Buffalo Grove dentist plays Halloween scrooge — for a good cause
Forever Smiles orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky and his wife Anna show off the candy they've collected that will be shipped to U.S. troops serving overseas. Kids receive tokens and healthier teeth for the effort. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:04AM
BUFFALO GROVE — Dentists typically profit from children who eat too much candy — yet one Buffalo Grove office is asking kids to turn in their Halloween hauls.
Forever Smiles, located at 600 W. Lake-Cook Road, suite 150, is participating in the Halloween Candy Buyback Program launched by Operation Gratitude, a California nonprofit that sends care packages to military personnel overseas.
Anna Razdolsky, operational manager for Forever Smiles, said she knows from experience how much candy Buffalo Grove kids have to share.
“When my daughter goes to trick-or-treat, she brings home at least 15 to 20 pounds of candy,” Razdolsky said. “So what do I do with it?”
The answer, she suggested, is donate it to Operation Gratitude’s care packages. Through Nov. 15, trick-or-treaters can drop their loot off at the office of orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky, and in return will receive a variety of prizes and tokens from the office.
Forever Smiles typically sends about 50 pounds of candy after Halloween to the California National Guard armory, which houses Operation Gratitude.
“This is what Operation Gratitude is all about,” said Rich Hernandez, the group’s director of operations.
Founded in 2003, the nonprofit has sent about 800,000 care packages to American bases around the world.
Through Forever Smiles, the Buffalo Grove effort will pay off in care packages reaching their destinations in time for the holidays.
Yan and Anna Razdolsky founded Forever Smiles in 1987. Yan earned a graduate degree in orthodontics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He remains the office’s sole dentist, though he employs 10 assistants and operates eight chairs.
Anna reported that they and dentists everywhere are seeing fewer adults. Referencing the lingering recession, she said grown-ups now comprise only 30 percent of Forever Smiles’s clientele, though they continue to send their kids in at a steady pace. About 100 children visit the their office every day, she said.
Yan said Halloween goodies can be particularly hard on some of his finest work: braces.
“Caramels, taffies, licorice, bubble gum and candy bars with nuts or toffee in them can bend wires and cause brackets to come loose,” he warned.