Open Wide Foundation: Dental Care for Underserved Communities | Curated by Nima Dayani
Here in the United States, it’s easy to take our access to quality dental care for granted. While certain procedures can be expensive, basic dental care is available in localities all across the country. This isn’t the case everywhere: Countless communities around the globe are without access to even the most basic dental services.
Open Wide Foundation seeks to remedy this problem by providing dental care to under-served communities worldwide. And, rather than simply providing free care in the short term, the Open Wide Foundation operates with long-term sustainability in mind. From an organizational standpoint, the foundation only sets up clinics in communities where government support is available for sustaining the clinic over the long haul. Additionally, they partner with local colleges and universities to train local dental students, with the goal of creating an independent clinic within five years of the day it opens.
What Is the Open Wide Foundation?
Founded in 2011 by a collection of dentists and industry leaders, the Open Wide Foundation aims to bring “lasting change” to the overall oral health of people in communities around the world. The organization works with dentists who wish to volunteer and provide their services abroad, coordinating the logistics of their trip to one of the foundation’s clinics. The non-profit also oversees the acquisition and transportation of dental equipment to areas where it’s needed most.
For a relatively young organization, the Open Wide Foundation has made significant strides in alignment with their mission statement. As of 2017, they’ve treated more than 200,000 patients worldwide with the assistance of more than 760 volunteers, including dentists, dental assistants and dental hygienists. In total, they’ve opened seven clinics around the world, educated 60,000 patients about oral hygiene practices, provided those same patients with fluoride treatments to improve their long-term dental health, and trained and mentored over 250 dental students as part of their residency programs.
How Can You Help?
The success of the Open Wide Foundation is due in large part to the generosity of people like you. If you’d like to make a contribution, you can visit their donation page here. If you’re a dental professional who would like to donate your time and expertise, take a look at the foundation’s volunteer page for professionals.
Nima Dayani, D.D.S., M.S. – www.nycendodontics.org