By Christine Hockin-Boyd, Community Lifeline Center
What would you guess is the #1 service veterans request when they seek assistance from Community Lifeline Center? If you said “dental care” you’d be right.
Nearly 4 out of 10 veterans ask for it.
Here’s an example: a veteran’s spouse asked if her husband could receive dental care. The pain in his mouth had become so severe he had not been eating, and was barely able to speak. When the spouse was asked why he hadn’t sought help earlier she said “He was too embarrassed.” An appointment was made with a local dentist who partners with CLC. The dentist office manager called CLC to say she had never seen a patient in so much pain, or one who was so embarrassed, and felt so unworthy. He had convinced himself there was no hope, no point, no solution. He didn’t feel he was worth the effort.
Well, to put a smile on a painful story, the dentist and CLC were able to agree on a budget, the veteran received complete oral care, and a set of permanent upper and lower dentures. Because of the Veterans Grant CLC receives, and the cooperation of a local dentist, this veteran can eat, talk, and smile with renewed self confidence.
Oh, and what’s a smile worth? A 2011 research study conducted at Bangor University on the value of a smile concluded that ”Indeed, the researchers calculated the value of a genuine smile in the experiment at just over a third of a penny.”
Don’t try telling the veteran that: he thinks the value of his smile is worth a million bucks.
Community Lifeline Center believes crises take away many things, but, dignity should not be one of them, so we treat all clients with respect.