SYRACUSE, N.Y., July 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 4,000 veterans are back on the road to a healthy mouth, thanks to what is believed to be the largest single-day oral health initiative for veterans in the country.
On Saturday, June 25, approximately 2,400 volunteer Aspen Dental dentists and team members from nearly 400 Aspen Dental practices across the U.S. opened their doors and provided 4,159 veterans with the dental care they deserved, completely free of charge. The dental services provided totaled $2,151,305 in donated dentistry.
It was all part of Aspen Dental's Healthy Mouth Movement, an initiative that launched in 2014 to provide free dental care and education to those who need it most, with a special focus on veterans. Of the more than 21 million veterans across the U.S. today, fewer than 10 million are enrolled for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health benefits, which for many does not include dental care benefits. Veterans do not receive dental benefits through the VA unless they are classified as 100% disabled, have a service-connected dental condition, or have a service-oriented medical condition that is affected by their mouth.
Helping Vets One Smile at a Time Allen Williams was one of the thousands of veterans served by Aspen Dental on this year's Day of Service, and his story made a lasting impact on the Waterloo, IA staff. Williams, a former Marine who has selflessly helped those around him all his life, was too embarrassed to smile after years of neglecting his dental care because he couldn't afford the care he needed.
"A Marine is supposed to be proud of themselves, and be able to smile, and look at themselves in the mirror," Williams said. "But I can't look in the mirror some days."
Local Aspen Dental dentist Dr. Ala'a Al Arabi said the story touched something inside of him and therefore, was honored to have the opportunity to give Williams the healthy new smile he deserved.
"A veteran shouldn't live that way," Al Arabi said. "Allen served our country and deserves this. It's going to change his life." Click here to see Williams' full story: http://bit.ly/29tZaYO.
Similar scenes played out around the country. At the Aspen Dental office in Natick, MA, the doctor and team saw a veteran who had not visited a dentist in over 20 years. He had a life-long fear of doctors and his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had recently been so bad that his wife told office staff that he was "done with life." After his appointment, the patient was so filled with gratitude for the care he received and the kindness shown to him that he broke down in tears.
The experience meant just as much to members of the Aspen Dental team who delivered the care.
"I've never been hugged so tightly by a stranger," Aspen Dental office manager Danielle Smalls said. "I know we can't forever heal his internal wounds, but to know that we made a difference, I'm glad we can do that for him."
For lab technician Ryan Wilton in Utica, NY, the Day of Service hit even closer to home.
"It's really something special to give back to our veterans," he said. "As a fellow vet, I feel a deep sense of pride knowing that I work for a company that values our service members by providing them quality dental care for free. Aspen's Healthy Mouth Movement and the National Day of Service are truly initiatives that I am proud to be a part of."
Since the launch of the Healthy Mouth Movement in 2014, Aspen Dental-branded practices have donated more than $6 million in free dental care and have served 11,500 patients. The Healthy Mouth Movement will continue in the fall with several more MouthMobile events.
About Aspen Dental-branded Practices Dentists and staff at Aspen Dental practices believe everyone has the right to quality, affordable oral health care. As one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of independent dental care providers in the U.S., local Aspen Dental practices – more than 550 of them across 33 states – offer patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to address their dental challenges. Every Aspen Dental-branded practice offers a full range of dental and denture services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work – allowing patients to have the peace of mind that they are taken care of and protected, so they can focus on getting the healthy mouths they deserve. In 2015, Aspen Dental-branded practices recorded more than 3.7 million patient visits and welcomed nearly 785,000 new patients.
About Aspen Dental Management Inc. Aspen Dental Management Inc. (ADMI) is a dental support organization that provides non-clinical business support services to independently owned and operated dental practices in more than 30 states. This can include services and recommendations related to finding the right location, leasing, IT services, accounting and marketing. This model leaves independent, licensed practitioners free to concentrate on patient care.
To learn more about Aspen Dental-branded practices and services, preview the patient experience, get answers to general treatment questions, find a location, and schedule appointments, visit www.aspendental.com. To learn more about careers at ADMI and Aspen Dental practices, visit http://aspendentaljobs.com.