director, Healthy Women and Children

Areas of Expertise
  • Clinical Quality Improvement 
  • Medical Education
  • Children's Oral Health 

Carley leads Altarum's SmileConnect® program, an integrated care model that increases access of low-income children to oral health care through continuing medical education and technology that facilitates referrals and coordinates community dental health resources. Carley holds a master’s degree in health education and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan.