It is tough to be a teenager these days. For a teen suffering from poor oral health, it can be tougher than one can imagine. Micah tried to do her best in school, but she had trouble concentrating because the paid in her mouth was so severe.

Overcoming hurdles

As an outcast and the object of nasty jokes, names and bullying for years, Micah found it difficult to make friends. “No one wants to be around the girl with ragged teeth,” she sadly remarked.

"Micah had the potential to become a great educator one day, but she felt her dreams of becoming a teacher slipping away."

When she did summon the courage to speak to people, she felt that they were so distracted by her teeth that they never really heard what she had to say. Unable to escape the physical pain and emotional torment, Micah cried herself to sleep every night. A bright student and a volunteer at her local Boys & Girls Club, Micah had the potential to become a great educator one day, but she felt her dreams of becoming a teacher slipping away.

Successful futures

Seeing this talented young lady retreat into a shell of silent pain, a teacher at the Boys & Girls Club reached out to Tomorrow’s SMILES®, a teen program of National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s Toothfairy® (NCOHF) that provides promising, at-risk teens with comprehensive oral health services to help prepare them for healthy, successful futures.

Tomorrow’s SMILES helps restore smiles and self esteem while encouraging teens to take responsibility for their oral health. Through this program, caring volunteer dentists provide pro- bono restorative services for a pre- screened underserved teen.

Participating teens then Pay It Forward by serving as mentors and teachers to children, encouraging good oral health habits that will help them maintain beautiful, happy smiles throughout their lives and help to break the cycle of pediatric dental disease in their community.