Tooth decay, gum infections and bad breath often make rescue animals undesirable to potential forever homes. But, it's a steep price to pay to fix these issues. 

Today, the SPCA of Northern Nevada received free training and dental equipment to help combat this problem, thanks to the "Make Me Smile" program, part of the nonprofit group, Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry

At the SPCA of Northern Nevada, about 90% of their animals are rescued from rural parts of Nevada and they often come in with dental problems, according to Executive Director, Jill Dobbs.

This poses a problem for the animals' potential adoptive families, as dental surgery and treatment for pets, is costly. However, if left untreated, dental problems can become very serious and potentially deadly for our furry friends. Barry Rathfon, Chairman of Make Me Smile explains, "It can lead to problems to their kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, all of the organs."

That's where Make Me Smile, in existence since 2013, comes to the rescue--for the rescues. Rathfon says, "We've probably helped 4 or 5000 animals in the last 4 years."

The program gives training and equipment to shelters--all for free! Today, that included donating a much-needed dental x-ray machine to the SPCA. Rathfon explains its importance, "If you don't use dental radiology you're missing probably 50-60% of disease in the mouth."

Identifying such health issues is key to getting shelter animals out of pain and getting them adopted quicker. 

In the past, the SPCA would coordinate with outside vets to schedule dental surgeries, which would often prove to be difficult and costly. Now, they'll be able to perform those same surgeries in-house for a much smoother process. 

Just last week, the SPCA was able to rescue almost 30 animals with dental issues. That mission was only made possible because of the anticipated donations from Make Me Smile. Dobbs said, "26 dogs that were all on euthanasia lists that we saved, now we'll be able to repair their mouths, get them out of pain, make them adoptable."

It's important to note that equipment donations to shelters from Make Me Smile are only made possible with generous discounts from Dentalaire, a veterinary equipment manufacturer.

With a goal of spreading their help nationwide, Make Me Smile is always accepting donations for their nonprofit mission. If you'd like to help out, or simply learn more, you can visit their website, here.