Changing Lives, One Smile at a Time: Fresno Area 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 Fresno area orthodontists are eager to help children in their community. For more information visit

Providing a young individual with a healthy bite and beautiful smile can be a life changing event and can have a tremendous positive influence on their future.

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 Fresno area thanks to the dedication of several local orthodontists.

These doctors have joined SCL to help provide better care to youth in the Fresno 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’ve always had an interest in providing pro bono care to those who really need it. Rather than examining the very small impact I can have in my community as a whole, I think it’s more important to look at the major impact that I can have on the lives of the individuals that I can treat through Smiles Change Lives. Providing a young individual with a healthy bite and beautiful smile can be a life changing event and can have a tremendous positive influence on their future. With Smiles Change Lives I can provide that to individuals who otherwise would not have access to orthodontic treatment,” says Dr. Cory Costanzo of Costanzo Orthodontics.

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

“Through my work with the Craniofacial Team at Children's Hospital of Central California, I came to realize how many children there are who desperately need orthodontic treatment but would never set foot in an orthodontic office because they knew that they would be unable to afford treatment. Partnering with SCL allows medical and dental professionals to refer those patients to an organization that can facilitate getting them the care that they so desperately need. My hope is that our work with SCL will provide a safety net for our community, allowing many deserving children the opportunity to get the treatment that they need,” says Dr. Bruce Havens of Havens Orthodontics.

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.

Fresno area orthodontists who have generously donated their time and skills to SCL include:

Dr. Cory Costanzo of Costanzo Orthodontics
Dr. Bruce Havens of Havens Orthodontics
Dr. Greg Nalchajian of Nalchajian Orthodontics
Dr. Nicole Nalchajian of Nalchajian Orthodontics

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
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