DLN Success Story – DDS Helps Missouri Navy Vet With Much Needed Dental Care

Richard, 64, joined the Navy at the age of 17 and served our country for two tours in Vietnam. When he returned, he suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and for the next 30 years, he battled PTSD. As a result, he became unemployed and was homeless for a period of time.

He moved to Missouri to begin work as a veteran service manager at Missouri Veterans Endeavor (MOVE-STL), an independent nonprofit focused on housing for veterans and their families, and he is now able to give back in the same way he received help.

In addition to his other conditions, Richard’s dental health was in terrible condition. He had periodontal disease he developed over the past decades that needed treatment. Richard’s 40-year-old crown was breaking apart and several missing molars left him unable to chew. Although he receives healthcare through Veterans Affairs, it did not include dental care. While he currently works, Richard still was not able to afford the dental treatment he needed.

How DDS Helped

Fortunately, Richard was referred to the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program and he was linked with three generous volunteers.

  • Dr. Douglas Watanabe preformed a dental exam and restored five teeth.
  • May Dental Arts donated a bridge.
  • Pinnacle Dental Laboratory donated a partial lower denture.

“So far, it’s made an amazing impact. I didn’t know if I’d get help and if I hadn’t, the periodontal disease would’ve progressed. Words can’t express the gratitude I have. What these dentists are doing is remarkable and it’s making a huge difference in veterans’ lives. It is a life changing experience.”

— Richard, DDS Patient

“Richard is very appreciative. If other dentists took part in DDS, a bigger group could then be served. Sacrifice and service is a lesson for all to learn.”

— Dr. Douglas Watanabe, DDS Volunteer

Missouri Donated Dental Services (DDS) is a program of Dental Lifeline Network, a national humanitarian organization and a strategic partner of the ADA, providing access to comprehensive dental care for people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and have no other way to get help. Nationally, almost 16,000 dentists and 3,500 laboratories volunteer for DDS.

Learn more about volunteering or to learn about DDS in your state, visit our state pages.