Everybody can be an everyday superhero, no matter their profession. The perfect example that illustrates that this adage is practical, not just theoretical, is Brazilian dentist Felipe Rossi. He founded the NGO Por1sorriso and travels the world, bringing back smiles to some of the poorest people on the planet. He and his colleagues fix low-income individuals’ teeth for free.
We’ve collected some of the inspiring and beautiful photos showing how people looked before Rossi reached out to help them, and how they looked afterward. The pictures show just how much dentists can help restore people’s confidence and give them hope to live their lives and aim higher.
Get ready to smile. A lot. Upvote the photos that left an impression on you and leave a comment telling us what you think of Rossi’s incredible charity. And if any of you Pandas are on the fence about becoming dentists, we hope that this post helps you decide that it’s a worthwhile calling.
In an interview with Bored Panda, Terri Rimmer told her own heartfelt and ‘miracle’ story about how getting her teeth fixed changed her life for the better. “Before surgery, my life was just a black hole. I spent years not being able to smile in pictures and it was always humiliating because people taking pictures in a group setting kept saying, ‘smile’ and I couldn't do it,” Terri said.
“Also I had to give up so many things that I couldn't eat that I loved for years like fresh cherries and salads. I hadn't had a salad in 18 years! After surgery, I can smile in pictures and I have confidence! When I put my dentures in for the first time and went into the bathroom at the dentist I just kept looking at myself in the mirror and smiling. It was like my face was plugged in after all these years! My eyes just lit up and my face was just lifted! Even my mom and other people noticed.” Scroll down for the full interview.
Terri said that her dental condition was so bad that all of her teeth had to be removed: “I had no bone at all in my upper jaw, so they had to borrow bone from a cadaver. They had to remove the top teeth first, which there were only a few of and the recovery from that was excruciating.
“I was in pain for two weeks. The bottom area– the recovery was much smoother but it took me several months to fully recover. It was painful but very worth it! They had to give me four shots in the roof of my mouth and take four wax molds of my mouth. I cried hysterically because it was so painful. The pain medication I was prescribed after surgery upset my stomach too bad so I had to quit taking it. I had an extremely hard time. They put four screws in my mouth and four implants before they could make my dentures.”
Terri went on to reveal the reason why her dental condition got as bad as it did. “I would like people to understand that how I wound up losing all my teeth was from extreme depression after my boyfriend died of cancer in 2005. I stopped brushing my teeth and though I was on 5 medications for depression and anxiety, it wasn't enough.”
However, things have gotten much better since then: “People definitely greet me warmly and want to interact with me more so than when I didn't have any teeth.”
38-year-old Rossi is an aesthetic dentist who, in 2016, founded the Por1sorriso NGO, and also became its Director of Fundraising. The well-known doctor, like most people, wants to spread goodness to his loved ones, his community, his country, as well as the planet. And his desire to do good has already had a large positive impact in low-income communities not only in Brazil, but also Kenya, Mozambique, and elsewhere.
Rossi’s philosophy is to help those who don’t have the means to get help themselves. That’s why he doesn’t charge the people that he helps. “This assistance is very different from projects where people simply get toothbrushes and toothpaste,” the dentist wrote on his Instagram account.
According to R7, there are over 4,000 volunteers registered in the NGO’s database. The reality, however, is much different. “There are costs that people have to bear and, with that, many people end up giving up on the action,” Rossi explained that wanting to help and actually helping are two very different things. He also mentioned that on missions he and his team usually transport around two tons of equipment.
Good oral health is more important than you’d think. It’s one of the things that can help you lead a healthy life or make you be prone to constant illness. But let’s say that you were in a helicopter crash and there’s some evil force after you: how would you go about taking care of your gleaming pearls when you’re lost in the middle of nowhere, without a dentist (let alone a toothbrush) in sight?
Well, Know Prepare Survive suggests that oral hygiene is important in the wilderness and you can keep your mouth, teeth, and tongue clean using a willow brush. Just cut off the end of a branch and use it as a toothbrush. The sap will eliminate tartar and stop it building up near your gum line, thus preventing cavities. Being in a life-or-death situation is not an excuse to stop brushing your teeth.