Smile For a Lifetime

Smile for a Lifetime Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization that provides orthodontic care to individuals who may not have the opportunity to acquire assistance. It is our mission to create self-confidence, inspire hope, and change the lives of children in our community in a dramatic way. The gift of a smile can do all this for a deserving, underserved individual who, in turn, can use this gift to better themselves and our community. Launched in 2008, Smile for a Lifetime Foundation aims to reach individuals with financial challenges, special situations and orthodontic needs.

Dr. Hess and Dr. VanLandschoot founded the local chapter in 2016 as a way to reach those in need locally. Smile for a Lifetime of Hillsborough and Manatee County is run by a local board of directors that reviews applications and selects candidates. While Dr. Hess & Dr. VanLandschoot is the orthodontic provider for the foundation, they do not serve on the Board.

Who Qualifies

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be residents of either Hillsborough or Manatee County
  • generally between the ages of 11 and 18
  • family income of no more than 185% of poverty level. (In general, if the applicant qualifies for the free or reduced-price school lunch program, he or she will meet the financial qualifications of Smile for a Lifetime of Hillsborough and Manatee County.) if the applicant currently qualifies for Medicaid, he/she must include a letter of denial of treatment from Medicaid.
  • must have a significant aesthetic need for braces
  • must be a currently enrolled student
  • must have a positive attitude
  • must agree to follow the treatment plan, and demonstrate the ability and commitment to make all appointments on time
  • must be willing to complete 10 hours of community service during and after treatment.


How to Apply

To become a candidate, interested patients must complete or have completed for them, a Smile for a Lifetime Foundation application.

This includes:

  • Application form and questions: Click Here to Download.
  • Two letters of recommendation (Please do not submit more than two letters, and limit each reference letter to one page each. Letters should be from a someone who knows the applicant well, such as a teacher, doctor, or dentist. Letters should NOT be from family members. Please type or print clearly with black ink, no pencil, on letterhead if possible. Please include contact information so the board can follow up on references if necessary.)
  • Two pictures of the applicant (one smiling facial photo and one in which the applicant’s teeth are clearly visible)
  • Proof of income. This can be a recent pay stub or a copy of your most recent tax return.
  • A copy of the applicant’s most recent report card

Applications that do not meet these criteria will not be voted on by our Board of Directors. Our Board of Directors will meet quarterly to make their selections. Candidates will be notified by mail of their eligibility.

The application, letters of reference, and pictures will not be returned and will become property of Smile for a Lifetime foundation.

Return your completed application* to:
Smile for a Lifetime Foundation
c/o Hess & VanLandschoot Orthodontics
16307 FishHawk Blvd. Lithia FL 33547

*If you wish to email digital photos separate from the paper application, you may send them to the office at Please indicate the applicant’s name in your email message.

For questions call 813-645-4377 or email:

Income Eligibility Qualifications Forms - Click Here