Local News: Aspen Dental offers free dental care to veterans Saturday (6/8/22)

Dentist Ise D’Angelo works Wednesday at Aspen Dental in Poplar Bluff, MO on her dental patient with the assistance of Leah Pulliam.

DAR/Misty DeJournett

“I always want to donate my time back, this is something I like about Aspen, they make it easy for practitioners to give back,” said Ise D’Angelo, a Poplar Bluff dentist.

D’Angelo and other Aspen dentists will provide free dental care to veterans Saturday. She has been practicing dentistry since 2020, and is a graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

“This is important to me with veterans. I didn’t choose to serve, but I went to a military college, The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, so I have a lot of friends in the military and I have seen firsthand how hard it is for them to get access to care,” said D’Angelo. “I know and have seen the frustrations of veterans trying to get dental work done so this is a great opportunity.”

It is likely no surprise with the economy, lack of insurance and time constraints, that people often put oral health on the back burner.

“Dental is part of your overall health. They have studies now linking dental health to heart health and many other things, but to me, I don’t understand why health and dental are separate at all,” said D’Angelo, “They certainly shouldn’t be. I think it sends people the wrong message that dental health is not as important and it is.”

According to dental health providers, there are hundreds of people every year who discover they have leukemia, among many other serious health issues, that may be caught through regular dental check-ups.

Many Americans live in locations with little to no access to dental care, that, paired with other hurdles like fear, cost and lack of insurance hinder them from getting the care they need.

“I have seen the highest need here. I came from Boston and there was a dentist on every corner. This is far more rural than what I am used to, it is eye-opening,” said D’Angelo.

United States veterans experience an additional hurdle, as they are not eligible for dental benefits through the Veterans Administration unless they have been deemed 100% disabled, have a service-related mouth injury or were a prisoner of war, according to Aspen.

Aspen Dental Care teams have stepped up to address this need for eight years now by assisting over 30,000 veterans and patients in need of dental services, the company said in a press release. Since 2014, they have provided over $23 million in donated dentistry.

Founded in 1998 in New York by Bob Fontana, Aspen Dental, “always had a simple goal in mind, to break down the barriers that doctors and patients face when it comes to dental care,” according to a press release.

The free service day for this area is scheduled in Poplar Bluff from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, but there will be more service opportunities. Currently, three other offices are participating and are located in Paducah, Cape Girardeau and Harrisburg. Veterans can call 1-844-ASPENHMM (1-844-277-3646) to make an appointment for the upcoming clinic. Advance appointments are required.

To find more information on Aspen Dental, as well as free or reduced service opportunities, go to their website at

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