A smile for Haley

Search Dental Tribune

A smile for Haley

Haley, a Tomorrow's SMILES teen, and Dr. Laurie Gordon, Tomorrow's SMILES volunteer dentist. (DTI/Photo NCOHF)
Dental Tribune USA

Dental Tribune USA

Thu. 16 August 2012


NEW YORK, N.Y., USA: Haley was afraid to smile and even laugh. When she smiled, it was quickly followed by cruel jokes and harsh nicknames like “Hillbilly Hick Haley” from her classmates. She hated to laugh because once her peers saw her crooked teeth, their laughter would be at her expense. If she did, Haley shamefully covered her mouth with her hands, in an effort to spare herself from the ridicule that always followed her smile.

As if the emotional pain that resulted from her poor oral health wasn’t disheartening enough, the added physical pain that Hayley endured each day made it almost impossible to live a normal life. The pain she felt in her teeth was so severe that it hindered her academic performance. Clenching her teeth in an effort to relieve her agony, she found it difficult to concentrate on her studies.

Her parents longed to be able to help their daughter, but they were unable to find steady employment to support their five children. Struggling to make ends meet, there was never enough to take care of Haley’s dental needs.

Seeing this promising teen suffering in pain, a Teen REACH Coordinator at her local Boys & Girls Club contacted Tomorrow’s SMILES for help. Sponsored by the Patterson Foundation and Philips Sonicare, Tomorrow’s SMILES is a teen program of National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy (NCOHF) providing at-risk adolescents with comprehensive oral health services to help prepare them for healthy and productive futures. Through this program, caring volunteer dentists provide pro-bono restorative services for a prescreened underserved teen and have access to generously donated products from Invisalign and Nobel Biocare (including Procera).

“She is a remarkable young woman who is plagued every day by poor dental health,” said Michael, a Boys & Girls Club Teen REACH Coordinator. “Her poor oral health negatively impacts her both physically and emotionally. The physical pain distracts her on a daily basis and the constant teasing from her peers erodes her self-esteem.”

He noted, “The opportunity to participate in Tomorrow’s SMILES would mean the world to her, and she deserves it.” Michael gave Haley the program application, and she returned it to him the very next day.

She was so excited about the possibility of finally having a beautiful, pain-free smile that she couldn’t wait until the following Monday and made a special trip to the club just to turn in her application. “It would be a big honor if the Tomorrow’s SMILES program helped me with my teeth,” said Haley. “This would help me to improve my people skills and my school work because I wouldn’t have to think about my teeth hurting so much and could concentrate more on school. Please help me.”

Thanks to Laurie Gordon, DDS and Neil Warshawsky, DDS, members of Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity and volunteer Tomorrow’s SMILES dentists, Haley’s life is about to change. With their help through Tomorrow’s SMILES, Haley will be able to laugh and let her wonderful personality shine through a beautiful smile.

In return for life-changing oral health services, Haley will Pay It Forward by teaching oral health lessons to young children in her community. As Tomorrow’s SMILES teens give back by serving as mentors and teachers to children, they will help break the cycle of pediatric dental disease.

You can help transform a teen’s needless pain and suffering into a beautiful smile and the promise of a brighter future by volunteering for Tomorrow’s SMILES. To learn more about Tomorrow’s SMILES, visit www.TomorrowsSMILES.org. Email Brenda Woodington at bwoodington@ncohf.org to volunteer to save a smile and change a teen’s life today!

(Source: NCOHF)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *