OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (WDEF) – A local orthodontist is doing his part to make sure children can smile without the threat of being bullied because of their teeth.
Anyone who has ever needed braces as a kid knows what it like to be called names like ‘bucktooth.’
Unfortunately, not every parent can afford orthodontics which average between $4000 and $8000.
Jerry Adari, 22, of Chattanooga was once one of those kids who grew up being bullied because he needed orthodontic services.
“I learned very quickly that kids are mean. They came up with all these various nicknames. I became very difficult to want to go to school,” Adari said.
As he got older, he became more aware of how people payed more attention to his teeth and less attention to what he was saying.
“Whenever I start talking to someone new; making eye-contact, when I open my mouth, I see them look down and I see their expression change. To me that was obviously very hurtful,” Adari said.
Adari knew he needed help, but the type of help he required was too expensive for his family.
“I couldn’t afford it. My mom told me that was something we needed to put off for now,” Adari said.
Fortunately, Adari found Dr. DeWayne McCamish; a local orthodontist who has been providing pro bono orthodontic treatment to children his entire career. Dr. McCamish is part of a network of orthodontist that take part in Donated Orthodontic Services.
“We actually administer it through Dental Lifeline Networks,” MCamish said.
Dental Lifeline Networks is governed by a board of orthodontist and orthodontic suppliers that oversee every aspect of the free service.
“Individuals that otherwise would not be able to financially afford it are allowed access to care, and it’s all about access to care,” McCamish said.
The network also makes sure people aren’t scamming the system to get free orthodontics.
“They are vetted though a process to make sure that financially, they are eligible to be treated by Donated Orthodontics Services,” McCamish said.
As for Adari, his smile has improved and so has his outlook on life.
“I’m incredibly thankful,” Adari said.
To learn more about Dental Lifeline Networks or Donated Orthodontic Services, click here.
To learn more about Dr. McCamish’s practice, click here.