Smiles Forever began 18 years ago as a Dental Hygiene School in Cochabamba, providing vocational training for homeless, indigenous women. Our mission has expanded to bring dental care to thousands yearly. This award-winning model for giving dental care in the 3rd World, capitalizes on the trainees internship time, under the leadership of our dental professionals, operating an at-cost clinic. This fall our education moves to a higher level by partnering with the local university.
Dental care for the indigenous population was virtually non-existent in Bolivia when Smiles Forever was founded. We have fashioned a teaching and service model for bringing dental treatments to the under-served .both within the city of Cochabamba and the surrounding areas. Bolivians suffer from poor diet which can destroy protective enamel. Even children may have severe abscesses and staining and tooth loss. We now serve 16 shelters for children, but so many more could be helped.
Smiles Forever will continue to give young Bolivian women an opportunity to learn the profession of Dental Hygiene. Besides going to schools and shelters, the team now goes to communities, including a jungle village. With our new plan, a student will receive 3rd-year training in conjunction with a local university. This will assure better placement in a Dental Hygiene job. This superior training/treatment/service model grows exponentially improving dental health & lives.
These newly trained professionals are role models for other homeless, indigenous women and they are committed to raising the level of dental care, thus by extension, the overall health and financial well-being of their communities. Spreading the word about decay prevention can alleviate needless suffering and stop the practice of pulling teeth as the only solution. These Bolivian women will in turn offer their own children better dental care and carry the message that good teeth can be saved.