People in KELOLAND who have served our country are getting something important in return.
And it’s all happening inside a big, blue bus traveling across the country.
It’s a mobile dental office.
On Tuesday, Aspen Dental parked the bus near the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center and gave free dental care to veterans.
It isn’t your typical waiting room, but Tom Erickson will be getting the services you would expect at any dental office.
The best part: this visit won’t come out of the veteran’s pocket.
“Dental care is getting kind of expensive these days,” Veteran Tom Erickson said.
The Beresford man is one of several who showed up Tuesday to receive care.
“Making sure we address pain by doing simple extractions, fillings, cleanings, oral cancer screenings, doing everything we can to help out this population of people,” Aspen Dental Dentist Dr. Derek Garagiola said.
The work is done in what’s called the MouthMobile. It makes about 30 stops around the country a year.
So far, more than 25,000 veterans have received care, tallying up to more than $20 million worth of dentistry.
“Veterans represent a group of people that are undercared for,” Garagiola said.
Dr. Derek Garagiola says not all veterans receive dental care through the Veterans Administration because of certain requirements that must be met.
But this MouthMobile is helping fill the gap.
“Just to be able to sit down with people and tell them, ‘Yes I can help you get that out of pain. Don’t worry, it’s not going to cost you anything.’ You really get a chance to meet these people and talk with them and it’s really an incredible experience to help everyone out,” Garagiola said.
“I think it means a lot to the veterans,” Erickson said.
Aspen Dental partnered with local non-profit Warriors Never Give Up to provide the dental care.
According to its website, it’s an organization that offers outdoor adventures for veterans.