With a dental practice in Tomah, Dr. Jarius Houston sees many veterans and active- duty military patients. While volunteering his services at Give Vets a Smile Day at Chippewa Valley Technical College Saturday, Nov. 2, Houston noted a common problem within that patient group.\

“Teeth grinding,” Houston said. “They’re not getting much sleep, and they’re working hard. A lot of the young men grind their teeth really hard. They grind their teeth in their sleep. We’re having them fitted for mouth guards to wear at night.”

To give back to the people who have given so much while facing high stress, CVTC has hosted Give Vets a Smile Day since 2015. The event offers free dental care to veterans, who do not have dental care as part of the regular veterans’ benefits, unless the problem is service-related. Approximately 75 veterans are served each year by local dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and CVTC students and faculty volunteering their time.

CVTC Dental Hygienist program student Aimee Stauber of Baldwin performs an oral cancer screening on Army veteran Russell Wozniak of Bloomer at the start of his exam at the annual Give Vet a Smile Day event at Chippewa Valley Technical College Saturday, Nov. 2.

Over the years, a broad range of services have been added for the veterans, including COPD screening from volunteer local respiratory therapists and CVTC Respiratory Therapy program students, heart disease and diabetes education from CVTC Nursing students, assistive device assessments and
recommendations from Physical Therapist Assistant students, a haircut from Cosmetology program students and physical therapist evaluations.

PHOTO: Matt Rindahl, a dental hygienist with the Houston Dental Clinic in Tomah, prepares to help Army veteran Steve Prince of Chippewa Falls at the Give Vets a Smile Day event at the CVTC Dental Clinic Nov. 2. Rindahl, a 2016 CVTC Dental Hygienist program graduate is a Navy veteran.

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