Local veterans all smiles after free dental care



By Nelson Oliveira

Like many veterans, Matthew Bolton can’t get dental care through federal veterans’ programs and can’t afford to pay for it himself. As a result, he hasn’t been to a dentist in more than four years.

“It’s absolutely difficult,” Bolton said. “The VA does a great job with medical care when you get out, but unfortunately, dental is not covered.”

On Wednesday, the Hamden native got his first teeth-cleaning since his discharge from the Navy in 2011 — and he got it for free.

Employees at local Aspen Dental offices spent the day inside a 42-foot mobile office in Bethel, providing basic dental care for about 30 military veterans as part of the Healthy Mouth Movement.

“They do a lot for us, so this is a good opportunity to give back to them,” said Mark Chiavelli, director of operations for Aspen, which is a national network of independent dental practices.

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