Veteran's community dental clinic opens in New Port Richey

By Katie Jones, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018, 6:12 PM EST

A clinic believed to be the first of its kind to provide dental care to veterans at no cost just opened in New Port Richey.

  • Veteran's community dental clinic opened by nonprofit "Smile Faith"
  • "Smile Faith" founded by veteran Tommie Lane
  • Lane: 95 percent of veterans ineligible for VA dental benefits

The non-profit “Smile Faith” has opened a veterans community dental clinic, located at 5400 School Road, for veterans who can’t afford their own dental care.

Veteran Tommie Lane founded "Smile Faith" to help the 95 percent of veterans who he says are ineligible for VA dental benefits because they aren’t 100 percent disabled.

"They have a hard time and when they come back," Lane said. "They just don't get the care they thought they were going to get."

More than 150 veterans turned out for free services during Friday’s grand opening. Marine Corps veteran Andre Bates said he is beyond thankful for the care that’s helped with his severe pain.

Bates believes the clinic will be a huge help to many.

"A lot of veterans aren't really proud of their mouth, because some are missing teeth or have rotten teeth and they can't afford to get the dental work done so this helps out a lot," Bates said.

Smile Faith has recruited dentists from all over the state to volunteer their time and services. They’re mission is to give care and bring smiles to our military members who have sacrificed so much.

"The veterans have given us so much of their lives -- there's nothing we can do enough to support them, and the most gratifying thing for me is they're so appreciative for the time we can give them," Dr. Leonard Weiss said.

The dental clinic also provides counseling services to veterans.

Smile Faith is in need of more volunteer dentists. For more information, visit www.SmileFaith.co.