Domestic violence survivors in Germany now have an opportunity to have their smiles restored through the expansion of the AACD Charitable Foundation’s (AACDCF) Give Back a Smile (GBAS) program in Germany.
GBAS, the AACDCF’s premier program, restores the smiles of those who have survived domestic violence and have sustained injuries to the smile zone. With the help of volunteer dentists and generous donations, the program is currently active in the U.S. and has helped more than 1,000 survivors to date.
Jurgen Wahlmann, DDS, was inspired to start the GBAS program in Germany after hearing the story of Mona, a domestic violence survivor who sustained injuries to her mouth after being shot at close range by a former partner. Mona spoke at the AACD’s Annual Scientific Session in Honolulu, Hawaii, several years ago. She told attendees of the session how GBAS restored her smile, and helped to change her life.
“Mona’s story was so emotional and impressive,” Wahlmann said.
He talked with the Board of Directors of the Germany Society of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the board agreed to start a GBAS program in Germany. After the AACD approved it, Wahlmann presented the program at the Germany Society’s annual meeting. The response was overwhelming, Wahlmann said.
“A lot of dentists and companies signed up for the program, and we hope to make GBAS in Germany as successful as it is in the U.S.,” he added.
Roughly 46,000 German women are estimated to spend some time at women’s refuges each year because of domestic violence, says BBC News. One in five women in Germany also suffers physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner, according to Deutsche Welle.
About Give Back a Smile
Give Back a Smile was developed to address a need in the communities of AACD members. Volunteer dentists and laboratory technicians agree to restore the broken and damaged teeth in the smile-zone of survivors of intimate partner violence. Generous AACD dentists help erase the memories of abuse by restoring the smiles at no cost to the survivor thereby restoring their lives. To date, AACD members have donated more than $10 million in services to restore smiles to help more than 1,000 individuals.