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Smile Faith Dental gives free and low-cost dental care to veterans

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Posted at 6:11 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 18:20:14-05

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Giuseppe Buccellato is a U.S. Army veteran who fought in the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

He said when he signed up for the Army he was told that as far as his health everything would be taken care of for him for the rest of his life, but it wasn’t everything.

"They won’t charge you a penny for anything, but they won’t take care of your mouth," said Buccellato.

"95% do not have access to dental in the V.A," said Tom Lane, founder, and CEO of Smile Faith. "They have nowhere to go so they just suffer in silence, or they go and have a tooth pulled and nothing else."

Lane, who is a veteran himself, said he wanted to do something to help so he founded Smile Faith Dental, a nonprofit organization that provides free and low-cost dental care to veterans.

Buccellato has been without his back teeth for decades.

"You can’t chew right, you always have pain and you can’t eat the things that you want to eat," said Buccellato.

But thanks to dentists, volunteers, and donors at Smile Faith, Buccellato is getting implants.

"I could have teeth again so I can eat, and smile at my grandchildren and everyone else," said Buccellato.

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Smile Faith does it all right on sight. From the dental work to casting the molds for implants and dentures. They even have a dental bus to bring the dentist chair to vets.

"We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people and probably done about $25 million in dental care," said Lane.

The faith-based organization relies solely on donations and is always in desperate need of volunteers like Tiffany Shannon.

"They sacrificed for us, we need to sacrifice our time for them. And it’s so rewarding," said Shannon.

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She said it's a chance to give back to those who have already given so much.

"It really changes people’s lives, a smile is powerful," said Lane.

For more information on Smile Faith Dental visit: smilefaith.org