DLN Success Story – Navy Veteran Receives a New Smile

Dental assistant Jenni, Tom and Dr. John Woell

Tom is an elderly Army veteran who lives in Scott County with his wife of nearly 50 years. As a result of a spinal cord injury during his teenage years that still causes him pain, he visits the VA spinal injury center for ongoing treatment. In 2013 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had both chemo and radiation treatment and underwent surgery. Tom is now in remission.

Unfortunately, during his cancer treatment, he was unable to go to a dentist and his dental health deteriorated significantly. Most of his teeth had decayed and broken off, or were loose, which made eating difficult. Tom could not afford dental treatment; even though he has healthcare through Veteran Affairs, it does not include dental benefits.

Unable to work due to his health, Tom relies on his Social Security Disability benefit and his wife’s Social Security income. Dental treatment seemed far beyond Tom‘s reach.

How DDS Helped

Fortunately, Tom applied to the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program and was linked with two generous volunteers that restored his dental health. Dr. John Woell extracted 12 teeth, restored two others, and with the help of Intelligent Touch Dental Corp., donated a full upper denture and lower partial denture at no cost.

“Dr. W. and his staff were just wonderful. I had not been to a dentist since before my chemotherapy treatments. My wife and I were so worried about my loose and broken teeth but Dr. W. made sure I was comfortable and now I can eat real food and smile again.” 
— Tom, DDS Patient

“We were so happy to have Tom as our DDS patient. Since I am not a veteran, this is one way I can offer my skills as service to our country. If each member of our dental community would commit to one veteran a year the result would be phenomenal.” 
— Dr. John Woell, DDS Volunteer

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