The Missouri Donated Dental Services (DDS) program helps patients like Stephen, a 61-year-old Marine Corps veteran who lives by himself in Independence. Stephen was honorably discharged after suffering an injury, which has continued to present challenges throughout his life. Stephen now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and requires a cane to get around. While his 30-year-old daughter helps him, he also suffers from a renal stent and high blood pressure, both of which his physician attributes to his dental health. Experiencing severe pain caused by broken and decaying teeth, Stephen saw a dentist in 2021, but was unable to afford the treatment he needed. Getting by on only a small Social Security Disability benefit, Stephen struggles to make ends meet. With only 18 natural teeth remaining, the care he needed seemed out of reach.
This all changed when Dr. David Suchman, a DLN • MO board member and DDS volunteer since 2006, stepped in. With the help of a team of volunteer dental laboratories, Dr. Suchman installed one crown and conducted four restorations, along with several other procedures, providing Stephen with thousands of dollars-worth of donated treatment. Thanks to this caring team, Stephen was able to improve his oral health, and with that his overall wellbeing. With restored confidence and improved health, this Marine Corps veteran has a new reason to smile.
Expressing his gratitude to the team that stepped up to help, Stephen said: “When talking about my rejuvenated smile, teeth, and this entirely positive life-changing experience, I tell anyone who will listen about every one of you and of the kind, caring treatment I received. Thank you for making a difference in my life!”