I need to find an affordable dentist or other oral health care provider. Will this website help connect me?

This website isn’t intended to help people find oral health care providers; instead, it helps communities, governments, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and private businesses interested in starting or enhancing community-based oral health programs for older adults. The ToothWisdom website can help people find and access oral health care across the United States.

Who created this website, and what is its background?

In October 2014, with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, the Administration for Community Living entered into a three-year agreement with The Lewin Group to identify and promote vetted, low-cost, community-based oral health programs for older adults. The project’s primary deliverable is this website, which includes a database of community-based oral health programs and The Community Guide to Adult Oral Health Program Implementation (Oral Health Guide).

What is this website’s purpose?

This website is intended to help interested communities, governments, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and private businesses start community-based oral health programs for older adults. It comprises two main components: a database of almost 200 community-based oral health programs and The Community Guide to Adult Oral Health Program Implementation (Oral Health Guide). These resources lend assistance for starting or enhancing such a program.

How were the programs chosen for inclusion in the searchable database?

An environmental scan of community-based oral health programs was conducted through systematic Internet review, submission forms distributed to oral health stakeholders, and direct contact with oral health programs. Performance criteria were developed, aided by a Subject Matter Expert Working Group, to methodically evaluate each oral health program and also to identify programs that could be featured for their aspects of particular interest. This website’s searchable database includes programs, with their accompanying profiles, identified in the environmental scan.

Does the searchable database include programs that serve children?

The searchable database includes any programs that have the potential to serve older adults, either through replication or adaptation. This includes programs that currently do not serve older adults (e.g., programs that only serve children, but have the potential to serve older adults).

How were the “featured programs” identified?

All of the programs contained in the database were systematically evaluated using nine performance criteria (e.g., reduces cost, sustainable, integrated). Five reviewers independently vetted each program and assigned it a numeric score for each performance criteria. Similar programs were grouped together by service delivery model (e.g., dental clinic, mobile-portable, event-based). The 46 programs that scored in the top quartile of each model type are identified as featured programs, and are distinguished with a gold star on the website’s Find a Program and All Programs pages. In addition, their program profiles contain more information, including details about their history and development, sustainability, and impact. Although not considered featured programs, the remaining vetted programs might prove appropriate for a particular target population or service delivery location. We encourage you to consider all types of programs that match your community’s individual needs and your available resources.

Does the database include any evidence-based programs?

Evidence-based programs are programs that "have been found to be effective based on the results of rigorous evaluations."[1] Because this project focuses on community-based oral health programs for older adults, included programs vary in their development stages and in their resources and, thus, most haven’t undergone any type of rigorous evaluation. You can communicate with individual programs, via the contact information in their program profiles, concerning whether they’re considered evidence-based.

What are liability and insurance considerations for a one-time event where oral health services are provided?

For event-based models, volunteers providing dental and other oral health services typically carry their own malpractice and professional liability insurance. The event coordinator usually provides special event liability insurance, which covers bodily injury and property damage claims.

I know of an oral health program that I think should be included on this website. How do I submit program information?

To submit information about an oral health program, complete the form on the Submit a Program page. Submissions will be reviewed and considered for inclusion in the searchable database. Email oralhealth@acl.hhs.gov to update information on a program already included on this website.

When was the program information on this website last updated?

All program profiles (including contact information) were verified and updated in March 2016.

Is this website 508 compliant?

Yes, all content provided on this website has been formatted for 508 compliance to enable equal access for people with disabilities.

[1] Cooney, S.M., Huser, M., Small, S., & O’Connor, C. (2007). Evidence-based programs: An overview. What Works, Wisconsin Research to Practice Series, 6. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin–Madison/Extension. Retrieved from