KENNETT SQUARE—Dr. Ryan Tamburrino is stepping up in a major way to help kids in his community receive braces, who may otherwise not be able to afford them.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, Tamburrino and his team will be screening kids to qualify for braces treatment at his office, Tamburrino Family Orthodontics, through the nonprofit Smiles Change Lives.
Smiles Change Lives is a national nonprofit that helps kids get braces who could not otherwise afford them. 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. Smiles Change Lives’ mission is to provide these families with the opportunity to provide their children with braces through its network of over 800 volunteer orthodontists in the United States and Canada.
“We are thrilled to be working with Dr. Tamburrino, who has committed to donate $100,000 in orthodontic care to kids in his community,” said Alexis Barclay, Director of Provider Services, Smiles Change Lives. “Thanks to Dr. Tamburrino, we hope to approve at least 15 kids for braces through our program from 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, and their family must meet certain financial guidelines (e.g., for a family of 4 in Pennsylvania, their household income must be below $61,500, however household income limit varies based upon family size; the financial requirement is waived for children in foster care).
The family’s responsibility to Smiles Changes Lives is an application fee of $30, and if accepted for treatment, a program enrollment fee of $650. None of the fees are paid to the provider, nor are they reimbursed in any way for treatment. The orthodontist performing the treatment is doing so strictly at no charge to the patient through their office, simply because they feel there is a need and want to help. The full program guidelines can be reviewed at www.smileschangelives.org.
For kids that are approved, but unable to pay the program fees, Dr. Tamburrino also has Smile Scholarships available to directly help families pay these fees. He feels that no one should have finances stand in the way of getting a great smile and helping their confidence, so this is just one other way he wants to help those that truly would benefit.
The event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, at Tamburrino Family Orthodontics located at 688 Unionville Road, Suite 101, Kennett Square. Families who meet the program qualifications for Smiles Change Lives can register their child for the event here: https://www.smileschangelives.org/center-for-orthodontic-excellence-screening-event/