Veteran’s Freedom to Smile Initiative - Oral Health Care Options for Veterans

Inspired by grassroots efforts in New Hampshire’s North Country and Maine’s successful approach to filling the Veteran dental care gap, New Hampshire state officials along with state and regional healthcare leaders, nonprofits and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, joined together to collaboratively launch the N.H. Freedom to Smile Initiative to assess the oral health care situation in the state, the needs and resources available for New Hampshire’s approximately 91,000 Veterans and approaches that built upon existing efforts to connect underserved, qualified Veterans with options for free or reduced cost dental care.

Oral health is health care, part of a holistic approach to well being, lack of oral health care carries serious health risks. Poor oral health care has been linked to negative physical and mental health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes complications, respiratory infections, pregnancy complications, cognitive decline, rheumatoid arthritis, digestive disorders, and oral cancer.

Veterans consistently identify oral health care access, quality, and affordability as one of their top requests. While many of New Hampshire’s 91,000 Veterans are generally doing well and have access to some level of oral health care through the VA, Medicaid, or private insurance, a number of Veterans do not. Capacity challenges, rising cost of health care, misconceptions, assumptions, and policies have created and/or contributed to real and perceived barriers that make it difficult for New Hampshire Veterans to obtain consistent, quality, and affordable oral health care.

 

To qualify for the free and/or reduce dental care for Veterans who live in New Hampshire:

  • Free and/or reduced dental care for Veterans who live in New Hampshire
  • NH Drivers License/NH DMV Non-Driver ID Card
  • DD-214
  • Honorable or General Under Honorable conditions discharge
  • National Guard who served on Active Duty other than for training – i.e. Deployment
  • Are not 100% service-connected to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for dental care
  • Do not have dental insurance
  • Not eligible for Medicaid
  • Cannot afford to pay for dental care out of pocket 
  • First Come / First Serve (Except for emergencies)

NH Smiles Program, NH Department of Health and Human Services. Providing dental benefits through NH Medicaid. There's something to smile about! "New Hampshire Smiles" connects eligible individuals to dental care. Click the links below for details about the Children’s dental benefit (covering ages birth to 20) and the Adult dental benefit (covering ages 21 and older).   POC: Dr. Sarah Finne, Director, NH Medicaid Dental 1-877-248-6684. Medicaid Dental Services: New Hampshire Smiles Program | New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (nh.gov)    www.dentaquest.com 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, POC: Dr. Raymond Tang, VA Medical Center Manchester, 718 Smyth Road, Manchester, NH 03104, 1-800-698-2411. If you qualify for VA dental care benefits, you may be able to get some or all of your dental care through VA. Find out how to get VA dental care or how to buy dental insurance if you don’t qualify. It depends on a number of factors, like your military service history and your current health and living situation. Based on these factors, VA places you into a benefits class—and you get the specific benefits assigned to that class. If you qualify you can apply online by filling out the 10-10EZ health care application. See the website for more information:   VA Health Care | Veterans Affairs  and VA Dental Care | Veterans Affairs

VA Dental Insurance Program, POC: Dr. Raymond Tang, 1-800-698-2411, If you don’t qualify for VA dental care benefits, you may be able to buy dental insurance at a reduced cost through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) if you meet at least one of the requirements such as you are signed up for VA Health Care or you are signed up for our Civilian Health and Medical Program (also called CHAMPVA, a health insurance program for dependents of Veterans)..  See the website for details: VA Dental Care | Veterans Affairs

Dental Lifeline Network or Donated Dental Services in New NH, POC:  Michelle Rhodes, DDS Coordinator, mrhodes@dentallifelin.org ,1-603-826-6408, Dental Lifeline Network, NH, 1800 15th Street, Suite 100, Denver  CO. 131 Volunteer Dentists in NH.  16 Volunteer Laboratories in NH.  $4.45M donated.  885 patients treated in NH since 2002.  Applicants must have no means to afford dental care and must meet ONE of the following criteria: Over 65 years of age; Permanently disabled; Need medically necessary dental care.   What to expect? Volunteers provide comprehensive treatment to eligible patients; Volunteers do not provide emergency services; Volunteers do not provide cosmetic treatment. Currently (as of 27 FEB), due to lengthy waitlists, all counties are CLOSED to new applications. If you have documentation from a physician stating that you cannot receive essential medical treatment due to your dental condition you can apply for the program even if your county is closed.  See the website for details:    https://dentallifeline.org/new-hampshire

NH Dental Society’s “Take Five Veterans Program, POC: Michael Auerbach, 603-225-5961.  

Northeast Delta Dental Veteran Oral Health Care Program, Dr. Mitch Couret, 1-603-223-1300, www.nedelta.com  Northeast Delta Dental, a nonprofit member company of Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA), is the region’s most trusted name in dental insurance for companies of all sizes, individuals, and families in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Northeast Delta Dental administers dental benefits for over 965,000 people, with a network of 1,856 participating dentists, or 88% of the total dentists in the tri-state area. To learn more about their products and how they can keep you smiling, visit: nedelta.com   Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) is a national charitable organization and strategic partner of the American Dental Association. DLN's mission is to improve the oral health of people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and have no other way to get help. Through a volunteer network of 15,000 dentists and 3,500 laboratories, DLN develops and coordinates direct-service charity programs resulting in life-changing and life-saving treatment. 1/4/2022 - Northeast Delta Dental partners with Dental Life Network (DLN) and contributes to several other causes to cover vets in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.   CONCORD, NH., 2021 — Through a continued partnership with Dental Lifeline Network, (DLN) and several other veterans’ organizations, Northeast Delta Dental has donated over $200,000 this year to improve the oral health of uninsured veterans.  The company has contributed over $150,000 to several causes that provide access to oral healthcare for veterans including: Maine Veterans Dental Network, NH Veterans Dental Network and Littleton Veterans Dental Program.  In addition, Northeast Delta Dental has contributed over $50,000 to DLN to connect veterans with volunteer dentists, hygienists, and other oral health care professionals to receive care, as many veterans do not have dental coverage through their VA benefits.  “We are committed to decreasing gaps in dental care for veterans, said Tom Raffio, president and CEO, Northeast Delta Dental.  “Oral health is directly connected to overall health, so it’s critical that we provide this care to our soldiers who have served on our behalf.”  Since the program's inception, Delta Dental companies across the country, including Northeast Delta Dental, have contributed more than $400,000, including over $155,000 in 2021, which has supported the mobilization of $3.6M in oral health care delivered to over 2,000 veterans, according to DLN. Northeast Delta Dental alone has provided care to over 190 veterans this year through DLN programs and contributed more than $50,000.  Other veterans programs that Northeast Delta Dental supported this year include:  Veterans Celebration through the Centennial Senior Center (GoodLife); Vets & Pets program through Easterseals; Veterans Count through Easterseals.”  President and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental committed to $300,000 to Oral health Care Options for Veterans in NH in 2024.

NH community based dental clinics, www.nedelta.com/community-based-dental-clinics