Community program

New Community Program Creates Dignified Smiles | St. Louis Business News

AT Still University (ATSU) celebrated its 125th anniversary last year. In honor of this impressive monument, each school in the university has carried out a community service project. The college of dentistry has chosen to focus its giving program on honoring veterans with a life-changing smile.

The result was an organization called Dentures for Veterans, a widespread community service program. The group’s mission is to welcome deserving service members from the St. Louis and Kirksville area. Led by a group of volunteer health professionals, the program was made possible by a generous gift from the President of AT Still University.

The ATSU has identified a need for this type of program because many veterans do not qualify for federally funded dental care. As a result, ATSU faculty chose to target veterans in need of dentures.

Assistant Professor, Herbert Silva, DMD, served as the project facilitator. A former Marine, Silva was instrumental in identifying veterans to receive dental care. Some recipients have lost their teeth due to disease, others due to accidents. Because the prosthetic process takes several weeks, ATSU and the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health (MOSDOH) worked on patients in phases, providing quality follow-up care free of charge.

ATSU and MOSDOH have partnered with Affinia Healthcare, Smiles of Hope and Dental Arts Laboratories Inc. to provide these prostheses to veterans free of charge. In the future, the program hopes to expand its services to much more than dentures. Routine procedures and oral health education is something volunteers would like to incorporate when funding permits.

The advantages are twofold; not only do veterans receive free care from faculty and students, but they also have the opportunity to share their personal stories with health professionals in the community. This creates a one-of-a-kind approach focused on compassion and generosity. To date, the program has helped over 49 veterans.

Compiled from marketing press releases and corporate websites.