Veteran's Receive Free Dental Care
by Andre "Skyviper" Ford
Pictured left to right. Mandy Fisher RDA, Dr. Paul Teed, Alyssa Thompson Practice Manager, and Mrs. Katie.
Grateful, thankful, and honored are just a few words that many have used to describe their experience at Teed Family Dentistry on 11-15-2017. Dr. Teed, along with staff, volunteers, and local businesses worked together to give our veterans much needed dental care, for free.
“ We wanted to do something for the community as we were not able to participate in the day of caring event like we normally do” stated Alyssa Thompson, the Practice Manager at Teed Family Dentistry. “However, we still wanted to reach out and help the community.” Thompson continued to explain the research Dr. Teed and his staff conducted about the health benefits veterans receive. Their research revealed that a number of veterans did not have a decent dental plan.
Thompson explained “Ignoring cleaning leads to serious health issues.” Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that half of adults age 30 and older suffer from some form of gum disease. This disease, while painless, affects the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Information from the American Dental Association explains that “Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time... While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.”
The ADA vehemently states “You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.” Scheduling regular visits with your dentist is a simple matter for most who have adequate dental insurance. So what about the veterans dental insurance?
There are a couple of dental plans available for veterans such as Tricare. Senior Airman Danette Kilmer, who was stationed in New York and served in the United States Air Force for 6 years, explained “ Tricare is a nightmare, nobody takes it, at least in my experience.” She continued to explain how costly the benefits became and stated “They made me start paying $200/mo. for coverage. So basically my drill check went straight toward a cruddy health insurance plan where as before it was fully covered. Ultimately the benefits got so bad I realized the civilian sector had better insurances. I work for a civilian corporation now and my plan blows anything the Air Force gave me out of the water.” Other veterans had similar, if not identical, experiences with their benefits, like SrA Kilmer. Other veterans, along with spouses of veterans, explained how each system is different and the quality of care various from state to state as well as individually.
How well the benefits are for veterans is questionable. However it was without question that veterans in Searcy, Arkansas were in need of good dental care. Alyssa Thompson, from Teed's Family Dentistry explained “It was decided to help veterans that have served or are severing in our armed forces. We provided exams, xrays, fillings, and extractions, as well as needed medication to assist with preventative issues and recovery of overall oral health.” Thompson explained how several businesses and individuals worked together to make the free dental care event, at Teed's Family Dentistry, something our local veterans would remember. Food was provided by Daisy's Lunchbox, a local bakery on court square provided tasty treats, and Stu's Brews provided coffee. Ms. Debbie from Corner Florist provided festive arrangements. Lowery's Pharmacy, Allison Glidewell, an ASU Student, and other volunteers helped with the event as well.
Louis Buttler Alyssa Tompson, with Mike Nicolson
“That's a pretty good deal that Paul Teed did this,” Private First Class Mr. Smith, of Searcy, said “Even though benefits have come a long way there is still much left to be desired, at least with my experience.” (Combatace veterans: PFC Smith wanted to be ID'd that way.)
Speaking of experience, Wayne Duncan an US Army from the 82nd Battalion Bravo Company, spoke about the event at Teed's Family Dentistry saying “They treated me like I was royalty... they were awesome. I don't have know how many veterans they have seen because it very busy when I was there.”
Alyssa Thompson said “We've seen about 20 veterans and conducted 40 extractions,8 fillings, and performed other numerous procedures.” Thompson explained how veterans that arrived last Tuesday will, if needed, have the opportunity to return the in the upcoming week to have their dental care completed. When speaking about how the event impacted her personally she stated “It made me very mindful to see how many people have been left behind and of how prominent the need is for vets. It was a rewarding and humbling experience.”
Dr. Teed; however, stated “The best part about Tuesday was the gratitude from all the military. Its heart breaking the amount of negligence our vets encounter in regards to health and dental care. We were more than happy to accommodate some of the needs our community veterans have. I would just like us all to be more conscious and try to make a collective effort to show these guys the love, respect and compassion they truly deserve. It was my pleasure.”
“That day was so amazing and heart filling. My heart was just so full that day.” recalled Mandy Fisher, Registered Dental Assistant. “It was a pleasure to give back to those who gave so much. We were expressing our gratitude to them for what they have done and sacrificed. They in turn were thankful, and grateful to us for providing them dental care. It was a very humbling experience.”
Other veterans that received care from the event didn't want to make a public comment. However all of them are grateful for what Dr. Teed, his staff, volunteers, and local businesses have done for them. Wayne Duncan stated “It was an experience I will never forget. They are good people.”
Alyssa Thompson, Wayne Duncan, Mandy Fisher