Through a partnership with L.K. Dental Studios, Manus Health Systems, a state-of-the-art dental practice with four Chicagoland locations, has launched the Grant-a-Smile program aimed at restoring and enhancing the smiles of military veterans.
Dentist Robin Gay, DDS, of Manus, explains that many military personnel are unable to keep up with dental hygiene overseas and are typically in need of restorative services upon their return to the states. “There is a large need for dental services by military veterans so we wanted to do our part in giving back,” says Dr. Gay. “A healthy smile is an important component in maintaining both physical and emotional health.”
Over the past year, the program has provided free cosmetic and restorative dental services to seven military veterans. The smile makeovers have included everything from long-term treatments such as braces and Invisalign to cosmetic enhancements such as porcelain veneers. “It is rewarding to give back to those who have served our country,” says Dr. Gay. “Giving someone something to smile about can go a long way.”
Related reading |An argument for clear aligners and clear braces
What are some of the most common dental needs you see among your patients?
Since the introduction of fluoride into the water supply, we’ve seen carious lesions decrease dramatically. However, we still continue to see a prevalence of gum disease as well as an increase in occlusal disease in our patient population.
How have the recent advances in orthodontics affected the number of cases of adult orthodontia you work with among members of the military?
I think the recent advances in orthodontics have increased the access to care for our entire patient population. In working with our military patients with our Grant-A-Smile program, we were able to provide ideal occlusion utilizing minor tooth movement that involved the use of clear aligners.
Do you believe clear aligners help improve case acceptance?
Absolutely. Adult patients have often undergone traditional orthodontics during their adolescence and are hesitant to revisit conventional therapy. Clear aligners afford them the ability to have an optimum occlusion with minimum invasive therapy.
Related reading |In Favor of Invisible
Is there any specific way other dentists can support your Grant-a-Smile program or support the military in a similar way?
Our program through our practice is unique in that we were invited to initiate care for a few individuals who did not have access to dental care. We extended this opportunity on a larger scale through the efforts of a very supportive administrative team at Roosevelt University. I encourage any dental professional to reach out to the VA to determine how they can best provide services.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Our Grant-A-Smile Program has been extremely rewarding and life changing not only for our doctors, but most importantly for the men and women who served our country and who did not have access to dental care.
Through the generosity of many individuals and dental companies, we were able to provide the very best dental care. We saw that restoring a smile not only provides physical and dental improvements, but uplifts spirits and helps to restore confidence to individuals thus allowing them to re-enter society in a manner in which they can be proud.
For more information on Manus Dental, visit www.manusdental.com. For more information on the Grant-a-Smile program, visit http://www.manusdental.com/patient-resources/grant-a-smile/.