Veteran Smile Month aims to help veterans get dental services

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Veterans can get some free dental procedures all month long in Fresno.

Veteran John Strickland is not afraid of a little pain, but he's grateful to be at the dentist getting some much-needed care done during Veteran Smile Month.

Strickland says as a Navy Flight technician, he was the first line of defense during the Cold War and is a plane crash survivor.

"We were lucky because it happened while we were taking off. Basically, if it had happened about a second sooner, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you," he said.

Strickland recently got four teeth pulled.

"The grand total was $0.00, which took me by surprise. I appreciate that very much," Strickland said.

Veterans Smile Day is a national event where dentists can offer free services.

This year, the pandemic impacted the event and volunteers decided to organize a month-long effort in the Fresno area.

"Them calling us to establish an appointment, then we can screen them and appoint them to come in and then give them the care that they need. Actually doing it for the whole entire month allows us to give even more care," said Dr. Aaron Noordmans, oral surgeon & Veteran.

Dr. Aaron Noordmans was in the service himself and feels a special bond with these veterans.

He says unfortunately, many veterans do not receive free dental benefits, which is why an event like this is so important.

"We're definitely willing to honor any veteran that walks in whether they're homeless or have a home," Dr. Noordmans said.

Veterans can get services ranging from extractions to fillings.

For more information, you can call the Fresno Madera Dental Society at 559-438-7284.

As for Strickland, he knows freedom is not free.

"You can pay a price and I didn't want my son to grow up without a father. I fulfilled my obligation to the military and I'm proud to be a veteran," Strickland said.
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