The Build Your Smile Dental Foundation was born from the simple idea that progressive dental care shouldn’t only be a right afforded to those who can afford the luxury. It was on a mission trip to rural Uganda that Dr. Izchak Barzilay recognized this simple truth. ‘Why is it,’ he mused, ‘that one’s oral health should be determined by status or place of birth? Why is it that the availability should be lacking in an age where information is so readily available? Are these people any less deserving?’ And with that, he committed himself and his team to give back on annual trips to Uganda. Each year the size of the team grew, along with the sponsors who identified with his vision.
The work that started in Uganda didn’t stay there. What began as simple extractions and education on how to maintain the remaining teeth that were left evolved into innovating new technologies that provided the population with new teeth –and thus Dentures-in-a-Day was created. News spread throughout the Ugandan communities and it was not uncommon to hear of people walking for days to be treated in the next village. As the need grew, so did our local networks, and we expanded beyond care and into training dental officers on the ground in Uganda.
By this point, many members of Dr. Barzilay’s home practice, Prosthodontic Associates, had been involved with the Uganda missions – either in preparation in Toronto or on the ground in Africa. It was troubling to some, however, that there remained vulnerable members of our own community who, while having many of our modern conveniences, were still lacking in adequate oral care. One particular subset were the women of Street Haven at the Crossroads, who, due to life’s uncertainties, had been left with difficulty smiling – perhaps both physically and emotionally. It became a mission around the office to help these women smile again – and often. Not only has this initiative led to multiple women receiving dental restorations, the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation has provided dental supplies including toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss, and has organized clothing drives to supply clothing donations to the deserving women in Street Haven’s care.
What started out as a passion project has grown at a rate we could never have predicted. Along the way, the work of the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation has inspired not only the team at our local practice, but also many of our suppliers, providers, and educational partners who have been extraordinarily generous in donating their products, time, and team members to the cause.
We are continuing to grow and hope we can count on you to join us!