Women Orthodontists Join Together to Donate Over $400,000 in Braces to Area Kids

St. Louis, MO – The Bistate Women’s Orthodontic Network (BWON) is preparing to change the lives of local children in need, by sponsoring the very first bi-state screening event to donate over $400,000 in braces to kids in their communities through the nationally renowned nonprofit Smiles Change Lives.  

The following female orthodontists, who are leaders not only in their communities, but their industry, are participating in this unprecedented event: Dr. Lauren Hood-Olsen, O’Fallon, IL, Dr. Christine Brinley and Dr. Jaclyn Kostelac, Maryville, IL, Dr. Brandy Burgess, Imperial, MO, Dr. Mary Ellen Helmkamp, Sunset Hills and Manchester, MO, Dr. Jodi Hentscher-Johnson, Columbia and Waterloo, IL, Dr. Sue Hong, Richmond Heights and Hazelwood, MO, and Dr. Jaclyn Scroggins, Kirkwood, Mo. Each will be joining together at two office locations to screen children for treatment at their respective practices. Registration is encouraged and is currently open to children whose families are struggling to afford necessary orthodontic treatment. 

On average, braces cost $6,000 per child, making them out of reach for many hard working families. Further, orthodontic treatment has long been considered cosmetic by insurance companies, providing little assistance, even for those that are insured. As a result, many children and teens suffer unnecessary discomfort and embarrassment from their misaligned teeth. 

“We are thrilled to be working with BWON, which has committed to donate over $400,000 in orthodontic care,” says Alexis Barclay, Director of Provider Services, Smiles Change Lives. “To make a difference in a child’s health and self-confidence feels great and is the reason we are so excited about this event.” 

Smiles Change Lives is a national nonprofit formed in 1997 under its original name, the Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Partnership. Virginia Brown grew up during the Great Depression, and her parents could only afford to pay for orthodontic treatment for one of their children. Virginia’s sister was able to get braces, while Virginia endured years of teasing and self-consciousness until she finally received treatment during high school. Virginia and her son, Tom Brown, established Smiles Change Lives to help children today avoid the physical and emotional difficulties that Virginia herself suffered as a child. 

To qualify for the program, a child must be between the ages of 7-21, have good oral hygiene, not be wearing braces currently, have a moderate to severe need for braces, meet certain financial guidelines (e.g., for a family of 4 in St. Louis area, their household income must be below $61,500), and be willing to pay a $30 application fee and $650 program fee if accepted and placed for treatment with an SCL orthodontist.  

The Open House event will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 10:00am-2:00pm at the following locations: 

Olson Orthodontics, 741 W. State Street, Suite #2, O’Fallon, IL 62269, and 

Junction Orthodontics, 209 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122

Families should preregister for the event at https://www.smileschangelives.org/BWON-screening-event/ where they can find out more information about the locations and qualifications for treatment through Smiles Change Lives.  

If a family can’t attend the event but is interested in the program, they are encouraged to contact Smiles Change Lives at info@smileschangelives.org, or to apply directly online at www.smileschangelives.org

To date, Smiles Change Lives and its network of orthodontists have helped more than 12,000 kids receive braces in the United States and Canada. Please watch this short video to learn more: http://www.smileschangelives.org/scl-overview-video.

About Bistate Women’s Orthodontics Network:  An organization consisting of eight female orthodontists in the St. Louis area, in both Missouri and Illinois.  For more information on each of the participating orthodontists, please visit www.brinleyortho.com, www.burgessortho.com, www.pickhelmortho.com, www.hentscherjohnsonortho.com, www.aostl.com/, junctionortho.com, www.olsonbraces.com

About Smiles Change Lives:  Smiles Change Lives provides access to life-changing orthodontic treatment for children from families that cannot afford the full cost of braces. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, the program has treated more than 12,000 children since 1997 through its network of over 800 partner orthodontists. With its origin as the Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Partnership, Smiles Change Lives has emerged as the nation’s leader in providing access to orthodontic care for qualified children. For more information, visit www.smileschangelives.org.