Grass Valley dental office hosts a day of free dental care for veterans | TheUnion.com

Grass Valley dental office hosts a day of free dental care for veterans

Hundreds if not thousands of the estimated 10,000 veterans in Nevada County do not qualify for free dental care offered by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, commonly known as the VA, say local veterans advocates.

According to Vietnam veteran Pete Vasilakos, 2nd Vice Commander of the American Legion's Frank Gallino Post 130, the criteria for cost-free dental care through the VA is relatively narrow. To qualify, most veterans must have a serious military service-related disability or have been a prisoner of war. That leaves a large faction — many of whom live on limited incomes — unable to pay for even the most basic of dental care.

"A lot of them slip through the cracks," said Vasilakos. "It's tough to watch."

These statistics are the reason why Fore Dental Care will host its first "Smiles for FREEdom" event Nov. 18 at its Grass Valley office. Dentists Stacy Fore and her father, Larry Fore, will join forces with three other Nevada County dentists — Douglas Valentine, Navneet Arora and Jerome Young — to treat roughly 50 veterans free of charge.

Most of these dentists have treated patients at other free dental care events, such as the Nevada County All Veteran Stand Down, but Smiles for FREEdom is the first of its kind in Nevada County, said Stacy Fore.

"We're seeing more of a need — here and throughout the country," Fore said. "The VA doesn't do root canal, partial dentures, crowns or cosmetic dentistry unless they're fully injured or disabled. Otherwise they get no dental benefits."

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At the event, free dental services will include a combination of diagnostic services, cleanings, fillings, extractions and other possible dental health services based upon individual needs. Dental services will be by appointment only and will run from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Based in Reno and founded in 2015, Smiles for FREEdom is an organization designed to bring professionals together for a day to provide free dental care services for veterans and active service members within local communities. Volunteer dental care providers including specialists, dentists, registered dental hygienists, assistants and administrative staff work together to provide care for those in need who have served their country. To date, their events have served more than 156 men and women and provided over $280,500 in free dental services.

"It's important for Fore Dental Care to give back to the community and to help others get out of pain and enjoy happier and healthier smiles," said Stacy Fore. "Services will be provided by appointment only, so participants will not need to stand in line throughout the day."

In addition to free care for vets, volunteers are urging the community to get involved by stopping by during the event to write a letter of thanks those who have served in the military. A table will be set up out in front of the Sutton Way office with letter-writing supplies.

"If I had one message for my fellow vets regarding this event," said Vasilakos, "it would be this: Get your asses down here."

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.

Free dental care for military veterans

Fore Dental Care

463 Sutton Way, Grass Valley

Phone: 530-273-1470

Nov. 18, by appointment only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, to inquire about appointments or to make a donation to help pay for needed supplies and services, email ForeDentalCare@gmail.com, or visit the following websites: http://www.ForeDentalCare.com and http://www.SmilesForFreedom.org.

Community members are encouraged to stop by the offices of Fore Dental Care to write a letter to a member of the troops. A table in front with supplies will be set up between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.