Interested in Volunteering for Smiles 4 Canada? Here are the FAQs!
Why should I participate in Smiles 4 Canada?
As an orthodontist, you are familiar with the problems – psychological and physiological – that can attend malocclusions, especially for children. However, orthodontic treatment is not within the reach of all families: according to Statistics Canada, in 2012, about 6 million Canadians – nearly 20% of our population – were classified as “low income”.
Smiles 4 Canada is an opportunity for you to help children in this economically disadvantaged group improve their dental health, self-image and self-confidence so their chances of living a better life as adults are increased.
You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped improve the health and life of a child and that satisfaction – just like a child’s smile – is priceless!
What is the process?
Parents and/or guardians of children suffering from malocclusions are invited to submit an application to Smiles 4 Canada before their children reach their 14th birthday (18 in Manitoba). The application consists of:
- Patient Information Form – information about the child and his/her family, including contact information
- Copy of Birth Certificate
- Financial Information Form – substantiating family income to ensure the family meets the financial criteria. If the parents are separated or divorced, they will be asked to submit a copy of the separation agreement or divorce decree that outlines the support payments being made from the non-custodial parent.
- Personal Statement Form – a written statement from the child, explaining why s/he wants orthodontic treatment, and what his/her expectations of that treatment are
- Digital Photos – 6 images of the child (2 with lips at rest; 4 with the lips open), to assess the orthodontic need
- Personal Reference Form – a letter from a non-relative who knows the child, discussing the child’s character
- Program Rules, Expectations and Release Form – outlining the requirements of the program, the obligations of the child and his/her family, and releasing certain information to the CFAO and you
- Dental Examination Form – information from the child’s general dentist about the child’s caries rate, oral hygiene and the sufficiency of the child’s oral hygiene to support orthodontic treatment
The Application is reviewed by Smiles 4 Canada staff to ensure it is complete and then given to a Regional Committee whose members assess whether:
- The financial criteria are met
- The Personal Statement and Personal Reference Forms demonstrate the applicant is a worthy recipient of the gift of your treatment
- The nature of the malocclusion and any other orthodontic conditions
- The child’s dental health history and current status
If the Committee deems the child worthy to enter the program, the Committee will match him/her with a volunteer orthodontist. The orthodontist agrees to meet with the patient to complete a comprehensive examination and discuss treatment options. The orthodontist is able to make the final decision as to whether they are willing to treat the patient through the program. The orthodontist will also decide, in consultation with the patient’s family, on the initial treatment plan. Once the orthodontist and applicant’s family agree on a treatment plan, the applicant’s family will be asked to pay a $500, non-refundable administration fee to Smiles 4 Canada. This administration fee must be received before the orthodontist begins treatment. The administration fee will be used to fund the administration of the program and promote the program to orthodontists and the general public.
What are the patient’s responsibilities?
The patient’s responsibilities (and those of his/her family) are listed in the Program Rules, Expectations and Release Form, and are agreed to by the child’s parent/guardian. These consist of:
- Commitment to obtain any treatment necessary to allow you to begin the orthodontic care (this treatment is at the expense of the family, and is not covered by Smiles 4 Canada)
- Agreement to maintain regular appointments with the family’s general dentist and to comply with any treatment s/he recommends
- Commitment to keep the child’s mouth clean during the orthodontic treatment
- Agreement to attend all orthodontic appointments
- Agreement to wear rubber bands if prescribed by the orthodontist
- Agreement to follow the orthodontist’s recommendations regarding keeping the mouth healthy and clean, foods and drinks to avoid, emergencies with the braces, and appointment schedules
- Commitment to wear retainers following orthodontic treatment and to replace, at the family’s expense, retainers that become worn, damaged or lost
In addition, the child is to supply the CFAO with a report within three months of the end of treatment, outlining the way it helped him/her.
What are my responsibilities as the orthodontist?
The orthodontist will be asked to treat the patient to the same standard and with the same care as all of their patients. The orthodontist’s specific responsibilities will be:
- Take comprehensive pre-treatment records.
- Determine the patient’s treatment plan
- Complete and return Orthodontic Agreement to Smiles 4 Canada
- Provide comprehensive orthodontic treatment
- Monitor the patient’s cooperation during treatment
- Take comprehensive post-treatment records
- Provide the patient with one set of retainers
- Notify the Regional Committee when treatment has been completed
- Provide the Regional Committee with copies of the patient’s pre- and post-treatment photographs
If you find the child has not had any necessary pre-treatment work done, you may refuse to complete the orthodontic treatment. If you determine that the child is not maintaining proper oral hygiene, is not meeting the appointment schedule, is not wearing prescribed rubber bands and/or is not complying with your treatment-related recommendations, you may stop the treatment and remove the braces.