Putting Money Where Their Mouths Are: Dentists Offer Free Dental Care to VeteransThe Veterans Site
Dental care is one of those things that you take for granted if you have coverage, but a lack of dental insurance can seriously impact quality of life.
Most veterans do not qualify for dental benefits through the VA, and many struggle to get necessary care. Meet some generous dentists who are helping vets get the care they need.Healthy teeth are an important part of life. Untreated toothaches are painful, but the consequences can be even more dire. Severe dental problems are linked to heart disease and other potentially lethal conditions. Even purely cosmetic problems, such as missing teeth, can create a massive barrier for struggling vets seeking employment or social connection.
The VA provides some dental care as part of its services, but the qualifications are steep. Prisoners of war are eligible for care, as are veterans who develop ongoing dental problems while in the service. Veterans who are 100-percent disabled also qualify, but most other veterans are out of luck. Homeless veterans list a lack of adequate dental care as one of their most significant unmet needs.
Some private dentists have realized the problem and stepped up to provide the care that veterans need. Aspen Dental, based in Syracuse, New York, launched a pioneering mobile dental care unit known as MouthMobile. The company partnered with Got Your 6, a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans, to launch the mobile clinic. It travels to 30 states throughout the year, providing care to veterans and other needy populations. Aspen also encourages dentists to sponsor veterans at its 500 locations nationwide.
Veterans near Toledo, Ohio, can participate in the annual Stars, Stripes and Smiles event, which combines dental care, health screenings and fun for the whole family. Organizers create a festive atmosphere by providing refreshments, raffles and entertainment while veterans get necessary treatment.
Oregon communities have also stepped up to help veterans. Caring Hands in Roseburg uses a 40-foot semi-trailer as a mobile clinic where dentists volunteer their time and skill to provide exams, fillings, extractions and more.Many veterans struggle to get necessary health care when they return home. Display this patriotic garden flag to show your support and help fund programs that benefit veterans.