Every year, more than five million people are affected by domestic violence in the United States and Canada. While great efforts have been made to raise awareness of this issue, little has been publicized concerning the dental problems victims may face.
Victims may experience trauma to the jaw, including broken, chipped and knocked-out teeth. There is a significant need for programs like Give Back a Smile, whose member dentists are giving back by restoring the smiles of domestic abuse survivors. Give Back a Smile is dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence reclaim their smiles, their self-esteem and their lives.
The Give Back a Smile program is a charitable foundation of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a prominent national dental association committed to the art and science of cosmetic dentistry. Through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation (AACDCF), the Give Back a Smile program is dedicated to providing cosmetic dental care at no cost to survivors of domestic violence by:
- Raising awareness
- Providing volunteer members of the AACD
- Giving survivors hope for a better tomorrow
Since its inception in 1999, over 900 dental treatment cases have been completed, resulting in over $9 million dollars worth of donated dental work. Today, over 350 patients are being treated through the program. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry's efforts to give back to the community has earned it worldwide recognition, including the 2001 Award of Excellence from the prestigious Associations Advance America Summit Awards, which recognizes excellence in charitable organizations.
The Whitening Fundraiser
You don't have to be a cosmetic dentist to participate in Give Back a Smile. The recent establishment of the Give Back a Smile Whitening Program allows everyone to give back and help heal the effects of domestic violence while whitening their smiles. Discus Dental, Inc., the makers of the Zoom!® teeth whitening system, have agreed to donate whitening kits to volunteer dentists. Profits from the purchase of these dental products will be donated to the AACD Charitable Foundation. For a list of participating providers, contact the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Both men and women who have received injuries from a former partner or spouse are eligible for the Give Back a Smile program. Give Back a Smile is only responsible for correcting injuries to teeth in the smile-zone as a result of domestic violence. A volunteer dentist will perform an exam to finalize entry into the program and rule out other causes, such as previous neglect.
To meet the Give Back a Smile program's requirements, individuals must have been out of an abusive relationship for at least a year. Survivors are required to provide proof of domestic abuse, such as a signature from a counselor, social worker or case manager. Potential patients must fill out an application and undergo an interview process prior to being matched with a participating dentist who will make the final decision on the applicant's acceptance into the program.
If you or someone you know is a domestic abuse survivor in need of dental care, you can contact Give Back a Smile for help. You may apply online at http://www.givebackasmile.com/, call their hotline at (800) 773-GBAS (4227) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be made to the AACD Charitable Foundation at the address listed below.
There is a waiting list of applicants in some areas and volunteers are needed to help. The AACDCF needs dentists, laboratory technicians and other dental professionals to donate time and services to survivors of domestic abuse. If you're interested in giving back to your community, consider participating in the Give Back a Smile program. For further information on the Give Back a Smile program, please contact the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Address: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
402 West Wilson St.
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (800) 773 4227