South Charlotte

Orthodontist's donation will make many kids smile

The Smile For a Lifetime Foundation is now serving the Charlotte area, thanks to Dr. Gregory Valeriano of Valeriano Orthodontics.

The 3-year-old charitable nonprofit organization Smile For a Lifetime reaches out to 30 states by providing free orthodontic care to children and young adults in need of assistance. There are 11 participating offices in North Carolina.

Each Smile For a Lifetime chapter has a board of directors that goes through the applications and chooses patients to be treated. The directors are members of the community who do not work for or with the participating orthodontist.

Valeriano said his board of directors consists of an attorney, an accountant, a police officer and another local dentist.

Valeriano will provide 20 Charlotte residents younger than 21 with free braces and orthodontic care this year, amounting to more than $100,000 in care.

"I wanted to donate more orthodontic care to the under-served children of our community," said Valeriano. "Smile For a Lifetime gives us a method to find these children and select those who are most deserving."

The cost of braces for one patient is in the range of $5,000-$6,000. Valeriano "will place the braces, provide adjustment visits on a regular schedule and place retainers when the patient is finished, at no cost," said Sheena Beck, Valeriano's treatment coordinator.

"While malocclusions can cause functional problems with chewing and speech, many children with severe malocclusions (such as severe protrusion or severe malalignment of their teeth) also suffer from very poor self-esteem and are withdrawn from social situations," said Valeriano. "The gift of a beautiful smile can dramatically change a child's level of self confidence, and that can lead to numerous positive changes in their lives."

Valeriano has been serving the Charlotte, SouthPark and Pineville areas for the past 20 years. Located in Foxcroft shopping center off Fairview Road since 2007, Valeriano provides braces for children, teens and adults.