Willie Davis of Mount Vernon just had an impacted molar surgically removed.
“When I bit down, every time I ate it was hurting, like biting the inside of my cheek,” he said. “Not having insurance, not knowing how to get this tooth fixed, it was a blessing actually, that someone would give us a free service.”
Davis was one of more than 50 patients that received free dental care in honor of Veterans Day at Neibauer Dental Care in Alexandria. Other offices in the Heartland Dental network Neibauer is affiliated with do free dental days, and this year the four-year-old Route 1 office decided to give back on Veterans Day.
Paul Ieradi, regional administrator for Heartland, served in the Marine Corps. “I'm a veteran and [practice administrator] Jennie Korniotes and I had a conversation about it,” he said. “We figured the Fort Belvoir is right here, the doctors are 100 percent on board, so we wanted to do it.”
From 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., the office offered free fillings, cleanings or extractions for veterans and the public, anyone without medical insurance was welcome.
“We don't have a limit for any of them,” said Korniotes. “We want to make sure we fairly see everyone who comes to the door.”
Nearly 25 doctors, hygienists, assistants and volunteers from both the Alexandria office and the Neibauer location in Woodbridge hummed around with great energy.
“The day is awesome, we're having so much fun,” said Dr. Jimani Mwendo. “Being a giving spirit, it's fun, it brings up the morale. When you give like that, you just receive so much in your heart.”
For many patients, that giving also required taking, specifically, removing infected teeth.
“I just had a patient right now, I did 11 extractions on him,” said Dr. Mike Nguyen. “His whole mouth was infected.”
The doctors tried to alleviate as much immediate pain as possible, but also scheduled further appointments if the patient’s mouth required additional work.
Lindsay Shurtliff served in the Air Force from 2002 to 2006 before moving to the Washington, D.C. area with her husband. She’s been an assistant at Neibauer for the last year.
“As vets, you do a service to America as a whole,” she said. “It's great we can help them with some needs. Whether they can get it through their insurance or not, it's great to be able to do that.”