How Personal Experience Inspired a Dentist's Goodwill

June 22, 2018 | Smile Train

Jessica Canallatos was born with both a cleft lip and palate. As a result, much of her childhood was spent enduring years of surgeries, visiting doctors, and undergoing comprehensive treatments. While the time, pain, and effort of cleft treatments were difficult for Jessica, she was also aware that it was challenging for her family – amongst other things, they struggled making informed decisions about cleft care for their daughter due to the scarcity of information available to them.

Jessica Canallato The cleft dentist

Determined to help people in similar situations, Jessica tirelessly studied and worked to become a dentist specializing in the treatment of children and adults born with clefts and requiring prostheses. She became so well known for her area of focus that people started calling her The Cleft Dentist.

Jessica’s goal is to become a resource for cleft-affected families and share her firsthand knowledge so families like hers will be able to make fully educated healthcare decisions. To help her further realize her goal, she started The Cleft Dentist website earlier this year. The site is just getting started, but Dr. Canallatos hopes that the site’s recipes, blogs, FAQ section, and store will grow and become a meeting place and information exchange for the cleft community.

In honor of July’s National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month (NCCAPM), Smile Train’s Young Leadership Circle Board Member April Joy Nietes recently interviewed Dr. Canallatos about her background and experience. Watch the video and learn more about Jessica’s ongoing efforts in comprehensive cleft care:


To learn more about Dr. Jessica Canallatos and to support her fundraising efforts for children around the world, visit her Smile Train fundraising page.

Help raise awareness for children with clefts all throughout NCCAPM by adding our #SmileMaker frame to your Facebook profile picture.