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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dentistry program gives hope to violence survivors

By Terri Rimmer
Updated: 09/20/05
Women who once might have found it hard to smile can now grin from ear to ear thanks to a charitable cause.

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This story was written by Citizen Journalist Terri Rimmer. We encourage you to click the Tip Jar to support this writer's work. By Terri Rimmer
HappyNews Citizen Journalist

The Give Back A Smile program, a charity foundation of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, helps restore dental damage to victims of domestic abuse.

The group partnered with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) to conduct the program. The organization, whose vision statement reads "Restore a smile, restore a life," launched in 1999 and allows dentists to give back to the community.

"Through the Give Back A Smile program, AACD members assist survivors of domestic violence for free by treating them so that they may reclaim their smiles, self-esteem, and ultimately, their lives," said AACD Foundation Chairman, Erin Roberts, in a press release.

Cosmetic work is done on survivors whose injuries are to the front teeth or supporting structures for those teeth. First, a survivor must call set up a consultation with a counselor. All applicants must have at least one interview, and if approved, the AACD will contact a dentist in the relevant area who has volunteered for the program. In the end, this dentist will have the final say in whether or not an applicant is approved.

Currently, the program is treating 177 people across the United States, and on Sept. 15, the agency gave over $2 million for free cosmetic dental work for survivors of domestic abuse.

And so far it has been successful. Four years ago, Give Back A Smile won the Award for Excellence as well as the Summit Award in the Associations Advance America Awards program, a national competition.

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This story was produced by Happynews Citizen Journalist Terri Rimmer. Terri Rimmer works from Fort Worth, TX.
For more information on contributing to Happynews, click here.

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