Delta Dental of Tennessee Commits More than $3.3 Million to Help Dentists Safely Return to Work

Operation #SmilesMatter provides Tennessee dentists with $1,000 allowance to purchase personal protective equipment and other supplies 


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (May 11, 2020) – Delta Dental of Tennessee (Delta Dental) today announced a commitment of more than $3.3 million for Operation #SmilesMatter, a grant program to help Tennessee dentists acquire much-needed supplies, equipment, and technology as they prepare to reopen their practices following COVID-19-related closures. Delta Dental will be funding a $1,000 “allowance” or credit available to all dentists in Tennessee, regardless of whether they participate in Delta Dental’s network, to purchase dental products. Dentists can learn more about participation in Operation #SmilesMatter at

“As dentists work with local health authorities to reopen and scale up their practices in the coming weeks, they face unprecedented challenges, from the loss of income to rehiring staff, and above all, protecting the health and safety of everyone involved - dentists, staff, and patients,” says Phil Wenk, DDS, CEO and president of Delta Dental of Tennessee. “During this difficult time, we hope this support helps ease the burden as dentists return to their practices and safely move beyond providing emergency-only care.”

Since mid-March, at the recommendation of the American Dental Association (ADA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most dental offices across Tennessee have been closed for all but emergency care to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, and many dentists donated their PPE supply to hospitals and frontline medical workers.

Routine preventive care such as annual cleanings and exams are critical to maintaining good oral and overall health. Delta Dental hopes this initiative will help allow dental offices to safely resume offering essential care.

“Dental offices provide essential health services and we want to help dentists get back to regular practice and caring for their patients, many of whom are our customers,” adds Wenk. “When left untreated, oral health diseases can quickly escalate, becoming more painful, complicated and expensive to treat down the road, so we know how important it is for dentists to provide timely, attentive care.”

Delta Dental is continuously monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and considering additional opportunities to support the safety and well-being of its employees, clients, families, and communities. For the latest on Delta Dental’s COVID-19 response, please visit  


Delta Dental of Tennessee
Delta Dental of Tennessee is the state’s largest independent dental benefits carrier with more than 1.2 million lives covered. As part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, Delta Dental of Tennessee members have access to the largest dental network in the nation with more than 154,000 providers serving more than 332,000 locations. With the simple mission of ensuring healthy smiles, Delta Dental of Tennessee works hard to help members of the communities it serves. Along with its corporate foundation, Smile180, Delta Dental of Tennessee donated more than $7 million in funding and in-kind services to over 140 organizations in 2019, and employees shared 2,182 volunteer hours in the community.