Grass Valley dentist helps veterans in need |

Grass Valley dentist helps veterans in need

Clinical coordinator Katie O'Neil (left) and Dr. Stacy Fore posed during last year's Smiles for Veterans event. The team at Fore Dental Care will again offer free dental care to veterans on Nov. 12, in observance of Veterans Day. Due to an overwhelming need, the dental office is already booked. The team is urging other dental providers to also offer free care to veterans, many of whom live on fixed incomes and lack dental coverage.
Submitted by Allison Kalt

A popular misconception is that all veterans qualify for free dental care offered by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, commonly known as the VA, said Grass Valley dentist Stacy Fore.

In fact, the criteria for cost-free dental care excludes hundreds, if not thousands, of Nevada County veterans.

Those who qualify must have service-connected disabilities rated as 100 percent disabling, or are “unemployable and paid at the 100 percent rate due to service-connected conditions,” according to the VA’s website. That leaves a large faction — many of whom live on limited incomes — unable to pay for even the most basic dental care.

These alarming statistics are the reason Fore Dental Care is hosting its second annual Smiles for Veterans event in observance of Veteran’s Day on Nov. 12. Sadly, the event is already booked, with many more Nevada County veterans in need of treatment.

“Due to the overwhelming need we’re hoping other dental providers will consider offering a day of free care to veterans,” said Fore. “This is a service we view as absolutely necessary.”

According to the website for Dentists for Veterans, a nonprofit service organization based in Irvine, “Most of our brave veterans return home to discover that they do not qualify for any government coverage for dental services unless they are 100 percent disabled, a (prisoner of war), or the dental issue is service related.”

The problem is widespread and the treatment for veterans is woefully underfunded, states the nonprofit. As a result, many untreated dental conditions lead to difficulty eating, excruciating pain and even life-threatening mouth infections that can end up in the bloodstream.

Last year, the team at Fore Dental Care donated between $30,000 and $40,000 worth of dental care to veterans in need. This year is expected to be no different. In the past, the Grass Valley practice has also hosted events affiliated with Dentistry From The Heart, a nonprofit dedicated to providing free dental care to all people in need.

So why does Dr. Fore and her staff do this?

It’s the right thing to do, she said.

“There’s an overwhelming need,” she stressed. “Everyone thinks that all veterans have full dental coverage. They don’t. We don’t like having to turn people away.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at

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