May 24, 2022

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Veterans can request an appointment for Veteran Oral Health Day | School of Dentistry

In November, West Virginia University School of Dentistry and the WVU Center for Veterans, Military and Family Programs will host a free oral healthcare clinic for veterans and active National Guard members.

A limited number of dental appointments will be available Friday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for WVU students who are veterans and others.

Open registration for veterans  begins October 25 and continues until appointments are filled. To request an appointment, call 304-293-6208. 

Qualifications and coverage vary for veterans who seek dental care benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the VA, coverage depends on a number of factors like the veteran’s military service history, current health status and living situation.

For example, a veteran with a service-connected dental disability who receives monthly compensation for the disability could qualify for coverage of “any needed dental care.”

However, dental benefits for a service member who is part of the Chapter 31 program, or Veteran Readiness and Employment program, will cover expenses only if the care provided meets an employment goal for the veteran. A qualifying goal, as determined by a VA dental care provider, could be treatment that makes it possible for participation in the employment program, treatment that prevents a patient from stopping an employment program or treatment that makes it possible to achieve full independence in daily living.

 “The WVU School of Dentistry has had a strong partnership with the VA, providing care to veterans who are referred to our clinic.  We realized that there are veterans who cannot receive dental care through the VA.  Therefore, we started this program three years ago, so that we could screen and provide basic care to veterans in need,” said Dr. Fotinos Panagakos, associate dean for research.

An annual outreach clinic hosted by West Virginia University School of Dentistry and WVU Center for Veterans, Military and Family Programs is designed to assist those veterans with minimal or no benefits.

A limited number of appointments will be available at Veteran Oral Health Day on Friday, November 12, 2021. Veterans and active National Guard and Reserve members will receive free dental screenings, x-rays as necessary, cleaning, simple fillings and other urgent care needs based on the determination of the faculty and student dental and dental hygiene providers.

“Since we launched this outreach clinic in 2019, several hundred veterans have received some sort of additional care beyond the initial visit that was compensated through supporters of our program. It shows us there is a need for what we’re able to offer and motivates us to continue to offer Veteran Oral Health Day,” said Jerry Wood, director of the Center for Veteran, Military and Family Programs.

In 2019, the Borgia Family Veteran’s Oral Health Care fund was created to help in the completion of dental treatment plans. Those interested in supporting the fund can learn more and donate online through the WVU Foundation.