A group of female orthodontists across the bi-state area are donating braces at greatly reduced prices to 50 kids in need in their communities.
Eight orthodontists will join together from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 6, at two office locations in order to screen children for services. Qualified clients will receive treatment at the providers' practices. The screening locations are:
• Olson Orthodontics, 714 W. State Street, Suite No. 2, in O'Fallon, Ill.
• Junction Orthodontics, 209 S. Kirkwood Road, in Kirkwood.
Families must register for the event at smileschangelives.org/BWON-screening-event, where they can also learn more about the qualifications for the program.
Insurance companies typically don't cover braces, which cost an average of $6,000. Children unable to afford treatment can suffer discomfort and embarrassment because of their misaligned teeth.
The group of orthodontists are donating their services through the national nonprofit Smiles Change Lives, which has treated more than 12,000 children since 1997 through its network of volunteer orthodontists.
The Post-Dispatch in September 2017 wrote about one participating orthodontist, Randall Markarian, who has donated his services for more than a decade.
To qualify for the program, a child must be between the ages of 7 and 21, have good oral hygiene, currently without braces, have a moderate to severe need for braces and meet financial guidelines (Example: A family of four in the St. Louis area must have a household income below $61,500).
The patient will be responsible for $680 in application and program fees.
The participating orthodontists are part of the Bistate Women's Orthodontic Network:
Lauren Hood-Olsen, O’Fallon, Ill.
Christine Brinley and Jaclyn Kostelac, Maryville, Ill.
Brandy Burgess, Imperial
Mary Ellen Helmkamp, Sunset Hills and Manchester
Jodi Hentscher-Johnson, Columbia and Waterloo, Ill.
Sue Hong, Richmond Heights and Hazelwood
Jaclyn Scroggins, Kirkwood