The Free to Smile Foundation was founded in 2008 and is based out of Columbus, Ohio. It is a fully functional year-round nonprofit organization formed by a group of individuals who care. Coming from a wide variety of backgrounds and ideals, their website lists that they all have one common vision: to enact real change. How? By serving the impoverished cleft lip/palate and dental population throughout the world.
The medical staff of Free to Smile is made up of doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, hygentients, translators and assistants. One of the most unique aspects of the Free to Smile Foundation is that all medical staff pay their own way and then donate their time. There is absolutely zero money paid out to the medical staff who perform these free surgeries. Housing is provided by the foundation, however. The Free to Smile Foundation travels to Africa, Guatemala, Cambodia and China to perform surgeries.
Cleft lip/ palate Surgery
What is a cleft lip? It is a very common birth defect, but easily corrected. A cleft lip may be just a small notch in the lip. It may also be a complete split in the lip that goes all the way to the base of the nose. A cleft palate can be on one or both sides of the roof of the mouth. It may go the full length of the palate. Doctors and surgeons with Free to Smile are fully equipped and certified to perform the surgeries necessary.
Ongoing Care and Education
The Free to Smile Foundation partners with organizations to ensure that patients receive the after-care they need. Not only that, but the foundation returns annually to check on the progress of their surgeries and their patients as well as provide comprehensive care.
The Free to Smile Foundation takes seven missions trips per year and have taken 41 total to date. They have provided 3,351 patients with dental care and completed 883 cleft lip and palate surgeries. For a charity that began less than ten years ago, these numbers are fantastic!
Free to Smile Foundation is dedicated to supporting and sustaining comprehensive, quality surgical and dental services to poor and underprivileged children and adolescents throughout the world. To this end, their volunteers and partner organizations provide free surgical, dental and educational care for all that are served by the foundation across the globe.