Aspen Dental gives back to veterans with free dental care procedures

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OAK CREEK (CBS 58) --- On Saturday, Nov. 6, Aspen Dental hosted its annual nationwide event 'Day of Service' to give back to veterans and their spouses by offering free dental care procedures.

Aspen Dental said their decision to help out military veterans is because many veterans reportedly hold off on their oral health, since veterans aren't eligible for dental benefits through the Veterans Administration unless they’re 100% disabled, have a service-related mouth injury, or were a prisoner of war.

Aspen Dental holds the 'Day of Service' event annually on Veterans Day.

"These are essential services and you know, without the services they can have active disease process in their mouth and they can have that for a long time which can cause other problems," said Dr. Zubair Hassan, a dentist at Aspen Dental in Oak Creek.

"They're going to check out my teeth and then on my left lower molar, it's cracked so they're going to have to do a crown on there," said
Ken Tutaj, a veteran who is also mayor of St. Francis.

Tutaj served for 25 years in the Air Force and National Guard.

He added that dental care is something that isn't always a priority due to the hefty price tag of procedures, even more so if you are uninsured.

"A lot of veterans don't have any health insurance or dental insurance so they just don't do anything with their teeth and mouth and it just gets really, really bad. This is preventive maintenance, this is great," said Tutaj.

"We know that your veterans fight really hard for our country and for our freedom so we want to provide that care to them free of charge," said Samantha Rattle, an office manager of Aspen Dental.

The Day of Service at Aspen Dental aims to provide much needed dental care for veterans and break down barriers to access this kind of health care.

Organizers say the event also helps in raising awareness on the importance of oral health.

Whether its x-rays, cleanings, or immediate dental care, dentists participating in the event told CBS 58 that they look forward to helping.

"This is my favorite day. It's really rewarding to be able to give back and to be able to say thank you to the veterans in our community in Oak Creek," said Hassan.

"I think it's awesome for Aspen stepping up and doing this for the veterans. It makes you feel great and actually makes you want to go to the dentist," said Tutaj.

For veterans and their spouses who missed out on the free dental care day, they can still reach out to their local VA to find dental help.

Click here to search for a local dental clinic near you.

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