In an attempt to honor those who have served our country, our office, Brenton Gardens Family Dentistry, provided free dental care to veterans this past Veterans Day. We closed our office to our regularly scheduled patients and provided care from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
We had over 20 volunteers participate in this event, including administrative staff, hygienists, dental assistants, and four dentists. Sponsors such as the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, Powell Relocation, and Buffalo Wild Wings helped to make this event possible by providing supplies, food, beverages, and other resources that were needed to make this event run smoothly.
The event was promoted in multiple ways, as we dropped off flyers to our local Veterans home, Michigan Works Office and VA Outpatient Center. We also featured this event on our Facebook business page and conducted two interviews that aired on our local FOX news station. The response we had was overwhelming. We had patients calling that have gone more than 10 years without receiving dental care due to the lack of coverage provided. Not only did the word spread locally, but we had Veterans that traveled more than three hours to receive care.
At the end of the day, 49 veterans were served and the value of donated care reached $21,000. We performed services such as prophylaxis cleanings, scaling, root planning, fillings, extractions, and root canals. One of the doctors was able to perform three root canals on a veteran’s anterior teeth, ultimately saving them from being extracted. The veteran was beyond grateful and had broken into tears explaining that the decay in his front teeth had held him back from employment opportunities.
Unfortunately, extractions were the most performed service by the dentists. A majority of the patients coming in were in pain and had been in pain for quite some time. One veteran has been trying to have his 10 remaining teeth pulled for more than five years. Not having insurance created a financial struggle, making it nearly impossible to have the teeth extracted or replaced. We were able to extract two of the teeth, but because of infection and the condition the teeth were in, the dentists opted not to extract the remaining teeth in our office. Instead, an oral surgeon has agreed to extract the remaining teeth free of charge. After those have been extracted and his tissue has healed, our office will be making him upper and lower dentures.
We are so happy with how the event turned out as a whole. The gratefulness that was displayed by the veterans we served that day was astonishing. They were appreciative, patient, and so kind to all of the volunteers, which made all of the planning, coordinating, and stress involved completely worth it. We cannot think of a population more deserving and our office is already looking forward to doing it again next year.