Veterans: When a Veteran Smiles, We All Smile!
Currently, VA only provides dental care to veterans who have a service-related dental problem, are former POWs, or are rated as totally disabled as a result of their military service. Under this current law, only about 7 percent of veterans are eligible for dental care from the VA.
- “I don’t know anything about dental benefits except for 100% [disabled] benefits.”— 100% disabled, 78-year-old veteran living in Arkansas with heart disease, diabetes, and PTSD.
- “The VA doesn’t do appointments, walk-ins only. The dentists seem overworked and genuinely do not care for the veterans coming to see them.”
— 100% disabled, 42-year-old veteran living in Washington State with chronic jaw pain, difficulty eating/chewing, depression, and PTSD.
- “I haven’t been to a dentist in 5 years. I simply don’t have the money for it as a single father not working. I live off 80% disability from the VA. I have halitosis pretty bad and pretty much gave up on my teeth because I know I just can’t get oral care. Please help. I do not qualify for [a] VA dentist.”— Working-age veteran
- “I couldn’t see a dentist because the dental referrals [from the VA] are a year backlogged.” — 100% disabled, 53-year-old veteran with depression, PTSD, heart disease, and diabetes who rates their mental, dental, and overall health as “poor”.
- “Every dentist says I need $35K–$50K of implants. I have dentures made but I cannot eat or speak with them.” — 61-year-old college-educated veteran who has diabetes and PTSD and who struggles with staying employed as a result of his oral health.
We have more than 19 million veterans in the U.S., but less than half are registered for VA health care and about seven percent are eligible for comprehensive dental care. In other words, 93% can’t access adequate dental care.
A 2021 report, “Veteran Oral Health Expanding Access and Equity,” found that nearly half of veterans experienced gum problems or bone loss whereas 27% of non-veterans had these issues. The same report noted that 56% of veterans had active and treated decay, again, a percentage higher than non-veterans.
Let’s take care of our Veterans by providing free dental care through Hope Dental Clinic.