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Published on May 19th, 2017 | by David Morales

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Oral Care for Our Heroes

While serving on the night watch in Afghanistan, Stephen Leon was serving to protect 8,700 sleeping soldiers in 2011, when he and his partner were suddenly barraged with gunfire, hand grenades and two suicide bombers. Leon saved lives that day! He stopped the assault saving thousands of lives. From his actions, he received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. But, life as a civilian in Boston was a struggle. It was full of hardships and setbacks. At one point, he was on the verge of homelessness. But now, he is helping fellow veterans – including volunteering for the local suicide hotline.

Stephen is just one of our nations heroes who struggle to find affordable dental care.  In fact, of the 21+ million veterans across the U.S. today, fewer than 10 million are enrolled for VA Health benefits and more than 1.2 million lack health insurance altogether. That is why Aspen Dental is providing a special Day of Service for veterans and on June 24. They are offering free dental care across the country as part of its Healthy Mouth Movement initiative. Nearly 450 offices in more than 30 states will participate in the fourth annual Day of Service. For more information just visit healthymouthmovement.com.

Dr. Thompson, you’re a veteran – what are the challenges for our vets when it comes to getting dental care?

So, there’s a lot of challenges for veterans have access to dental care. You need to be 100 percent disabled or have a service-related dental injury to receive those dental benefits. So, we’re opening our offices and we’re offering free dental care to veterans on June 24.

What is being done to help address this disparity and help vets with dental care?

On June 24, we’re opening our doors. We also have a mouth mobile that travels across the country and they are also offering dental care to veterans on the June 24. We’ll have close to 450 different offices open across the country and then we’ll be offering free dental care to any of the veterans that schedule an appointment with us.

Dr. Thompson, tell us a little more about this upcoming event and how veterans can receive free dental care.

So, any veterans that would like to come in on that day, can either call 1 844-ASPENHMM or log on to healthymouthmovement.com to schedule an appointment. Then they can come in and we’ll take care of whatever needs they have.

Stephen, you’re a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient – tell us a little about your story. How have you benefited from the free dental care?

I came from a tour in Afghanistan and I had been kind of afraid of the dentist, but I met Dr. Thompson and her team, they took care of more than my needs. I’m a different person because of that.

What would you say to other vets about how much this experience has meant to you and what they should do?

I just would like to tell them not to be afraid and get in contact with these people. Get their dental issues fixed up and it will benefit them in the long run. They should contact Dr. Thompson and her team and just come in. All they must do is come in, the rest is free and it is for all veterans.

Finally, where can veterans viewing make an appointment to get free dental care?

So, any veterans that would like to participate in the free day of service on June 24 can call 1 844 – ASPENHMM or go online to healthymouthmovement.com to schedule that appointment.

 

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About the Author

is the Executive Editor of The Hype magazine. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, David has a background as a writer, blogger, drummer, and in the human services industry. He is passionate about helping others, learning and has a deep empathy for the creative process. You can follow his social media @dcypherstudios



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