The Build Your Smile Dental Foundation
...because smiles have no borders.
For the last five years, the team at Prosthodontic Associates, under the leadership of Dr. Izchak Barzilay, has been volunteering its time and professional expertise through Bridge to Health Medical and Dental. Team members have been traveling annually to rural regions of Uganda, providing complimentary dental services to these underserved and often impoverished communities. Each volunteer finances their own flight and accommodations, and all donations are allocated and earmarked directly to the purchase of equipment and supplies.
What began as a personal passion project quickly BECAME a mission and lifetime commitment for the entire team. Our goals and mandate are driven and inspired by enthusiasm and a desire to expand the reach in the delivery of dental services to those less fortunate locally and abroad.
The Build Your Smile Dental Foundation- a Registered Canadian Charity - was born as a means to facilitate and sustain this mission; to bring the responsibility, excitement, and commitment felt by its volunteers to an expanded audience.
The Foundation’s principal volunteers are individual dental professionals from a variety of disciplines and roles, dedicated to and passionate about helping those less fortunate, regardless of race, religion, beliefs or nationality.
The Foundation’s international initiative currently operates in collaboration with Kigezi Health Care Foundation (KIHEFO), a reputable local non-governmental organization in rural Uganda. The principal goal of the outreach program is to deliver critical dental care to impoverished communities who would not otherwise have access to even the most basic oral health care. Over the course of the outreach, the team travels hundreds of kilometers through the Kabale region where rudimentary schoolhouses and classrooms are transformed into makeshift dental centres. The dental services offered to the communities include emergency and pain management, dental extractions, restorations including dentures and implants, dental hygiene services, preventive fluoride applications, oral hygiene instructions as well as nutritional counselling.
The Foundation team is dedicated not only to delivering on everyone’s right to access the highest standard of care possible, but in addition, has supplemented basic dental services with a first of its kind prosthodontic treatment program. In this manner, the program is unprecedented and unique offering all its patients in rural communities’ access to otherwise unattainable treatment including same day tooth replacements through immediate denture fabrication and dental implant placement.
Education and sustainability are integral parts of the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation’s philosophy. In order to ensure a lasting impact, the Foundation has introduced several academic initiatives; lectures and hands-on demonstration presented by the volunteers to the Ugandan dental professionals, as well as evening seminars and interactive discussions. In order to expand on our commitment to education, the Foundation recently hosted the Inaugural International Dental Symposium at the Makarere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda. At the symposium, multiple Canadian educators shared their knowledge with 300 Ugandan students, Deans and Program Supervisors through a series of lecture presentations and demonstrations. The Build Your Smile Dental Foundation has also introduced the Global Academic Grant – a scholarship program which sponsors one student each academic year and supports them through the complete three-year Dental Officer training program in Uganda. The Foundation is very proud of its academic initiatives and envisions both the International Dental Symposium and the Academic Grant as long-term commitments to the communities of Uganda.
The Foundation was honoured to receive endorsements for its outreach efforts from the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, The Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Doug Ford, and the Mayor of Toronto, His Worship John Tory.
At the local level, the Foundation has initiated and established partnerships with two supportive housing facilities -Street Haven at the Crossroads, an emergency shelter for homeless women, as well as The Grant House, a residential treatment centre for women afflicted with addiction.
This initiative aims to improve dental awareness. It provides dental care at no cost to the women involved and recreates smiles to empower these women for their re-entry into the workforce and their communities. The ability to smile again creates a life altering impact for these women in many cases. The services offered to the women of Street Haven and The Grant House include emergency care (trauma, infection, pain control), restoration, periodontal services, oral surgery, and missing tooth replacement (dental implants or dentures). Oral hygiene instructions are provided, along with smoking cessation support and nutritional counselling.
The residents of these facilities are primarily homeless women, victims of domestic violence, women afflicted with addiction and mental health disorders, former sex workers and women released from incarceration. Dental disease, mouth and facial pain, oral infections and tooth loss are a direct result of lifestyle factors, substance abuse, poor nutrition, inadequate oral hygiene, violence and poverty. The services provided by the Foundation have an immediate impact on function and esthetics which are otherwise unattainable to the women served by the team. These interventions improve the ability to eat, speak and smile, building confidence and self esteem, offering hope, and supporting their ability to re-enter the workforce, positively impacting their lives far beyond the dentist’s chair.
Additionally, the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation proudly supports the Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program. By increasing access to oral care and providing complimentary dental services to Toronto’s vulnerable Holocaust survivors, the program allows these deserving individuals to age with dignity, enhance their dental function and esthetics, and improve their overall quality of life.
It is our commitment to provide the highest standard of clinical care and education to each of the communities and patients we serve. Because smiles have no borders…
To learn more about the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation or to join this dynamic team, please visit www.buildyoursmile.org.
PA's HUMANITARIAN MISSION ABROAD
PA’s HUMANITARIAN MISSION AT HOME
Prosthodontic Associates is a world-renowned dental facility in Toronto, led by Dr. Izchak Barzilay. He and his team have provided free dental care to communities in Uganda for several years. In 2016, the team wished to extend their charitable work to those in need closer to home and created Phoenix Smiles, partnering with Street Haven to provide reconstructive dentistry to women experiencing homelessness.
Since then Phoenix Smiles has restored the smiles of five women who required extensive dental work, supplying all the necessary materials as well as the teams’ time and expertise. In addition, they regularly send much needed dental supplies to the women residing at the Street Haven Emergency Shelter including toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss. And over the holidays, the team organized a drive to supply Street Haven’s clothing donation room.
“As prosthodontists we have so much to offer to our patients both here and abroad. Phoenix Smiles has partnered with Street Haven to provide smiles to those who have had their smiles taken away due to circumstance. A smile is so important in many ways and we hope that by providing the outer smile, we can enhance the inner smile.”
Click here to learn more about PA's work at Street Haven.