Smiles Change Lives

smiles change lives

It is estimated that 20% of all American children are living with moderate to severe malocclusions (crooked teeth and misaligned jaws). Many come from working families living in poverty. Without assistance, these children will not receive the treatment they need.

Smiles Change Lives (SCL) serves kids who suffer from the social, emotional, and physical repercussions of dental deformities such as missing, broken and impacted teeth. Many have difficulty speaking and chewing. Others suffer with constant pain or are targets of peer teasing or bullying.

Dr. Cottingham loves assisting kids and giving back to the community. She has been a participating orthodontist with the Smiles Change Lives Program for years. If you are interested in more information on the Program or would like to start the application process, click here.

About Smiles Change Lives (SCL)

The Virginia Brown Community Orthodontic Partnership was established in 1997 as a community-based orthodontic program to help children from families that can't afford the cost of braces, whose self-esteem was impacted by having crooked teeth, receive orthodontic treatment. Now known as Smiles Change Lives, it has grown into an international organization with over 750 orthodontists participating in the program. To date, over 8,250 children have received life-changing orthodontic treatment through SCL.

Smiles Change Lives has a unique model that matches children from low-income families, who need orthodontic treatment, with caring orthodontists willing to provide such treatment. Each family must agree to abide by the program's rules and contribute a set amount to SCL to be approved for the program. SCL uses these funds to recruit more doctors willing to treat more children. In this way, each family truly "pays it forward"; by helping their own child, they are making it possible for the next child to be treated as well. Since its inception, more than 99% of the children approved for SCL have successfully completed treatment.

How the Program Works

SCL is looking for youth who meet the following criteria:

  • Are between the ages of ten and 18
  • Have no more than four baby teeth and no unfilled cavities
  • Have good dental hygiene
  • Are not currently wearing braces
  • Meet the SCL financial guidelines
  • Are willing to follow the SCL program rules and make the required financial contribution

How to Apply

SCL has immediate openings to serve children that qualify across the US and Canada. To apply for assistance, please visit www.smileschangelives.org/apply.

For more information on SCL, please visit www.smileschangelives.org.

American Association of Orthodontics American Board of Orthodontics Smiles Change Lives

a few kind words...

  • "Dr. Cottingham and her staff were very kind and professional. I had a great experience and without a doubt would go there again!" ~ Trisha B
  • "My overall experience was outstanding. Dr. Cottingham and her staff are outstanding in making you comfortable and confident."~ Johnny B.
  • "Wonderful results for my son! Professional, fun, caring staff! Will be back with my youngest soon! Thanks so much for taking such great care of us!"~ Lisa R.
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