St. Louis Dental Center offers oral healthcare exams to veterans this Saturday

Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 4:39 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The St. Louis Dental Center will be hosting a Veterans Clinic to provide comprehensive dental screenings for veterans at no cost.

Through a unique partnership between A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) and Affinia Healthcare, the St. Louis Dental Center is a federally qualified health center serving underserved and vulnerable populations. Many veterans have no health insurance or access to quality oral healthcare.

“This is our seventh year of welcoming veterans to the St. Louis Dental Center for no cost, affordable care. Our services are important because only 15% of veterans are eligible for dental care through the Veterans Administration,” explained Herbert Silva, DMD, ATSU-MOSDOH assistant professor, comprehensive care director, and leader of the Dentures for Veterans Project at the St. Louis Dental Center. “When veterans are not in pain and can smile again, they are more likely to engage with work, family, and socialization. These meaningful connections can prevent isolation and desperation.”

In 2015, A.T. Still University’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH) and Affinia Healthcare established a unique partnership to address the critical shortage of dentists, and paucity of oral health services for underserved, vulnerable populations in St. Louis, who lack access to high quality oral healthcare. Through this innovative partnership, ATSU-MOSDOH’s third- and fourth-year dental students complete their hands-on clinical education curriculum at the St. Louis Dental Center in a community health center learning environment, providing dental care to Affinia Healthcare’s patients.

Affinia Healthcare’s experienced clinical operations and skilled oral healthcare teams are essential to the partnership because of its comprehensive primary medical, dental, and behavioral health services provided to over 43,000 patients per year, of which 90% have incomes under 100% of the federal poverty line. Collaboratively, ATSU-MOSDOH and Affinia Healthcare help dental students develop a comprehensive understanding of the negative determinants of health on the dental and overall health of patients at the St. Louis Dental Center, while improving access to dental care for otherwise underserved individuals in our community.

By the numbers, to date, 1,000 veterans have been screened and treated, and more than 550 veterans have received full and partial dentures. All at no cost.

The free dental screening and exam will happen this Saturday, July 8th from 7:30-11:00 a.m. The St. Louis Dental Center is located at 1500 Park Avenue.

For more information or to pre-register call 314-685-3553.