At ALTA SMILES, we know the power of a beautiful smile! We help transform beautiful smiles every day, and we’re passionate about supporting organizations that share this goal. One of the three charitable causes we wholeheartedly support is Smile Train. This top-rated non-profit provides life-changing oral surgery to correct disfiguring cleft palates in children all over the world. We’ll give you some background on Smile Train, tell you why we support them at ALTA SMILES, and how you can too.
The Impact of a Cleft Palate/Lip
Did you know that 1 in 700 children is born with a cleft lip or palate? It’s one of the most common birth defects affecting more than 200,000 children around the world every year. A cleft palate or lip results from the facial structures not closing properly in utero. It appears as a split or opening in the lip or the roof of the mouth. The separation can extend into the base of the nose and upper jaw on one or both sides. When left untreated, many have issues when breathing, hearing, speaking, and eating.
While this condition is heartbreaking to see, the good news is a simple reconstructive surgery can treat it. The surgery takes approximately 45 minutes and costs just $250. However, many developing countries don’t have access to the resources or money to support having the deformity corrected. Often, this leads to quality of life issues and cultural stigmas in many countries.
Giving Every Child the Chance to Smile
Since 1999, Smile Train has supported more than 1.5 million cleft surgeries in 90+ countries. But their focus goes beyond providing life-changing surgeries. Smile Train provides comprehensive care, which involves dental and orthodontic care as well as speech therapy. They also have hearing, nutrition, and counseling services.
Smile Train has a sustainable model where they train local doctors to perform cleft repair surgery. This approach is more efficient than sending outside surgeons into these communities, and local physicians can more quickly respond to treating this condition. And time is of the essence. Most experts say that cleft lips should be treated within the first three to six months after birth. Cleft palates typically can be operated on when a baby is between eight and twelve months.
Our Unique Approach to Charitable Giving at ALTA SMILES
When you become a patient at an ALTA SMILES location, you get to be a part of our mission and helping those in need! At the start of your orthodontic care, you can choose a charity you would like us to support in your honor. Each year, we contribute to Smile Train and the two other charities that are near and dear to our heart. Not only will you get a beautiful smile, but someone else will too. And that’s something to really smile about!
The ALTA SMILES Difference
At ALTA SMILES, we believe in making high quality orthodontic and dental care accessible and affordable to everyone. Our approach to charitable giving is just one way we’re different from other orthodontic providers. To learn more, schedule a free consultation today.