MouthMobile helps veterans with free dental care

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Glendale Star Staff Writer

Volunteers helped more than 34 veterans with free dental care Nov. 3 at Westgate

photos courtesy of Aspen Dental

Volunteers talk to a local veteran outside Aspen Dental during the MouthMobile event Nov. 3 at Westgate.

Aspen Dental’s mobile dental office, the MouthMobile, rolled into Glendale Nov. 3 to give free care to local veterans. Local dentists and volunteers provided X-rays, fillings, cleanings and extractions to 34 veterans in need at the new Aspen Dental at Westgate.
The annual MouthMobile tour is part of Aspen Dental’s Healthy Mouth Movement through which Aspen Dental practices across the country have donated more than $14 million in dentistry since 2014. Nearly 13,000 volunteers have helped more than 30,000 veterans in need by providing them with free dental care.
“The MouthMobile is a fully functioning dental office on wheels. There are two operatories, a sterilization area, full X-rays machine and handicap access,” Dentist David Sung said. “The MouthMobile travels around the country, stopping in as many as 30 cities a year as part of Aspen Dental’s Healthy Mouth Movement, providing free dental care to veterans.”
“Unless a veteran was a prisoner of war and was classified as 100 percent disabled, or has a service-connected injury to their mouth, they don’t receive dental benefits through the Veterans Association,” Sung said. “That leaves a great deal of veterans with no access to affordable dental care, especially those with no dental insurance and that is why Aspen Dental dentists across the county decided to focus on giving back to veterans.”
The 34 veterans served needed dental work from cleanings to intense dental issues and were treated by four Aspen Dental dentists, 20 Midwestern dental student volunteers and four faculty members. They performed more than $20,000 of donated dentistry during the Glendale event.
“We took appointments and walk-ins. All veterans needed to do was make an appointment or show up,” Sung said. “We wanted to treat their most urgent need first, especially if the patient is in any pain, but typically the services offered include cleaning, fillings, extractions, oral cancer screenings, and denture repair. In some cases, even full dentures were made for those in need.”
The work in Glendale is part of a 28-stop journey across the country as teams of volunteer dentists and staff from Aspen Dental practices continue the tradition of providing free dental care to hundreds of veterans for the fourth consecutive year.
In addition to dentistry and denture services, patients can now also get a free oral cancer screening with OralID, a battery-operated handheld oral examination device that is quick and painless.
“Aspen Dental practice owners across the country are able to provide pro-bono dental care to hundreds of veterans each year due to the economies of scale realized from the size of the Aspen Dental network of over 700 offices in 38 states,” Sung said. “Our mission is to break down barriers to better care, better smiles and better lives. Veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice by serving their country, so we want to give back by serving them.”
The veterans served will also receive aftercare from Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine for any needed additional procedures.
“After this weekend, post-op care will take place at the Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine clinic,” Sung said. “Also, every year in June, Aspen Dental holds a national Day of Service where participating Aspen Dental offices open their doors for a day of free care for veterans.”

 

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