Moffitt Restorative Dentistry

Operation Smile- Philippines 2016

Feb 28 2016

Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children from more than 60 countries. We’ve provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term sufficiency in resource poor environments, we train doctors and local medical professionals in our partner countries so they’re empowered to treat their local communities. We also donate medical equipment and supplies and provide year-round medical treatments through our worldwide centers
A cleft is a gap in the mouth that didn’t close during the early stages of pregnancy, and this kind of birth defect happens more often than you may realize. It is estimated that, worldwide, a child is born every 3 minutes with a cleft — about one in 500-750 births. Sometimes a cleft condition can be easy to see because it’s an opening in the lip. Sometimes it’s harder to tell if someone has a cleft because it’s an opening in the roof of their mouth (called the palate.)

With surgery, a child suffering from a cleft lip or cleft palate can have a brand-new, beautiful smile. In an ideal situation, a pediatrician and a plastic surgeon work with a child’s parents soon after the child’s birth to choose the best timing for surgery. Most surgeons agree that a cleft lip should be repaired by the time a baby is 3 months old, and that a cleft palate should be repaired between the ages of 12 and 18 months.
My dad, John Moffitt DDS, MS, and I went to the Philippines together to do a mission together. I was based in Cavite with Drs. Tina and Louie Lopez. They are local dentists from the southern part of the Philippines. My dad was located in the northern part of the Philippines and there was another mission site located towards the south. Between the three sites, team Philippines screened over 450 patients and operated on 325. In Cavite, we screened 164 patients and were able to operate on 94. At one week post-op, we saw 79 of those patients. We created hope in the minds of the community that anyone born with a cleft lip or cleft palate can lead a normal life with respect and dignity. I feel blessed to have been a part of Operation Smile Philippines and all of the local volunteers and sponsors throughout the country.

At Operation Smile we believe every child deserves exceptional surgical care. We believe all children deserve to be treated as if they were our own. We dream of a world where no child suffers from lack of access to safe surgery. As long as there are children in the world who need our help, we’ll do whatever it takes to give them the quality care they deserve. For too many families around the world, safe surgery is not an option.

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