Reno Dentist Serves Veterans for Free - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reno Dentist Serves Veterans for Free

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It's a common misconception that veterans get dental care covered along with the rest of their benefits. But while the VA does offer dental, most vets don't qualify. So a Reno dentist's office is taking on the mission to serve those who have served.

Every year the Sala Family Dentistry office in northwest Reno opens its doors for a full day of free care for veterans. On Thursday, vets who stopped by for care said that without this help they wouldn't be able to take care of their teeth.

"Being so expensive and so far out of reach," US Air Force veteran Shay Hampton said of dental care, "it almost puts you in a state of depression, when you know your toothache is causing a lot of the issues, but you can't afford to get it taken care of, so what do you do?"

In Hampton's case, you stop by Sala Family Dentistry on "Smiles for FREEdom" day.

"To have somebody say, 'Hey, I got your back now. It's time for you to just sit back and let me take care of you.' That's pretty special," Hampton said.

Sala Family Dentistry said at the end of the day, they helped 39 veterans for free, with everything from cleanings to cavities.

"I had a patient who thought he was just going to get an exam," Dr. Todd Sala said, "and I told him I'm going to do three fillings for him, and he teared up, because he's not used to that."

"The biggest impact for me is being able to hug a veteran, look them in the eye and say 'Thank you for your service,' and have them hug me back and say 'Thank you for letting me smile again,'" Sala Registered Dental Hygienist Kandice Simpkins said.

Simpkins is the main founder and organizer for the annual event.

"They have the biggest hearts," Simpkins said of her patients. "We have big hearts for them. It's an honor for us to be able to serve them back."

Dr. Sala said they had about 50 people volunteer their time to help vets this year, and they gave away more than $90,000 in services.

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