For DonorsFor Applicants

Contributing to Smiles Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Apr 2, 2022
Winners Announced
May 1, 2022
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Major of Interest :
Education Level:
Undergraduate or graduate

The cost of attending dental school is rising each year. The average in-state tuition cost per year in the United States is $42,000 while the average cost of attending a private dental school can be as high as $76,000 per year. The costs of attending dental school should not be a barrier for any student seeking a dental education. 

The Contributing to Smiles Scholarship was started in memory of a dedicated dentist who ran his own business for 30 years. This scholarship was created to financially support dental students who are passionate about helping their communities through dentistry. 

This scholarship is meant for an undergraduate or graduate student who is planning to attend, or is already enrolled, in dental school. 

Any undergraduate student who is majoring in dentistry, or any graduate student who is pursuing a dental degree, may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us why you want to go into the field of dentistry and how you will use your career to give back to your community.

Selection Criteria:
Dentistry, Essay, Community
Published January 22, 2022
Essay Topic

Why do you want to go into the field of dentistry, and how will you use your career to give back to your community? 

400–600 words

Winning Application

Vivian Long
Midwestern University-Downers GroveWest Covina, CA
Having inherited large teeth from my dad and a small jaw from my mom, growing into my smile has been a struggle. In second grade, I was referred to an orthodontist to undergo Phase One, a treatment that adjusts the jaw and any bite problems in order to make room for permanent teeth. Suddenly, I found myself in a dentist chair surrounded by strangers cementing metal to my teeth while using strange jargon. Next thing I knew, I was being sent home with more metal in my mouth than teeth, a headgear, and wires poking sores into my cheeks. For weeks, I could not talk without a lisp, silencing my voice out of embarrassment. Food kept getting stuck in my expander, turning one of my favorite pastimes into a chore. Over the next two years, I wondered if I could stick a refrigerator magnet to my jaw— though, I never got around to trying it. However, this intensive experience played a pivotal role in fueling my interest and developing my goals as a future dentist. Several years later during my high school internship, I enjoyed observing my dentist interact with his patients. Despite running a fast-paced office, he always made time to sit down and chat with each of his patients, asking how they were doing and about any exciting events. Seeing him foster family-like relationships with his patients made me covet the same type of community in my future profession. I, too, would like to grow old with my patients and hear about the weddings, the graduations, and the milestones they have achieved. Towards the end of my internship, I met the patient who would unknowingly be instrumental in finalizing my commitment to dentistry. She was in her early 20’s, bright-eyed and happy to be off work early that day. She sat in the chair, answered questions, talked, smiled—nothing out of the ordinary. But when the exam started, I watched in horrified fascination as her entire bottom row of teeth tilted back and forth almost 45 degrees with each probe. The same repeated to the top row. Later, I was told that her bones could no longer support her teeth. They had tried to delay the inevitable, but her rapidly deteriorating condition left her no choice but to turn to dentures. As I sat there, I thought about the various foods she had to give up eating and the additional precautions she took while speaking. I empathized with the emotional and physical toll she must have endured with her condition. But I also thought about her future and how those dentures would give her the freedom to live her life without worrying about her teeth. From there, my life’s mission took root. I want to be a dentist that can help people live their best lives. Having personally endured the difficulties of my teeth feeling more like a burden than an aid, I want people to be able to eat freely, talk effortlessly, and be proud of their smile. While these may seem like stereotypical goals in this profession, I know how it feels to be restricted in all of these manners and how liberating it feels to be relieved of any worries. After receiving such amazing care as a child with results I continue to benefit from, I want to pay it forward. As such, it is my turn to help prevent these obstacles from hindering others. One day, I hope to improve my community's quality of life just as mine helped me.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 2, 2022. Winners will be announced on May 1, 2022.

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