Smiles Change Lives (SCL), Kansas City, Mo, is seeking upwards of 200 additional volunteer orthodontists to join its nationwide program to provide pro bono orthodontic care to children in need. Orthodontists are especially needed in the Detroit; Pensacola, Fla; Baton Rouge, La; Seattle; and San Diego areas. The organization has seen record numbers of applications from low-income families in the last few years, especially in cities especially hard hit by the economic downturn.

“Since our national expansion in 2010, we have received applications from kids in all 50 states. It’s becoming more evident every day as application rates increase in certain cities, that the economy has taken its toll on working-class families whose children desperately need braces,” said Andrea Umbreit, director of marketing and communications for SCL.

Orthodontic practices interested in joining Smiles Change Lives determine how many pro bono cases they would like to treat each year and the charity conducts a thorough application and screening process for applicants. Only those youth who meet all program guidelines, show motivation, and have the greatest need are approved for the program.