ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Over 100 veterans were given free screenings and exams at the St. Louis Dental Center Saturday morning.
Franchot Lawless said he hadn't been to the dentist in over a decade before he set foot in Saturday's clinic.
“I don’t do dentists. I guess it’s a phobia kind of, but for some reason I’m very comfortable here," Lawless said.
The Vietnam veteran put his fears aside to get a check up. He also plans to get dentures -- which will not only give him a new smile, but will also improve his quality of life.
"It's been painful for a while," Lawless said.
This was the fifth year for the free dental clinic which is now held three times a year. It was started by a retired dentist and former marine, who saw a need within the community as not all veterans are eligible for dental care through the VA.
“Students need to get certain procedures to graduate, veterans are in need, I have an idea let’s put the two of them together and come up with some funding," Dr. Herb Silva said.
“This is marvelous. I think it’s going to help me a lot, I think it’s going to help a lot of other veterans," Lawless said. "It makes me feel wonderful that they care about veterans."