Dental office sends vets home with new smiles

Aspen Dental participates in day providing veterans with free dental care

On Saturday, Aspen Dental in Onalaksa gave back to those who have served our country, helping them leave with a brand new smile.

Millions of veterans in the country are without adequate dental care.

“Teeth are more important than people realize until they don’t have them, you know?” Alma resident Stephen Mann said.

As a way to say thanks for their service, the Aspen Dental office in Onalaska joined other clinics across the country in offering their own services free of charge.

Mann was one of the 17 veterans who received care at Aspen Dental Saturday.

“What’s nice about today is the price is right,” he said.

“They’re not able to afford the care on their own, for example, if we do some extractions that could be $150 to $250 in savings just per tooth,” Aspen Dental office manager Darcy Fechner said.

Mann had to have four teeth removed, which ordinarily would have been a financial strain. He said having it done free meant a lot.

“I’m on fixed income, so it means everything,” he said.

“They’ve done a lot for us, now we’re going to do a lot for them,” Fechner said. “It may not be everything they need, but it starts them in the right direction.”

Fecnher said there was no lack of smiles in the office.

“They can go home, and they’re like, ‘I just saved $250. You just gave me some care I wasn’t able to get anywhere else and it’s completely free,'” she said. “They leave and they’re laughing, and they just enjoyed their visit with us because we are so enthusiastic about giving some of that service for free.”

Right after getting four teeth pulled out, Mann’s not sure if he’ll be leaving the building with a big smile, but he is happy he was able to get the care he needs.

“They’re giving me a good head start,” he said.

Fechner said she expected to give out about $12,000 worth of free care to veterans Saturday. She said the staff is already planning for next year’s event, and they hope to expand to help more veterans, now that they have an additional dentist.

Aspen Dental also provides veteran discounts throughout the year.