A Clifton Park dentist will provide braces and dental work to a number of children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to receive the service.
Sergey Berenshteyn, founder of Adirondack Orthodontics, is working with at least 25 local children from families unable to afford the otherwise costly care.
“We want people to get this treatment who otherwise wouldn’t be able to,” Berenshteyn said. “There are a lot of people who might not be able to afford orthodontic care.”
Berenshteyn said the cost of braces is case-specific, but a full treatment of braces for 18 to 24 months can climb to $6,000. He’s expecting the total effort, with just the 25 candidates, to cost $150,000.
Berenshteyn’s office is working with Smiles Change Lives, a national non-profit organization that helps orthodontists provide discounted braces for children.
Spurred by an interest in helping out, Berenshteyn said he did some research and discovered that Smiles Change Lives could handle the logistics end of the effort, including analyzing candidates’ financial records.
To participate in the braces program, candidates must complete a questionnaire on the Adirondack Orthodontics website.
After reviewing the necessary records, Smiles Change Lives will send final candidates to an open house at Adirondack Orthodontics in October, at which Berenshteyn and other orthodontists in his office will assess the children in most urgent need of the braces.
At least 25 children will definitely receive the treatment, Berenshteyn said.
But, he added, he won’t turn away children who need serious dental work just to keep the number capped at 25.
“There’s no way I can turn away a kid like that,” he said. “It’s definitely a commitment we’re excited to make.”
He expects that most of the participants will probably be 11- to 13-years-old. Children at that age, he said, are often at the point where serious orthodontic work could make a permanent difference.
This is not the first time Adirondack Orthodontics has offered free dental service.
For the past three years, Berenshteyn, who founded the company in 2012, has been creating free mouth guards for hockey players in the Shenendehowa Central School District.
Custom mouth guards can cost up to $100, and Berenshteyn made 27 last year. His hope is to expand the mouth guard program to other area schools.
For now, Berenshteyn is hoping that as many people as possible register to take advantage of the opportunity for braces or needed dental work. The open house will feature fall activities and other attractions, such as face-painting, aside from the dental screenings.
“We hope to get as big a turnout as possible,” he said.
Those who meet the initial qualifications for the program will be invited to the screening event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 20 at Adirondack Orthodontics’ Latham office, 713 Troy-Schenectady Road, Suite 127.