Today, many veterans are unable to get proper dental care. The reason? They don’t qualify for benefits under the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Under the VA’s current regulations, veterans must be completely disabled, have been a prisoner of war, or have developed an oral condition during deployment to qualify for dental insurance. The agency does partner with third-party providers to deliver alternative plans but many of these policies are still too expensive.
Luckily, private companies and educational institutions have stepped in to pick up the slack. In 2014, staff from Aspen Dental in DeWitt, New York criss-crossed the country in a mobile unit, providing free services to former servicemembers as they went from town to town. This year, the organization partnered with the nonprofit Got Your Six to serve over 4,000 veterans, nationwide.
In a similar effort, dentistry students at the University of Southern Indiana Evanston treated local veterans, free of charge. College officials said it was the least they could do for the men and women who served so bravely.