Back in October, Adirondack Orthodontics announced it would make the largest-ever donation of braces to kids in need in the Capital Region. The area practice worked in conjunction with Smiles Change Lives to donate treatment to 25 patients in need.
"For us it's all about the community," said Dr. Sergey Berenshteyn. "We've been in this area now for a little over five years and we've been lucky enough to have excellent feedback from our patients, so we wanted to make sure we could give back."
A screening was held where more than a hundred kids showed up to find out if they were eligible. One of those kids was Anastasia Hotaling. And while many people might be starting to take down their Christmas decor, Hotaling is adding a little tinsel to her teeth.
"Access to dental care in general, especially orthodontics, is a big deal," Dr. Berenschteyn said. "A lot of insurances don't cover it, and in our case we want to make sure the children who need orthodontic treatment the most are getting it."
The Hotaling family say they saw Spectrum News' story about the screening and decided to give it shot.
"She [Anastasia] really needs them and I was like, that'd be a good option for us," said Hannah Hotaling, Anastasia's mom. "Because with two kids, money's really tight."
Besides straightening her smile, Hannah is hoping this treatment fills in some other gaps too.
"So she can be comfortable smiling and everything and I know she's a little shy and she feels a little uncomfortable talking about her mouth," Hannah said. "But hopefully when her teeth get straightened she'll feel more comfortable saying, 'I had braces, it fixed my teeth and now I'm happy to smile.'"
And don't let her shy personality fool you, Anastasia is bracing herself for a gift that will last a lifetime, choosing purple bands for her new hardware, her favorite color. She also said she was excited to show them off to her friends once winter break ended.
Anastasia's treatment on Wednesday did not include the wiring of her braces yet. She'll need to have some teeth extracted to make space, then Dr. Berenschteyn will wire them.
Afterwards, in 18 to 24 months, Anastasia will have a brand new smile, all courtesy of the partnership with Smiles Change Lives.
Adirondack Orthodontics says it has started treatment for about 20 of the 25 patients chosen so far.