PORTLAND, Maine — In honor of Veterans Day, the University of New England will be welcoming in veterans for discounted routine cleanings through the end of the semester.
For the second year in a row, the university's department of dental hygiene will be hosting the program.
"Veterans give so much back to us as people. It's important that we're there for them and provide routine dental care," said UNE senior Scott Roberts.
Veterans with a valid ID are able to take part in the program and receive cleanings for $15. Veteran and veterans advocate David Barber says veterans often struggle to receive dental care.
"There are many veterans like myself that can't afford dental insurance or have to pay out of pocket," said Barber. Barber says that veterans often do not have dental insurance coverage through VA benefits. He ran into this problem in 2017 when he had a cracked tooth and was forced to pay out of pocket for the procedure.
"If you do a Google search on veterans dental, you really don't get a lot of things," said Barber.
Barber went to the University of New England last year, sharing his experiencing and hoping the school could offer a program for veterans. This year, for the second year in a row, the school will be doing just that.
"We really want to increase the access to dental care for our veterans and it's an ongoing problem," said UNE assistant professor of dental hygiene Rachael Salamon.
Due to the pandemic, all cleanings will be appointment based to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and follow state and CDC guidelines.
To schedule an appointment, you can call the University of New England at 207-221-4900.
Included in the cleanings will also be free dental exams and fluoride varnish. All other procedures would be 50% off up until December 4th, 2020. There are 20 appointments available on a first-call basis.