Local veterans all smiles after free dental care

dental care

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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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