The Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF) is marking International Women’s Day on March 8 by partnering with the Straumann Group to bolster its Rebuilding Smiles program, which supports dental volunteers who provide oral healthcare to victims of domestic violence.
“We are very grateful to Straumann Group for their support on this important program. Violence against women is never warranted, and this program seeks to help victims and survivors get the dental care they need so that they can have a fresh start to their lives,” said David Owen, ADHF chair.
In Australia, 41% of women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. Domestic violence survivors often experience immediate dental trauma as well as ongoing oral health problems related to lack of dental treatment.
Dental damage also serves as a visible reminder of the abuse that survivors have experienced and can greatly affect their confidence. From this perspective, the ADHF reports, restoring domestic violence survivors’ smiles and overall oral health can have a significant impact.
In 2017, Rebuilding Smiles received more than 60 applications for assistance from victims of domestic violence. According to the ADHF, 90% of these applicants were placed with a dentist who restored their dentition to a functional and aesthetic state, renewing much needed confidence as well.
One of these women had been living with her son in fear, poverty, and violence, the ADHF reports. She also had been experiencing ongoing pain from untreated tooth decay and had a front black tooth that gave her discomfort and made her feel embarrassed and self-conscious. Rebuilding Smiles helped her find treatment as she begins to rebuild her life.
The Straumann Group saw the ADHF’s work in its Rebuilding Smiles program and thought its business fit well with the types of services that might commonly be required by victims of domestic violence, according to the company.
“Victims who escape from domestic violence situations to the safety of shelters have little reason to smile. However, this is changing with the ADHF’s Rebuilding Smiles program. That is why Straumann Group felt this was such a worthy cause and recognized that we could make a difference by providing financial and product support to the program,” said Owen.
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