A Veterans Day free gift of a smile
After arriving on the front lines of Vietnam in 1970, U.S. Army Veteran Dayton Stout of Elizabethton was wounded twice in the same battle. “I was out for about a month, and they sent me back into the jungle to fight,” shares Dayton, who is a Combat Wounded Veteran of the Vietnam War after serving from 1970 to 1972. “When I first came back from Vietnam, garbage and rotten vegetables were thrown at me by protesters and that just stuck with me.”
He adds, “That response broke my heart. I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t think I’d be turned against by my own people.”
On Thursday, Nov. 5, prior to Veterans Day, Dr. Terry Brown is on a mission to bring a much-deserved smile to Dayton through the gift of free dental care. And the Vietnam Veteran couldn’t be more grateful. “When Dr. Brown told me he was going to be doing all this dental care, which I really need, at a 100% discount, in that moment it just erased all the negative response that I received and was used to getting about the war,” explains a tearful Dayton.
The dental care provided — all specialized treatments performed daily by Dr. Brown at his Affordable Dentures & Implants practice, 4516 Hwy. 11E in Bluff City, — include teeth extractions, alveoloplasty, bone grafting, dentures and implant surgery. Dayton’s appointment was scheduled for Thursday at 8 a.m. and the delivery of his new smile —his new dentures — came approximately two hours later.
“I’m still in disbelief and overwhelmed by this,” shares Dayton, who like all Military Veterans, in order to qualify for full VA dental benefits, must be 100 percent disabled, have been a prisoner of war or have developed a dental condition during their service. Dayton does not qualify for full VA dental benefits. He adds, “It got to the point in my life where I didn’t talk about Vietnam because it brought up so many negative responses in the past. And now with Dr. Brown, for a change, something good has come out of my service.”
As a U.S. Navy Dental Corps Veteran, Dr. Brown has a personal mission to give back to fellow Veterans. “I help patients every day in my office, and I understand and see firsthand the importance of my patients’ oral healthcare to their overall health,” explains Dr. Brown. “Our Veterans deserve the very best dental care, and I believe in taking care of our own.”
Dayton is not alone in his need for dental care. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and more than 35 million Americans are missing all their teeth on one or both arches.
Dr. Brown adds, “The need is so great, and as a dentist, I feel so honored to be able to help Dayton smile again.”
“I was not expecting this; it is almost like I hit the lottery,” adds Dayton. “I just can’t believe it. I’m so grateful for Dr. Brown, and I can’t wait to smile.”