HOUSTON — Veterans in Houston were given a reason to smile on Friday afternoon.
UTHealth’s School of Dentistry offered free dental care to veterans.
Dr. Margo Melchor said it’s a small way for the School of Dentistry to give back to those who have already done so much for this country.
A trip to the dentist can easily be taken for granted. However, for some people like Nichole Griffin, it’s a luxury she doesn’t get to enjoy often.
“This program is heaven sent," Griffin said. "I was so glad that I was able to get in.”
Griffin is an Army veteran. She is one of about 100 veterans who took advantage of UTHealth’s “Give Vets A Smile” event which provides free dental care to those who have served.
“I was able to get them pearly whites done today, baby. They took their time," Griffin said. "It’s so important, because I’ve been homeless. I’ve been a homeless vet. I’m disabled. I can’t really afford dental care."
Dr. Melchor said many veterans who show up are uninsured.
“So a lot of them are walking around with rampant decay or toothaches that they’ve had for quite a long time,” Dr. Melchor said.
While the event is aimed at improving veterans’ dental health, Griffin said it does so much more.
“Having a pretty smile helps me feel better myself, and it helps me know that life will get better,” Griffin said. “If I’m going through something, but then when I got my teeth cleaned today, the rest of my day is going to be great because now I’m going to be smiling everywhere I go.”