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Veterans Receive Free Dental Care

<P>Dozens of area veterans are all smiles today thanks to a program at MSU that was all free of charge.</P> <P>The veterans took part in the second annual Dental "Stand Down" hosted by the MSU Dental Hygiene Department.</P> <P>Mechell Dixon was at today's free clinic and joins us with more on how it went.</P>

Coordinators say this year's free Dental "Stand Down" was a huge success that had more than just veterans grinning from ear to ear.

It's a sound that makes many cringe but not these patients.

They're veterans who are receiving free work at MSU's Dental Hygiene Department during this year's free Dental "Stand Down."

"Last year we saw a total of 32 veterans. This year's it's more than doubled and it's just way more than we had ever expected," says Kathy Hammack, patient coordinator for the Dental Hygiene Department.

Veterans received free x-rays and a free cleaning.

This program has veterans smiling and not just because they're getting dental work but also because they're getting seen immediately and not on what's called a space available basis.

"That means if there is a slot for you then they'll get you in. How long could the wait be? Days. Months. It all depends," says Veteran Dezi Hale.

But here they got right in the chair with no wait.

The dental stand down was held to thank veterans for their service to this country but students say the "thanks" went both ways.

"They keep thanking us for all that we do but in turn, we're just so thankful for them so I think it benefits everybody all the way around," explains Erica Young, an MSU dental hygiene student.

Last year coordinators say 32 veterans participated in the Dental "Stand Down.

This year they say the number more than doubled to nearly 70 people.

So, scheduled patients will be seen this coming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

And coordinators say as long as veterans continue calling and making appointments they will continue providing the service.

But we found out that this service could be expanding even more.

Coordinators are currently working to include MSU's Nursing, Radiology and Respiratory Departments.

So next year's program could be even bigger.

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