The dental care that some middle class Americans take for granted was certainly not lost on the grateful veterans who received free treatment last Saturday.

Over 450 Aspen Dental offices across 36 states opened their doors to the nation’s heroes this weekend, giving 4,600 veterans free dental treatment.

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This is the fourth time that Aspen Dental has hosted a “Day of Service” event for veterans, resulting in over $10.3 million in donated dentistry.

“Like millions of Americans, veterans often do not get the dental care they need due to barriers like cost, fear, access and lack of insurance. Of the 21 million veterans across the U.S., fewer than 10 million are enrolled for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health benefits, and more than 1.2 million lack health insurance altogether,” said Dr. Adam Mileski of Aspen Dental.

Aspen Dental, June 24, 2017, New Braunfels, Texas (Darren Abate/AP Images for Aspen Dental)

“The disparity is even more pronounced when it comes to dental care because the VA only provides dental benefits to veterans who are classified as 100% disabled, have been a prisoner of war, or have a service-connected dental condition or disability,” he added.

While basic cleanings were also provided to the patients, the dental team were sure to address the more pressing services, such as fillings, extractions, and repairs, in order to relieve oral pain.

Aspen Dental, June 24, 2017, New Braunfels, Texas (Darren Abate/AP Images for Aspen Dental)

“My income didn’t allow me to afford dental insurance,” said Air Force veteran Nadine Nowlin. “So without any coverage, it’s the last thing that gets taken care of. To honor our veterans specifically on that day, is a gift from Aspen Dental.”

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“Before seeing Dr. Thompson, I couldn’t even smile without severe pain and discomfort,” said Stephen Leon, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient who received free care from Dr. Thompson. “I can’t even put into words how thankful I am for Dr. Thompson. The treatment she provided changed my life – I don’t know how I can ever repay her.”

In addition to their Day of Service events, Aspen Dental’s Healthy Mouth Movement includes the “Mouth Mobile”: a 42-foot bus that travels around the nation offering free dental care to veterans. The Mouth Mobile has already traveled to over 100 communities, giving away thousands of dollars worth of free oral treatment.

Help Your Friends Smile: Click To Share – (Photos by Darren Abate/AP Images)

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