What’s In A Smile?

The chance to survive and thrive.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects in the world
1 in 500-750

children are born with cleft

Over 6 million

people in the world currently have an unrepaired cleft

At least 1 in 10

children in developing nations will die as a result of cleft

Over 170,000

newborns are affected each year – many without access to care

While these statistics can be staggering, Bright Faces is unrelenting in our mission to heal smiles and change lives. We are committed to providing free surgeries and treatment to those in greatest need – reaching patients that live in the most remote places and without access to care.

We believe every child, every person, and every smile matters.

A cleft is life-altering and life-threatening

An unrepaired cleft is not simply a cosmetic issue. For many, it can mean the difference between being lost in despair and isolation and fulfilling a life of hope and promise. For others, it’s a matter of life and death.

Breastfeeding is the only source of nutrition for many newborns, and an unrepaired cleft can make it nearly impossible to properly feed. That means babies don’t gain the weight they need and die from starvation and dehydration.
For those children who do survive, they can become malnourished and more susceptible to other health issues and potentially fatal diseases.
Dental, hearing and speech can also be affected, with many children having difficulty developing the language skills needed to communicate effectively.
Unrepaired clefts can contribute to children and young adults becoming outcasts in their communities and are often kept at home, unable or unwilling to play outside and make friends.
The isolation can extend to further developmental issues due to a lack of education as children often don’t go to school for fear of being singled out and bullying.

A life transformed

8-month old Tandin was born in small and remote village in eastern Bhutan. She was only one in her family ever born with a cleft lip and palate. In fact, Tandin’s parents had never seen or heard of this before — until someone in their village said another child many years ago had the same condition. But this child passed away soon after he was born.

Upon hearing this news, Tandin’s parents lost hope. Her mother cried everyday worrying that her first and only child would one day not wake up.

Thankfully, Tandin was able to receive a free cleft lip surgery through a Bright Faces partnership program. She has recovered, and her parents are so grateful and looking forward to a happier.

Tandin’s Bright Face is more than a new smile…it’s a new life.