Five of the 19 beneficiaries of Project Smile have certain things in common: dental flaws and defects. Destiny smiled on them through the Project Smile, a corporate social initiative of Smile360 Dental Specialists. OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA writes on how the programme is transforming people’s lives.
What a day it was yesterday - such a big day for us!
Project Smile is a social initiative that identifies individuals with dental
flaws and defects who would want their defects corrected but are
Designed to engage individuals through a contest, the initiative
encourages response to its eight-week call for entry campaign. The
candidates are subjected to various stages of screening and shortlisted
for the final clinical evaluation. Finally, three winners are determined
in three main categories-severe, moderate or mild. The goal of the
initiative is to transform 500 people with a smile makeover by the 10th
season. In all, 19 people have emerged.
For a 36-year-old civil servant, Mrs Funmilayo Olufa who had an
accident and lost all her teeth in the process and developed a severity
of dental flaw, life was never the same again. She lost her confidence.
According to her, she regained her confidence after undergoing the
Before the Smile makeover, Funmi’ lost her looks but few stages into
the Smile makeover, her friends could recognise her. She recalled: “A
friend and long-time classmate of mine that I lost contact with some 15
years ago saw me at a bus stop and shouted my name. I was happy
she could recognise me because some couldn’t before the Smile
makeover. I am so happy that though the Smile makeover is yet to be
completed, the positive effects on me are tremendous. Regaining my
confidence is the best part of my transformation story thus far.”
Chichi Anosike, sole beneficiary, Project Smile maiden edition in 2011
had an accident that damaged her dentition and seriously affected her
facial expression. She heard about the Project Smile and was
requested to write why she thinks she needed a Smile makeover. She
had completed her Smile makeover and today she says with
confidence, “I can flick off a dazzling smile easily without being
conscious of it.” She thanked Project Smile and Smile360 for restoring
A 24-year-old creative writer, Adelekan Tayo, said whenever he talked
to people, they are ever conscious of his teeth. And he always feels
dejected as a man. He was always worried and perplexed. He got to
know about the Project Smile through listening to the jingle on a
According to Tayo, he reluctantly put in an entry, thinking that it
couldn’t be true. When he was selected through a credible screening
done by an independent panel, he said he couldn’t believe it. Going
through the Smile makeover, he was delighted, aware that it was what
he had always desired.
“The project is not about reconstructing the dentition alone but also
building on the psychological confidence. I did not pay a dime. The
members of staff are wonderful. It is a life-changing experience. It is a
wonderful initiative,” he stated.
Mobola Abodunrin, 31-year-old Marketing/Brand Manager said: “As an
image maker in a communication firm, having an over-protruding gum
and teeth could be worrisome. That is always the focus of attention
when I am interacting with people. I became an introvert inadvertently
because I was disturbed emotionally.”
Mobola heard about the Project Smile through a friend and put in an
entry. She was lucky to be selected and just going through the Smile
makeover, she is already experiencing a turn-around. When Mobola
was on the braces, some people actually thought it was for cosmetics
reasons and complimented her equally. “I like your rocks,” they would
Mobola said: “I corrected their impressions I told them that it was part
of medical procedures. And now I am gaining more confidence than
before. People do admire me wearing the braces. I don’t receive
curious looks or comments again. Though I am not through with the
Smile makeover, the stages I had gone through have already changed
my life and psychology. I knew I needed the Smile makeover but could
not afford same. For this, I am grateful to Project Smile.”
For 22-year-old Dumebi Olanne; a final year student of Mass
Communication at Babcock University, it was a real life changing
experience; having gone through some stages of Smile makeover.
Being born with bad dentition, she had lived an hermit life. She loved
surfing the net and one day, she stumbled on Smile360 Project.
Her mother encouraged her to put in an application. She did and was
shortlisted but no sponsor was there for her. As she made to depart the
venue, a participant saw her dejection and wouldn’t allow her to go
with that look. The participant sponsored her for the Smile makeover
and today, Dumebi smiles more, talks more and is looking forward to a
more prosperous life as a budding lady.
Dr Amy B. Traore-Shumbusho is the founder of Smile360 Dental
Specialist, Ikoyi Lagos.
Explaining the rationale behind her effort, Dr Amy, as she is fondly
called, said the ability to change people’s lives with a great smile is
powerful and a privilege.
Recounting some of the achievements of the initiative in the past three
seasons in view of the goal and mission set out to give great smiles
since the commencement of the project in 2011. Dr Traore-
Shumbusho said the last three seasons of Project Smile has achieved
remarkable success with a record of 19 beneficiaries most of whom are
still undergoing their dental corrective surgery and treatment.
“As we joined all dental stakeholders and the general public to mark
this year’s World Oral Health Day, (WOHD) there is no better time to
pause and recount our successes than this momentous period in the
dental world. The World Oral Health Day has always been epochal in
launching each season of the Project Smile Initiative.