Sometimes a person’s self-confidence is hindered by the condition of his or her teeth. Dr. William Fravel and Dr. Breck Brewer are out to change that one patient at a time through their partnership with a charitable foundation that offers scholarships to children who need orthodontic treatment but whose families cannot afford the expense.
Smile for a Lifetime partners with orthodontists in the United States and Canada — including Fravel Brewer Orthodontics — to provide braces for patients who meet the qualifications.
“It is our way of giving back to the community for those families who are not able to afford orthodontic treatment,” Dr. Fravel said. “The boost in self-confidence can be seen in the smiles of these children and gives me great satisfaction.”
The practice relies on nurses and other school personnel to recommend a student for the scholarship.
“It really boils down to identifying someone who has the need but also may not have the means to seek treatment,” said Jaclyn Whiddon, who volunteers her services as director of the Fravel Brewer board. “The school identifies someone with a smile issue, sometimes it’s the dentist, sometimes it’s patients who come in for treatment and they say, ‘It’s just out of the budget,’ and we tell them about the program.
“We have seen children’s whole personalities transform,” she said. “They come in, and they’re shy, or they’re self-conscious, or they won’t smile. It’s just a boost for them to have a smile that they’re confident with.”
Whiddon said the board enjoys reading the applications and seeing children verbalize what they hope to see change with their teeth.
“Some kids will say, like, ‘I have a dream of going on and doing this in college or this in my career, and I feel like my smile is holding me back,’” she said. “It’s all rooted in self-confidence.”
Founded in 2009, Smile for a Lifetime aims to reach individuals with financial challenges, special situations, and orthodontic needs. The foundation sponsors the orthodontic care of hundreds of patients each year. Smile for a Lifetime does not charge a fee for the orthodontic treatment; participating orthodontists and orthodontic manufacturing companies donate their services.
The Fravel Brewer Orthodontics Smile for a Lifetime - West Orange Chapter began in February 2012. In the past eight years, the practice has provided more than $200,000 in orthodontic scholarships to children in West Orange County. In exchange, the doctors ask children to “pay it forward” by volunteering their time in the community.
The goal is to provide scholarships six times annually.
There are dozens of examples of recipients whose lives were changed through this program.
The Fravel-Brewer team helped a girl who needed orthognathic surgery to correct a discrepancy with her jaw. Without it, her teeth and jaw would have never aligned properly. A brother and sister being raised by their grandparents also received the orthodontic scholarships. Together, the siblings provided more than 120 community service hours.
To apply for a scholarship, visit FravelBrewer.com or bit.ly/ 33evHwR. To qualify for the program, patients must live in the West Orange County area, be under 18, be able to demonstrate a financial need and be willing to pay it forward with community service.
The deadline to apply is Dec. 10.
“Every child deserves to have a smile that they are proud of, but the simple fact is, not everyone can afford treatment,” Dr. Brewer said. “I love what I do as an orthodontist, but I truly love when we can bring a smile to a child and a family who didn’t think it would have ever been possible.”
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.