Changing Lives, One Smile at a Time: Long Island Orthodontic Practices Join National Charity to Provide Healthy Smiles for Underserved Kids

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Smiles Change Lives is seeking applicants, ages 10-18, for its affordable orthodontic care program. Several Long Island orthodontists are eager to help children in their communities. For more information please visit:

Children who cannot speak or eat properly, or are ashamed and embarrassed to smile or speak because of serious orthodontic problems, are immensely grateful when they receive help and proper care.

A child’s joyful smile is contagious. However, some children are afraid to smile because they are embarrassed by their teeth. In today’s economy, this situation can be heartbreaking for families who do not have the resources to pay the full cost of orthodontic treatment.

Thanks to hundreds of caring orthodontists and one national charity, families have an opportunity to help their children obtain affordable orthodontic treatment. Smiles Change Lives (SCL) is now serving low-income kids in the Long Island area thanks to the dedication of several local orthodontists.

These doctors have joined SCL to help provide better care to youth in the area who cannot afford treatment and don’t qualify for other assistance. The doctors will donate their time and talents to treat SCL-approved patients. SCL requires that each patient’s family pay a $500 program fee in return for full orthodontic treatment.

“I strongly believe that local professionals, particularly those in the health community, have a responsibility to help those who are less able to help themselves. I am hoping to bring other practitioners, school administrators and influential community leaders into the program so that we can increase the impact of SCL. Children who cannot speak or eat properly, or are ashamed and embarrassed to smile or speak because of serious orthodontic problems, are immensely grateful when they receive help and proper care. Making people feel better about themselves brings joy to the person and their families and has the potential to vastly improve the quality of their lives,” says Dr. Inna Gellerman.

SCL is actively seeking program applicants who meet these criteria:

  • 10-18 years old
  • Household taxable income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Crooked teeth and/or misaligned jaws
  • Good oral hygiene

“There is a segment of children that deserve to have their teeth straightened but would never have the opportunity if not for Smiles Change Lives. We hope our involvement can inspire other health professionals to volunteer their services,” says Dr. Howard Tichler.

Interested families are encouraged to review the program’s financial guidelines at Educators, nurses, counselors and oral health professionals are encouraged to nominate or refer candidates to this program. Visit to download an application in English or Spanish or call (888) 900-3554 to request more information or an application by mail.

Long Island orthodontists who have generously donated their time and skills to SCL include:

Dr. Jenny Abraham
Dr. Mani Alikhani
Dr. David Amram
Dr. Michael Apton
Dr. Paul Cain
Dr. Debra Dobbs
Dr. Frank Egan
Dr. Denise Emma
Dr. Zackary Faber
Dr. Charles Fiorenti
Dr. Inna Gellerman
Dr. Jeffrey Horowitz
Dr. Leon Klempner
Dr. Peter Koblan III
Dr. Anthony Maresca
Dr. Matthew Nissenbaum
Dr. Robert Palma
Dr. Stevan Pierce
Dr. Susan Rodis
Dr. Joseph Salierno
Dr. Robert Schindel
Dr. Scott Schwartz
Dr. Howard Tichler
Dr. Harry Tsotsos
Dr. Pasquale Vitagliano
Dr. Mark Weinberg
Dr. Dorothy Whalen

Smiles Change Lives (SCL) promotes and provides access to life-changing, essential orthodontic treatment to children from low-income families. With a growing demand nationwide, our vision is to provide access to braces for all youth suffering from crooked teeth and misaligned jaws. Since 1997, SCL has created more than 1,500 healthy smiles. With the support of 3M, our official orthodontic industry sponsor, SCL will be able to reach out to even more communities nationwide.


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Andrea Umbreit

LeAnn Smith