Donated Orthodontic ServicesIntroduced in 2009, the AAO Donated Orthodontic Services (DOS) program reflects concern among AAO leadership and members about access to orthodontic treatment for children in need.  Access to quality dental care is acknowledged as being an issue of great proportion.  As a result, AAO facilitated the launch of charitable programs in five states:  Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey and Rhode Island; the program has recently expanded to serve Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.  The AAO DOS program mission is to serve indigent children without insurance coverage or that do not qualify for other assistance in their state of residence. 

The program is overseen by a Board of Directors composed of both AAO member orthodontists and corporate supporters from leading orthodontic suppliers.  Program development is overseen and administered by Dental Lifeline Network (DLN), the largest and most established dental charity providing access to comprehensive dental care to people with disabilities or who are aged or medically at risk. 

Each state interested in starting their own program has one or two orthodontists who volunteer as statewide DOS program chairs to lead patient recruitment efforts and encourage other doctors to volunteer.  These volunteers serve as liaisons with the participating orthodontists and state orthodontic association leaders as well as DLN to ensure that the programs run smoothly. 

Prospective DOS patients are intensively screened by DLN coordinators to assess financial need and to project levels of compliance with orthodontic treatment requirements.  Volunteer orthodontists are asked to accept at least one new DOS case each year, but determine their own patient load.  They are asked to review every case in advance and have the right to decline to treat any patient.  Orthodontists are not expected to underwrite the costs of appliances used in treatment and are encouraged to request donations of these materials from laboratories or orthodontic supply companies they normally use.


DOS Board

In addition to program oversight, the DOS Board is responsible for submitting program reports to the AAO Board of Trustees.  The DOS Board holds period meetings and most business is expected to be accomplished via conference calls/electronic discussions. DOS Board members do not receive any honorarium.

Charitable Entity

In 2014, the AAO established a charitable entity to serve the DOS program.  Set up as a 501(c)(3), this allows for acceptance of contributions on a tax-deductible basis. 

Past sources of funding include:

  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Constituent and Component contributions
  • Each patient that is accepted for treatment is charged a $200 fee to pay for program administrative and coordinating costs


While a number of well-respected charitable programs offer orthodontic treatment to needy children, the AAO program distinguishes itself as the Association’s program.  Further, DOS can be tailored to meet individual state needs.  From the onset, each state association is engaged to determine its own program eligibility and financial criteria for applicants to be sensitive to unique state situations.  Despite the opportunities to somewhat customize the design of each state program, once a DOS program is underway, operations are handled consistently.

A number of additional features have contributed to the DOS program’s success and acceptance by orthodontists:
  • Program fundraising is not required of volunteer orthodontists
  • You and your staff never have to worry about determining whether a DOS patient is truly in need
  • The AAO DOS program offers a low cost per patient to administer;  patient participation costs are low
  • The program helps enhance AAO’s public image, our credibility with legislators and serves to facilitate lobbying efforts


If you are interested in becoming a DOS program volunteer, you may call your state DOS program chair(s) or you may call Dental Lifeline Network directly at (866) 201-5906.


How to Donate

Tax-deductible donations to expand and sustain the program can be made by check made payable to the “AAO DOS Program” and mailed to:
AAO DOS Program
American Association of Orthodontists
401 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO  63141


This .ZIP file contains the materials you'll need to get your program started, including recruitment letters and brochures.