The Plaza College Community Dental Clinic in Forest Hills, New York, is offering free dental care to United States military veterans and their immediate families this November in honor of Veterans Recognition Month.
Most veterans do not qualify for dental benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, and many struggle to afford the necessary care to maintain oral health for themselves and their families, the college reports.
Veterans Administration hospitals only provide dental care to those veterans who qualify as prisoners of war or who are 100% disabled, leaving a large majority of veterans with no affordable dental care, the college adds.
Dental hygienist students at Plaza College work under the supervision of a certified dentist to conduct full oral cleanings, which constitute most of each routine visit, along with X-rays, oral cancer screenings, and scaling and polishing.
A lack of oral care can lead to cardiovascular disease, pregnancy and birth complications, pneumonia, diabetes, and other serious illnesses, the college says. Without proper oral hygiene, it notes, bacteria can lead to infections including tooth decay and gum disease.
“At Plaza College, our dental hygiene students strive to make a difference by providing accessible healthcare to New Yorkers. We not only salute our veterans but also their good health,” said Dr. Laura Sleeper, director of the Plaza College Dental Hygiene Program.
Free dental care will be offered through November 30 at the clinic, located at 118-35 Queens Boulevard, third floor, Forest Hills, New York. Veterans can make appointments by calling (718) 779-1432.