Seventy veterans in urgent need of dental care got it free of charge, thanks to UTHealth’s School of Dentistry, School of Nursing and five Houston-area organizations dedicated to helping veterans. On Give Vets a Smile Day (Nov. 3), the veterans received treatments valued at $36,860.

“I hope this event will continue to grow; the veterans need us,” said Dr. Bridgette Pullis, director of UTHealth’s Veterans BSN program. She and Dr. Margo Melchor, community outreach director for the School of Dentistry, coordinated the event for UTHealth.

They reached out to Camp Hope-Houston, US Vets Initiatives-Houston, Easter Seals Greater Houston, Catholic Charities-Women Veteran's Program and the DeGeorge at Union Station to find veterans in need of dental care not provided by the VA. Nursing students visited as many of the needy veterans as possible to get medical histories for triage purposes ahead of time.

On Nov. 3, the veterans came to the School of Dentistry, where senior dental hygiene students and residents from the Advanced Education in General Dentistry and General Practice Residency programs provided the care. Services included assessment, radiology, preventive and therapeutic cleanings, restorations, extractions, and partial/denture adjustments.

Amegy Bank was a major sponsor, donating $5,000 for the event. Additional sponsors included ACTEON North America, Astro Pharmacy LLC, Brassler USA, Buffalo Wild Wings (Kirby Drive location), Chick-Fil-A (Kirby), Delta Dental Insurance Co. and its affiliates, Domino’s Pizza (Kirby), The Kolache Factory (Kirby), Medicom, Patterson Dental and Procter & Gamble/OralB (Angela Harvey and Desi Nuckolls).