In celebration of its annual sponsorship of National Orthodontic Health Month, this October the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is encouraging orthodontists who sponsor Halloween candy buy-back programs to consider a new beneficiary: the AAO’s Donated Orthodontic Services (DOS) program, a 501(c)(3) charitable entity.ADDITIONAL READING |Four ways to generate more new patient referrals Through its network of volunteers, the organization provides care to low-income children and teens who do not qualify for other types of treatment coverage. “This is an easy way to help DOS provide access to care to kids in need,” says Robert E. Varner, DMD, president of the AAO. “Many orthodontists donate candy buy-back proceeds to a charity of choice, and we are asking that 2014 donations go to helping those in need of orthodontic treatment. Kids who turn in their candy will be helping other kids get needed orthodontic care.”ADDITIONAL READING |Something CAN be done to get lapsed dental patients back into your practice Candy buy-back programs work by paying each participant a specific dollar amount for every pound of Halloween treats “surrendered.” Each sponsoring doctor or practice determines the per-pound price paid to participants, and sets limits such as who is eligible to participate, a maximum number of pounds of candy surrendered per person and/or a maximum number of pounds of candy overall that will be accepted. AAO members can visit https://www.aaoinfo.org/practice/marketing/orthodontic-health-month/candy-buy-back (login required) for ideas and materials to help set up this special program. “Doctors generally match the amount paid to participants with a donation to a favorite charity — we hope this year it will be the AAO’s DOS program,” says Dr. Varner. “Thanks to generous donations to DOS from Align Technology, Dentsply, and Sesame Communications, we are in a position to help more kids than ever see an orthodontist,” says Dr. Varner. “Our goal is to continue to help local communities become aware that help may be available to kids who really need it, and donations from candy buy-back programs will help.” All donations are tax deductible. Checks can be made payable to AAO DOS Program and sent to the AAO headquarters at 401 N. Lindbergh, St. Louis, Missouri, 63141, Attn: Sandie Young. This is the first year that individuals can donate to DOS. All dental professionals are invited to contribute to the AAO’s DOS program. DOS is active in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia. AAO members who are interested in becoming DOS providers in these states may contact their state DOS chair or state orthodontic organization. Dentists in these states who are seeking pro bono treatment for a patient should contact the Dental Lifeline Network program administrator at (866) 201-5906. AAO members who wish to start a DOS program in their state can visit https://www.aaoinfo.org/practice/patient-management/aao-donated-orthodontic-services-program for information and materials or contact Ann Sebaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.