Oral health is critical to systemic health.Yet billions of people are unable to fix or replacemissing teeth and suffer psychosocial and physiological consequences because they do not have access to care. Poor self-esteem, lack of self confidence, impeded from finding work, unable to properly eat a meal are just a few manifestations of a life without teeth, a life of constraints.

According to the global World Health Survey, complete tooth loss affects approximately 30% of old-age people 65-74 years.

According to the World Health Organization, severe tooth loss and edentulism (no natural teeth remaining) are widespread. Severe tooth loss and edentulism are one of the leading 10 causes of Years Lived with Disability (YLD) due to aging populations.


THE SOLUTION: Smiles in a Suitcase

Smiles in a Suitcase seeks to discover and build out portable and low cost solutions in dentistry: Call it Smile in a Suitcase.

Groups such as Doctors Without Borders address medical needs in tragedies worldwide, but are severely limited to provide dental care because of the equipment required to do complex dentistry.

Maybe, just maybe, entrepreneurs paired with humanitarian dentists and business mentors, as well as start-up funding might move the needle on this challenge. It is worth the effort to help people worldwide.


What is Smiles in a Suitcase?

Smiles in a Suitcase is an innovation competition in which entrepreneur and clinician teams bring their ideas, talents and networks together to heal fellow global citizens who are missing many or all of their teeth.

By replacing missing teeth, smiles will be restored, self-esteem renewed and lives transformed from despair to hope. Teams are constrained by criteria that ensure that the winning entry is effective in the remotest, poorest and least served areas ofour planet. Viable comprehensive business plans ensure a high likelihood of business success.

The winning team will receive a prize of US $100,000.


How does Smiles in a Suitcase work?

One competition-three phases


Teams have 5 minutes to pitch their idea via global conference call to a panel of judges. Six finalists are chosen and receive $5000 to continue their work.


Successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders help finalists build out their ideas.


Finalists present a comprehensive business plan aswell as working prototypes of their smile rehabilitationprocess. The competition winner receives $100,000,second place receives $25,000, and third placereceives $15,000.


Patient Care Simulation

  • Finalists will be given a manikin with edentulous or partially edentulous arches and have 24 hours to fabricate high quality cost-effective dental prostheses to replace the missing teeth.
  • Each team may have up to 2 members participate in patient care simulation.
  • Each team only may use equipment, supplies and materials that they brought in a typical airline luggage carry-on suitcase (55 x 40 x23 cm/ 21 x 15 x 9 inches and 10 Kg total weight). One carry-on suitcase per team.
  • Electricity will be available, but not running water
  • If any part of the proposed protocol involves off-site activity, that location must be at least 1000 miles from the site of the final.


Rules of the Competition

  • There is no entry fee
  • Each team may enter one idea
  • Entries must be the original work of entrants
  • Teams must disclose any funding already received at the time of registration
  • Teams must not have accepted any institutional funding for the idea being presented (i.e. the team cannot have sold equity to anyone outside the team– including non-managing founders)
  • Teams must not have accepted any non-institutional funding in excess of $100,000. Non-institutional funding includes contests, grants,friends and family, bank loans, etc. where there is no equity ownership associated with the funding
  • The Judging Panel reserves the right to disqualifyany entry




To restore health, hope and self-esteem for those in need anywhere in the world by rehabilitating their broken smiles.




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For Sponsors

All judges, mentors and administrative team members will be nonpaid volunteers

Total Prize money distributed: $170,000

Other admin expenses:
Travel stipend for finalist judges: $3000/perFood/Beverage for Final: $6000

Total funds needed: $194,000


Sponsorship Opportunities

Competition-specific Elements:
Entire competition: $194,000

Pitch and Process prize money:$30,000

Prototype and Plan prize money:$140,000

General support levels:
Premier: $50,000
Champion: $25,000
Supporter: $15,000



Smiles in a Suitcase: Administrative Team

Sreenivas Koka:
Specialist prosthodontist and former Professor and Chairman, Dental Specialties, Mayo Clinic

Kristen Robinson Darcy:
Senior Vice President, Service and Marketing, Fidelity Charitable

James Hodge:
Associate Vice Chancellor for Advancement, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Rosalind Sullivan:
Chief Financial Officer, Cenegenics Medical Institute

Brian Fitzpatrick:
Specialist prosthodontist and Past-President, International College of Prosthodontists

Thomas Cole:
Vice President, DIS Operations and Global Expansion, Dentsply Sirona