October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Did you know that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime? Maybe you or someone you know has already experienced this violence at the hand of a loved one.
Around 75 percent of physical assaults are to the head, neck and mouth, resulting in substantial dental injuries. Bruises and scars fade, but broken and missing teeth cannot repair themselves. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation’s Give Back a Smile (GBAS) program restores damaged front teeth for survivors of domestic abuse.
Since the inception of the Give Back a Smile program, more than 1,500 survivors of domestic violence have received life-changing smile restorations all across the United States. There are currently more than 70 survivors of domestic or sexual violence receiving smile restorations. These services are provided free through the GBAS network of volunteer cosmetic dentists and other dental professionals.
How Give Back a Smile Works
1. Domestic violence survivors who have suffered dental injuries in the smile zone from abusive intimate partners, family members or as a result of sexual assault, can contact GBAS toll-free at 800.773.GBAS (4227).
2. Survivors must make an appointment with a counselor, domestic violence advocate, social worker or therapist to complete the advocate section of the GBAS application.
3. GBAS conducts the initial review of the application. However, the dentist has the final say as to the eligibility of the applicant.
4. If the applicant is eligible, GBAS connects the survivor with a local volunteer who provides treatment at no charge to the recipient.
To learn about how you can support survivors of domestic abuse and reinvigorate efforts to end violence, visit the GBAS website at www.givebackasmile.com.
And if you or someone you know could be helped by Give Back a Smile, please visit,www.givebackasmile.com as well.
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