The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Donated Orthodontic Services (DOS) program will expand nationally in 2016, with the goal of offering children in every US state who could not otherwise afford orthodontic treatment the opportunity to receive treatment.

While the DOS program had been organized by each of the nine states in which it currently operates, going forward the program will be administered nationally by Dental Lifeline Network, with which the AAO collaborates to offer the program. Dental Lifeline Network will refer applicants who are financially qualified to participating AAO members, who will then provide referred patients’ treatment on a pro bono basis.

All patients referred for treatment are indigent children without insurance coverage, or who do not qualify for other assistance in their states of residence. According to the AAO, the DOS Board of Directors has earmarked funding to offer financial assistance to a limited number of applicants who cannot afford the program’s $200 administrative fee.

The program, which launched in 2009 in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, expanded to Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan in 2014. Since 2009, 482 DOS patients have completed orthodontic treatment.

In addition to screening DOS patients’ financial qualifications, Dental Lifeline Network will be responsible for educating applicants about the orthodontic treatment process and ensuring that patients referred to orthodontists are prepared to comply with all treatment requirements.

The AAO will begin publicizing the availability of the DOS program to consumers in January. AAO members interested in joining the DOS program to provide services should contact Dental Lifeline Network at [email protected] or call (866) 201-5906.

DOS providers are not required to treat a specific number of patients. Qualified patient applicants in states with no DOS providers will be placed on a waiting list for treatment.