Cigna rolls out new digital dental screening tool to 16.5M members

Cigna has launched a new tool that will allow its members to use their smartphones to check for dental health issues including gum disease and cavities.

The insurer announced Thursday morning that the online service, which is backed by, will be available for free. It offers guided steps for members to take five photos of their teeth and mouth, which will be analyzed by the SmartScan technology. A Cigna network dentist will then review the scans.

Screenshots displaying Cigna's new SmartScan dental tool

The tool will provide members with an oral health score as well as personalized dental care tips. It will also identify any concerns and connect the user with either virtual or in-person follow-ups for treatment.

The program is available starting today to more than 16.5 million Cigna members in employer-sponsored or Affordable Care Act exchange plans, the insurer said.

“Many people fear the dentist or the costs that follow a dental visit, which causes them to delay care, making them susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease,” said Cary Sun, chief dental officer at Cigna Healthcare, in a release. “Together with SmartScan, we are providing a quick and convenient way for people to access an oral health screening from home.”

Members can also use the SmartScan tech for "quick check-ins" between visits to the dentist's office, Cigna said. For example, if they experience acute tooth pain, they could triage the symptom through the tool.

Cigna noted in the release that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 36% of adults have not had a dental screening or cleaning within the past year, and, while the new tool does not replace in-person visits, it provides patients with another avenue to pursue care.

"While this is not a replacement for regular, in-person dental care, this tool empowers people to stay aware of their oral health and provides peace of mind when dental concerns arise,” Sun said.

The tool joins Cigna's Dental Health Connect program, which offers a suite of dental offerings employers can use to improve the dental health of their workers. In addition to the SmartScan option, members can access on-demand dental care, including emergency services, from Teledentix.