3 ways dentists can support our veterans
Friday, November 10, 2017
On Veterans Day weekend, people all over the nation take extra time to recognize and thank those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
While it's great to take part in these events, it's equally important to recognize there are things dentists can do all year to support veterans. Some ways might seem obvious; others may surprise you.
Helping veterans through charity
You've undoubtedly heard the stories about the medical conditions and ailments that veterans deal with, especially after returning from battle. This includes suffering from several dental conditions and not having the funds to get treatment.
Organizations like Dentists For Veterans provide opportunities to get the care they need. Started as a local charity in Southern California in 2011, they've provided over $500,000 in dental services to needy veterans.
They offer low-to-no-cost options to treat a variety of conditions that are in desperate need of treatment. You can volunteer or donate to this group.
Helping veterans through action
Another way you can help is finding ways to offer free dental services to veterans. Acquiring full dental benefits through the VA is not an option for many of them because being fully disabled is a prerequisite. If a veteran has limited/no income or is homeless, that really narrows the prospects of getting the care they deserve.
Even though Aspen Dental has more than 500 locations all over the country, they produced a 42-foot mobile services trailer that allows them to bring their services to needy veterans. Eventually, they were able to take their mission to a whole new level by partnering with the dentists associated with Got Your 6. They're a nonprofit that also supports veterans, and by partnering with Aspen, they were able to help 4,000 vets with over $2.8 million in dental services.
Helping veterans through technology
Post-traumatic stress disorder afflicts veterans in several different ways. Even sounds or loud noises can trigger reactions or symptoms. So, imagine how challenging that can make a routine dental visit. Dr. Marianna Kaufman in Wellington, Florida, is addressing this concern with the help of technology.
She uses something called Nu-Calm for a patient whose combat experience caused blindness and PTSD. His name is Blake Deloach, and he will tell you that even the sounds of his infant son crying can trigger flashbacks of the cries he heard in battle.
Nu-Calm is a technology that puts the brain at ease. It's able to achieve this by utilizing a combination of calming cream, electrodes (behind the ear) and noise-canceling headphones that play soothing music. Kaufman says the process puts the patients into a form of presleep. This means Deloach can make regular visits to get cleanings or checkups without hearing the sounds of drills and other tools.
Kaufman isn't the only dentist to use the technology. In fact, more and more medical facilities are using it to help people with PTSD and cancer treatments.
Many of the stories seen during Veterans Day weekend highlight people finding ways to help those in need. Many ideas go on to spread and inspire others to get involved. If you've been wondering how you can help, maybe you can get inspired to add your own story.
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