Dentist to help clean up domestic violence

Help heal the effects of domestic violence by participating in A Day of Brighter Smiles hosted by local dentist Dr. James Ongena. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Dr. Ongena and his staff are dedicating Oct. 30 to provide whitening treatments for a direct donation to Give Back a Smile (GBAS), a program designed to help survivors of domestic violence.

Dr. Ongena is a member of The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Their Charitable Foundation’s primary program, GBAS, provides cosmetic dental care to survivors of domestic violence who have suffered damage to, or lost, their smiles at the hands of someone they loved. With the support of Discus Dental and Ultradent Products, Inc., AACD member volunteers provide whitening treatments to patients in support of GBAS.

“The GBAS whitening program is a collaborative way for dentists and patients to make a difference in the lives of survivors of domestic violence. It is a win, win situation for everyone involved,” said Dr. Ongena.

How the GBAS whitening program works

Discus Dental and Ultradent Products, Inc., donate whitening kits to participating AACD member volunteers.

Patients who undergo whitening treatments as part of the program make their payment directly to GBAS.

Contact Dr. Ongena’s office at (815) 397-9700 to ask how you can participate in the whitening program.

The GBAS program was launched May 27, 1999. Since then, more than 6,000 AACD volunteer dentists, dental laboratories and other dental professionals have volunteered their time and expertise pro bono for the GBAS program. Since its inception, more than 550 domestic abuse cases have been completed for a total dollar value of more than $4.3 million. Currently, 300 applicants are being treated throughout the United States.

Domestic violence survivors who have suffered dental injuries from abuse from a former intimate partner or spouse can learn more about GBAS online at or contact GBAS toll-free at: (800) 773-GBAS (4227). Survivors must make an appointment with a counselor, domestic violence advocate, social worker or therapist to complete the advocate section of the GBAS application. GBAS conducts the initial review of the application; however, the dentist has the final say as to the eligibility of the applicant. If eligible, the AACD connects the survivor with a local GBAS volunteer who provides treatment at no charge to the recipient. Donations for the GBAS program can be made to the AACD Charitable Foundation, 5401 World Dairy Drive, Madison, WI 53718-3900.

Dr. Ongena is a GBAS volunteer and whitening program provider in the northern Illinois area.

from the Oct. 24-30, 2007, issue

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