MESA — Roughly 80 Veterans received free dental care at the Carrington College in Mesa Saturday morning.
The annual event put on by the Central Arizona Dental Society (CADS) Foundation lined up volunteers to help the nation’s heroes get access to dental care.
“It’s real good, because a lot of veterans, you know, we’ve gone through a lot of stuff. We don’t have extra money to be spending on dental hygiene and keeping up with it. The cost is just right,” said Kenneth Gardner, a Marine Corps veteran.
The CADS Foundation helped people get fillings, cleanings and oral surgery where needed.
“We do it because there’s a tremendous need. We feel passionate about this particular community of Veterans who sometimes get left behind. [They] don’t always get the best care,” said Kevin Conroy, the executive director of the organization.
According to the Veterans Affairs Department, in 2019, only 8% of Veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care System are eligible for dental benefits. Veterans have to meet specific criteria to be eligible.
While some can pay for their own dental costs, not everyone can.
“Some people are not able to afford those services and this right here, is a big budget cost. It helps your budget a lot,” said Shelly Hamilton, a Navy Veteran.
The CADS Foundation says it’s getting ready to put on its bigger event on December 9 and 10, planning to help roughly 2,000 people receive free dental care. This is open to anyone, and it will be located at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the coliseum. For more information, click here.