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Service for a smile: Teens can volunteer to earn credit towards paying for orthodontics

Leigh Ann Laube • May 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Scott Cureton enjoyed volunteering as a teen, but remembers that he needed a good reason to do it. He’s hoping to provide local youth an incentive to volunteer through Cureton Orthodontics’ Community Smiles program.

Cureton has just started the program as a way for his young patients and their parents to ease the financial burden of paying for orthodontic treatment. At the same time, he’s hoping to spark interest in area’s youth to give back to the community.

“I came up with this idea targeted to give our kids a reason to go out and participate in community service,” he explained. “And help give them a sense of responsibility,” his wife Emily added.

Cureton Orthodontics, on East Center Street in Kingsport, will give participating new patients $10 credit toward their orthodontic treatment for every hour they complete at one of Cureton’s affiliated community services organizations, up to $500 total. Patients must present a signed voucher after each completed community service event to the Cureton front desk to receive credit. Only patients who do not already receive financial assistance from insurance or any other discounted fee are eligible to participate. Also, only patients who qualify for Full Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment may participate.

Right now, Cureton patients can earn volunteer hours through the United Way of Greater Kingsport, Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Habitat for Humanity, the Kingsport Public Library, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee and the Salvation Army of Kingsport.

Cureton, who owns Cureton Orthodontics with his father Steven, said he would entertain the idea of having other non-profits join that list. Interested organizations should contact him.

“I’m interested to see the patients who are already involved in community service,” he said. “We would accept another organization, but we want them to do it during the course of their treatment.”

The vast majority of Cureton’s patients are between the ages of 10 to 15 and need braces which, on average, cost around $5,000.

“The program is for full treatment targeted to teens, but if an adult comes in and wants to do the same thing, I’ll be happy to do it,” he said. “We want to trickle them in at first, so it’s only open to new patients with no insurance right now.”

According to the terms of the program, patients can complete a maximum of five service hours a month for 10 months. That way, they’re completing their 50 hours during the course of the treatment. Any cash credit earned through community service is redeemable at the office, while treatment is active and while an account balance still exists. No credit will be redeemed after treatment is complete, and no refunds will be given for credits earned after the balance has been met.

Only community service projects done in the city of Kingsport or ones that have a direct or indirect positive effect for the city or its citizens will be accepted in the Community Smiles program.

Even though the program is brand new, Emily said they’re getting positive feedback already from patients.

“I hope every patient who qualifies will do it,” Scott said. “I encourage parents to volunteer with the kids. This is solely about trying to get them out there doing community service.”

Cureton Orthodontics has been serving Kingsport residents since 2001. The office moved to its current location near Ross N. Robinson Middle School in 2011. For more information about Cureton or the Community Smiles program, call 246-7121, email smile@curetonortho.net , visit www.curetonortho.net or find them on Facebook.

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