Arizona veterans had something to smile about on Saturday. More than 500 Aspen Dental Clinics across the state opened their doors on June 9 to offer free cleanings, fillings, and other dental work to nearly 5,000 veterans.
This is the 5th year Aspen Dental has been hosting their ‘Day of Service’, during which they have donated $10 million in dentistry to more than 17,000 veteran patients.
Veterans like Steven Ruyle worried he’d never get his smile back.
“I am so honored that they’re doing this for me. Completely honored that they’re doing this for me,” Ruyle said.
Serious health issues wiped out his savings when he and his wife were both admitted to the hospital. Ruyle was at the VA hospital one day when he saw a brochure for the ‘Day of Service’.
He said he called, made an appointment, and walked in on Saturday emotional that he was finally going to get a new set of teeth.
“I can go home and smile and shave this mustache off,” he said.
Some veterans aren’t eligible for dental benefits through the Veterans Administration. So to be getting free dental work today they say they're feeling very grateful.
“I’ve been very self-conscious since I lost some teeth,” said veteran Kristy Armstrong. “I just can’t tell you how much this means to me and how [much] difference it’s gonna make for me... They’re just wonderful. I can’t say anything else about it. I’m just, I’m so excited.”