Melbourne dentist helps vets regain their smile

By Greg Pallone, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, November 09, 2017, 11:58 AM EST

A Brevard County dentist is bringing smiles to two veterans who served our country, but cannot afford dental care.

  • Wickham Dental Care helped 2 vets with extensive dental work
  • Part of "When a Veteran Smiles, We all Smile" program
  • VETERANS DAY: Stories, events, photo gallery

For Hillary Flores, smiling has not been an option for a long time.

The 34-year-old Air Force vet has been living with broken teeth and no insurance for more than a decade. And Veterans Affairs does not cover the amount of dental work she needed.

She says some people even thought she was a drug user.

But now, she can't help but be happy, while showing off her pearly whites.

"Everybody looks at me and are like 'oh my gosh,' look at your smile!" Flores said. "You have a beautiful, beautiful smile. I'm like 'thank you,' before I didn't have that."

Doctor Sadesh Kumar of Wickham Dental Care in Melbourne announced "When a Veteran Smiles, We all Smile" back in July.

The goal was to provide the care at no cost to a veteran in need.

More than two dozen applications were submitted during a short period in July, and instead of choosing just one person, two were picked to receive free dental work.

"People look at your teeth, and they judge you," said Dr. Kumar. "If we can help a veteran smile, considering all they have done for our country...."

Dr. Kumar has provided Hillary some $60,000 worth of dental care so far.

"I am back to being me again," beamed Flores. "A whole new person."

There's still more work to do. The vets will still come for an array of follow-up visits to maintain their new smiles.

The dental office may accept applications for this program again next year.