Abuse Survivors Can Smile Again Thanks to Dallas Dentists …Give back a smile!
MADISON, Wis.- With domestic abuse on the rise, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation (AACDCF) is actively pursuing its mission to help survivors of intimate partner abuse restore damaged smiles and their confidence through the Give Back a Smile (GBAS) program. It’s the only national assistance program that focuses on repairing teeth due to intimate partner violence.
According to a 2012 survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, 56 percent of law enforcement agencies reported that the poor economy is driving an increase in domestic conflict, up from 40 percent of agencies in a similar survey in 2010. This increase means there are likely more survivors who will require help to get the dental work they need.
On average, GBAS volunteer dentists donate $9,000 in confidential dental services per patient. The treatment team typically consists of dentists along with their in-office teams, and a dental laboratory. In some cases, dental specialists are needed, such as an oral surgeon. A local domestic violence advocate or social service professional often supports the patient during dental treatment.
Currently, there are around 300 applicants being treated through GBAS in the United States and Canada. AACDCF dentists completed 139 smile restorations worth more than $1.4 million in donated services between June 2011 and June 2012. The AACDCF wants to increase completed cases to around 200 annually. Eligible adults can apply here for the program.
«We know that 75 percent of physical damage from domestic battery occurs on the face,» says Trish Jones, AACDCF Board of Trustees Chair. «We also know that a great smile is directly tied to a person’s self-confidence; that’s why our program has been a valuable resource to more than 1,000 women since we started GBAS in 1999.»
The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reports that 1 in 4 women have been violently attacked by their husbands or boyfriends. Victims are encouraged to contact www.givebackasmile.com or call toll-free 800.773.4227 for more information.
Each applicant is carefully pre-screened to determine if she is truly in need of GBAS’ specific offerings and wants to be a productive and accountable member of society. Those requirements, along with a $20 application fee or 10 hours of completed community service before treatment is started, make for a successful experience for both the candidate and the dental treatment team.
Domestic Violence Facts
From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) wwwncadv.org
-One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
-An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
-85% of domestic violence victims are women.
-Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
-Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of non-fatal intimate partner violence.
-Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
About Give Back a Smile
The Give Back a Smile program launched May 27, 1999. Since then, AACD member dentists, dental laboratories, and other dental professionals have volunteered their time and expertise pro bono, to restore the damaged smiles of more than 1,200 survivors of intimate partner violence for a total dollar value of more than $12 million.
Give Back a Smile was developed to address a need in the communities of AACD members. Volunteer dentists and laboratory technicians agree to restore broken and damaged teeth in the smile-zone of survivors of intimate partner violence. AACD dentists help erase memories of abuse by restoring smiles at no cost to survivors thereby restoring their lives.
LOCAL DENTAL CONTACT: Dr. Susan Hollar (Arlington, TX) is an accredited fellow with the AACD who is seeking patients for the Give Back a Smile program.