DeKALB – A local orthodontist office is spreading holiday cheer for the third year in a row, and has opened its annual essay contest for one lucky winner to receive a free braces treatment.
“This year, we will be donating 14 full orthodontic treatments to children in need, allowing us to provide the magical gift of a smile,” said Dr. Yaroslav Yarmolyuk, founder and president of Orthodontic Experts, in a company news release.
Orthodontic Experts of DeKalb is launching its annual Braces Giveaway Campaign, and is seeking candidates to receive a full orthodontic treatment for children, especially families that may not otherwise be able to afford braces. The Mount Prospect-based orthodontist office has locations in 14 cities in Illinois and Colorado, and is in its third year of the contest. The company will donate 14 sets of braces (a $75,000 value) to children who complete and submit an essay by Dec. 16 about why they want braces.
Amy Bradford of Somonauk has been working in the orthodontics field for 13 years, and said even though she works for a national company now, she’s proud of the annual giveaway contest that focuses on providing services to local children in need during the holidays.
“Kids are getting more and more self-conscious with social media these days, selfies, we all know there’s teasing and bullying,” Bradford said Wednesday. “If they’re not confident in their smile, it really affects them. That’s where this giveaway comes into play.”
Bradford has been working as clinic manager at the DeKalb office, 2335 Sycamore Road, since the company set up shop in DeKalb in 2016.
Contestants must be 18 or younger and write an essay explaining why they need braces. According to the application, participants must include pictures of themselves smiling with the essay, to better illustrate why they need orthodontic care and also to commit to documenting their braces journey through a minimum of five videos, which will be used by the company’s YouTube and social media pages.
Winners will receive a full orthodontic package: metal braces that include bonding (adhering the brace brackets to each tooth), adjustments, debonding and retainer checks, along with one set of Essex retainers.
The winners will be drawn Christmas Eve and will receive a personal phone call to notify them of their award. Full braces treatment costs more than $5,000, Bradford said, which is something many families can’t afford, especially if they have multiple children in need of oral treatments. The average treatment time for braces is 18 to 24 months, she said.
Braces can correct common problems like overly crowded or widely spaced teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position and jaw disorders, according to a news release from the company.
“When we think of orthodontics we think of the immediate satisfaction that you get with straight teeth and a beautiful smile,” Bradford said. “But it’s also a boost of confidence.”
Bradford also oversees welcoming all new patients and works out a treatment and financing plan for them, so she’s seen firsthand the financial toll oral care can take on a family.
“We have a lot of patients who, I don’t know if you’re familiar with state coverage, but there’s a process you have to go through,” she said. “It doesn’t automatically assure that you’re going to get braces covered. So for some of these kids, our braces giveaway is their last shot at getting them.”