Veterans receive free dental care
Two Cleveland dentists are helping veterans smile again by offering free dental care. It's the Center for Cosmetic Dentistry's way of honoring vets, just a few days before Veteran's Day.
It's been over 30 years since Darrell Lane served in the United States Navy. He says that was probably the last time he could afford going to the dentist, until Friday.
"This means that someone cares," said Lane, who was getting three teeth pulled.
Father and son dentists, Dr. Ken Beard and Dr. Brian Beard, were offering free dental care to all veterans.
"I (already) pulled one tooth myself," said Lane. "I couldn't really afford to go, so they're doing me a favor. A good favor."
"Extractions, dentures, partials, implants and crowns. Pretty much everything that we do. But we don't charge them anything," explained Dr. Brian Beard.
Van Johnson said his VA benefits won't cover dental care.
"Dentistry is very expensive anymore, just like everything else," he said. "There's only so much money to go around."
The Army veteran said his teeth have been bothering him for quite some time.
"No pain, but they're just starting to fall out."
Fourteen veterans received free care on Friday. Iraq War veteran Adam Wright was one of them.
"I had some dental work done back when I was in the military," Wright said. "Two teeth are still very sensitive. They're fixing that for me today."
Wright returned home from Baghdad in 2010.
"A lot of vets, in our history, we didn't really take care of them," he said, sitting in the dentist chair. "But now, they're trying to take care of us."
"They are the most appreciative people I've ever seen," said Dr. Beard.
"They get tears in their eyes because they're so thankful for what we're doing, but we owe it to them," he said. "We're thankful."
The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry partners with several local labs that agree to make veteran's dentures and crowns for free.
Another free clinic will take place near Veteran's Day in 2016.