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May 1, 2009
“My name is Tasia. I have been in an abusive family since I was born.

by Joyce Bassett, DDS
Accredited member, AACD

“My name is Tasia. I have been in an abusive family since I was born. I didn't know my parents' relationship had a label, and I didn't know that growing up in this world would predispose me to choosing a mate just like my father. This re-created my parents' marriage in my own. When I met Walter, he was funny, charming, gregarious, and sexy. Our initial chemistry disguised his dark side. His unpredictable violent rage came in outbreaks of loud verbal bantering and browbeating. But over the years, it escalated into physical violence. In the beginning, he would bash his fist into the wall, and — as you can see in the photo below on the left — my face became the wall! I was beaten, broken, and helpless when I was taken to a shelter. The rules were clear and defined. I had to remain out of this destructive relationship, enter into counseling, and rebuild my life. I was financially destitute. Fortunately, the shelter's link to Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) sent me to a dental clinic that accepted me as a patient and gave me a partial denture to replace my bashed-out front teeth. I remained out of my abusive relationship for a year. I was accepted into the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry's Give Back A Smile program. The program matched me with a dentist who made me a permanent bridge. This changed my life. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a different person (see photo below on right). I couldn't take my eyes off my face. I was rejuvenated and amazed at how such a simple procedure could erase all those years of abuse. With the love, support, and guidance given to me by counselors, dentists, assistants, and laboratory staff, my confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth were restored. I now have a new career, a new husband, and a new life.”

Click here to enlarge image

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation, Dr. Joyce Bassett.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry's Charitable Foundation adopted a mission to support the health, growth, and development of society through three programs: Give Back A Smile, the Disaster Relief Fund, and the Educational Endowment Fund. Tasia's story is common among applicants in the Charitable Foundation's Give Back A Smile program. GBAS connects survivors of domestic violence with participating dentists, who restore their lives by restoring their smiles. This is done at no cost to the survivors. Millions of people are abused by a spouse or a partner annually. As word of GBAS spreads, there will be a greater demand for volunteer dentists and ceramists. Since the program's onset, AACD dentists have restored more than 700 smiles, and have improved survivors' confidence, pride, and self-image. These patients display such intense gratitude and appreciation that the hearts and lives of the volunteer dentists are changed forever, too. One need not be an AACD member to volunteer. In this economic downturn, many dentists are experiencing a slowdown and vacancies in their schedules. Increased downtime provides an opportunity to give back to the community, take on a survivor, invest in professional growth, and benefit from the good feeling that comes from “giving back a smile.”

You can also contribute through the GBAS whitening program by donating one or more of the whitenings performed at an office. The AACD's whitening program corporate sponsors — Discus Dental and Ultradent — will donate the whitening product. Dentists in the whitening program then donate revenue generated by the procedure.

The foundation's Disaster Relief Fund helps AACD member dentists who have become victims of Mother Nature. When floods, tornados, earthquakes, and forest fires turn lives upside down, the Disaster Relief Fund helps these dentists recover and rebuild their practices and lives. More than $80,000 was donated to help support fellow members in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The foundation's new Educational Endowment Fund provides scholarships to talented and deserving dental students. Selection is based on need and clinical skills in cosmetic dentistry. Educational Endowment Fund scholarships that advance the art and science of cosmetic dentistry are the only ones of their kind. Money donated to the endowment is permanently restricted for this purpose, and increases the number of dental students who will benefit from the generosity of dentists, dental companies, and laboratories.

Involvement in any and all of these worthy projects helps those with the greatest need, and allows dental professionals to fulfill their desire to make the world a better place through the gifts of dentistry. Dentists, hygienists, and assistants possess unique talents. They are the only ones who can provide the dental care that many people desperately need. Dental professionals are encouraged to join the AACD and participate in these programs. For more information and to take advantage of the opportunity to make a difference, dentists, team members, laboratory technicians, and dental manufacturers should contact Erin Roberts at the AACD at (800) 543-9220.

Joyce Bassett, DDS, graduated from the Ohio State University School of Dentistry. She is a Fellow and past president of the Academy of General Dentistry, an Accredited member of the AACD, a Fellow in the International Academy of Dental Facial Aesthetics, and has served on the editorial board of Practical Procedures & Aesthetic Dentistry. She is also the founder of the Women Teaching Women learning center, which is located in Scottsdale, Ariz. Contact Dr. Bassett by phone at (480) 367-8889, by e-mail at [email protected], or visit her Web site at www.drbassett.com.

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