Organizations That Help Low-Income Children to Get Braces

Good oral hygiene and dental health are important for growing children. Unfortunately, the cost of quality dental care can be expensive. If your child needs braces and you do not have good dental insurance -- which also is expensive -- you'll have to pay at least a couple of thousand dollars out-of-pocket. The good news is that all across America you can find organizations that help low-income children to get braces.

Smiles Change Lives

Smiles Change Lives, based in Kansas City, accepts applications from low-income children in all 50 states. The program has helped improve the orthodontic health of more than 1,200 children in the United States since 1997. Eligible applicants must be between the ages of 11 and 18, have misaligned jaws or severely crooked teeth, and be part of a family that has a documented income that is at least 200 percent below the current national poverty line. As of 2010, qualified and accepted applicants are only required to pay a one-time initial fee of $250 to begin treatment.

University Of Colorado Dental School

The CUBraces program at Lazzara Center for Oral-Facial Health offers low-income kids orthodontic treatments and procedures at prices that are about half as much as a typical orthodontic clinic would charge. As part of the University Of Colorado Dental School, the CUBraces program is fully staffed by professors and resident doctors -- practicing dentistry -- of the college. All procedures are performed by students who have completed three years of specialty training in an orthodontic residency program after finishing their four-year general dentistry training. They are supervised by certified members of the orthodontic faculty.


Depending on what state you reside in, your child's braces may be paid for by the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program, or EPSDT. Children of low-income families on Medicaid are entitled by law to receive adequate dental services through the EPSDT program, and in some states orthodontic procedures and treatments are covered if they serve a medical purpose. If your family receives Medicaid, ask your caseworker if your state provides braces for low-income children. Some states that cover children's braces through EPSDT are Illinois, Connecticut, Arkansas, Iowa, Georgia and Virginia. Contact your local state Health Department to find out what your child's Medicaid plan will cover.