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Restore Smiles During Domestic Violence Awareness Month

September 27, 2017 by AACD Executive Office

By Lisa Fitch, CAE, Director of AACD Charitable Foundation

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s a time to remember those who’ve lost their lives because of domestic violence, celebrate those who’ve survived, educate the public about this serious social issue, and reinvigorate efforts to end violence.

The Facts

Domestic violence can be a tough topic to talk about. The unfortunate reality is that there is a good chance that you know someone who has experienced it or that it has even occurred under your own roof. Domestic violence affects both women and men and is pervasive across all races, ethnicities, educational levels, sexual orientation and socioeconomic statuses. In the United States, one in three women and one in four men will experience physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetime. That means on average, every minute, nearly 20 people are physically assaulted (source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).

"In the United States, one in three women and one in four men will experience physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetime."


Domestic Violence is About Control

Contrary to popular belief, someone doesn’t become violent out of frustration or anger or even because they had too much to drink. Domestic violence is a conscious decision to maintain power and control over another person. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. Each abusive relationship may be different, but in every case, varying tactics such as using intimidation, emotional abuse and isolation are used by abusers to gain and maintain power and control over the victim.

Tammy left her husband of 17 years after being hit in the face six times. He broke nose, damaged her teeth and gave her a concussion. He wouldn’t even let her seek medical attention after the assault. For three years after the assault, she never laughed and had to teach herself how not to smile because she was afraid her missing teeth would show. Tammy was connected with Give Back a Smile, and right after her smile was restored, she went to a party for the first time in a long time. She had confidence again. She talked to friends, laughed and smiled so hard that her face hurt. Because of her new smile, Tammy has a new start.

Give Back a Smile Heals Effects of Domestic Violence

Around 75% of physical assaults are to the head, neck and mouth areas (source: “Enhancing Dental Professionals Response to Intimate Partner Violence”), which result in a great deal of dental injuries. Bruises and scars fade, but broken and missing teeth cannot repair themselves. So the AACD Charitable Foundation (AACDCF) focuses its efforts on restoring the smiles -- and lives -- of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Since the inception of the AACDCF’s Give Back a Smile program, more than 1,600 survivors of domestic violence have received life-changing smile restorations all across the United States. 

How You Can Help in October and All Year Round 

Participate in the Virtual Race for Smiles 
Step up and get active October 13-15 in support of Give Back a Smile. Find out more here.

Attend a Domestic Violence Awareness Month Event
Find an event near you.

Wear purple in October to increase awareness of domestic violence

Purple is the official color of domestic violence and symbolizes peace, courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending violence.

Contact your local domestic violence agency and ask how you can help
Find an agency near you, www.domesticshelters.org

Invest in Restoring Smiles
Make a financial contribution to the AACD Charitable Foundation.

And if you’re a dentist:

Restore the smile of a survivor of domestic violence

Sign up to become of GBAS Volunteer Dentist

Participate in the GBAS Whitening Challenge

Whiten your patients’ teeth while supporting survivors of domestic violence

Click here to learn more about the cause and effects of domestic violence.

Click here to learn more about the AACD Charitable Foundation’s Give Back a Smile program.

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