Restore teenage smiles: No more bullying

March 21, 2012

Bullied for years and enduring cruel taunts from her classmates, Micah would cry herself to sleep every night.  The teasing grew worse with each passing day, and finally her peers resorted to cyber bullying, calling her names and posting their harsh words online for all to see.  Called “Tiger Teeth” by her peers, she found making friends difficult and suffered in pain every day.  “No one wants to be around the girl with ragged teeth,” she once remarked.

Bullied for years and enduring cruel taunts from her classmates, Micah would cry herself to sleep every night.  The teasing grew worse with each passing day, and finally her peers resorted to cyber bullying, calling her names and posting their harsh words online for all to see.  Called “Tiger Teeth” by her peers, she found making friends difficult and suffered in pain every day.  “No one wants to be around the girl with ragged teeth,” she once remarked.

Tomorrow’s SMILES®, a special program from the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF), was designed to help teens like Micah that desperately need dental care.  Through this innovative program sponsored by the Patterson Foundation, volunteer dentists provide pro bono services to promising at-risk teens in their community, restoring their self-esteem and encouraging them to take responsibility for their oral health. Tomorrow’s SMILES volunteer dentists also have access to generously donated products from Invisalign® and Nobel Biocare(including Procera®) to help restore the smiles of pre-screened, promising teens. 

In return for receiving this life-changing care, participating teens Pay It Forward by sharing their newfound oral health knowledge through interactive oral health lessons with younger children in their community.Tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood disease and it has reached epidemic proportions. Millions suffer in pain so severe, it inhibits their ability to eat, sleep and learn. Better access to oral health education can drastically reduce tooth decay as well as the financial and societal costs that result, which is why your support of this program is so important.

As you know, poor oral health can be devastating for an adolescent struggling to fit in and prepare for a successful future. Studies show that children with dental pain may be irritable, withdrawn, or unable to concentrate. This pain can affect test performance as well as school attendance. Suffering from the pain and embarrassment of her ugly smile, Micah lacked confidence and hope for a happy, successful future.

Her teacher and mentor at her local Alabama Boys & Girls Club had known Micah for several years and knew that she needed help. Micah was a bright student and worked well with all the children at the club, so her teacher reached out to the Tomorrow’s SMILES program for help.

As a Tomorrow’s SMILES teen, Micah no longer cries herself to sleep worrying about being ridiculed the following day.  Thanks to the generosity of Dawson Academy dentist, Dr. Keith Calvert, she is currently receiving life-changing dental care, and soon will have a restored smile and renewed confidence.  The individual who recommended Micah for the program commented, “Thank you seems so inadequate.  Tomorrow’s SMILES has changed her life.”  In fact, Micah was just named Youth of the Year of her Boys & Girls Club!

With hope and excitement about her future, Micah has this to say this about her career goals and wanting to become a teacher, “I can’t wait to have my teeth fixed so that people can hear what I say instead of being distracted by my teeth”.

Help transform a teen’s needless pain and suffering into a happy, beautiful smile and the promise of a brighter future by volunteering for Tomorrow’s SMILES. Visit www.TomorrowsSMILES.orgor email Brenda Woodington at bwoodington@ncohf.orgto learn more about this life-changing program!