Smile For Veterans provides free dental


Mckenzie Ford

U.S. Navy veteran Ryan Fincher holds his dental care products after his dental care at the Smiles for Veterans event. Fincher described his experience as the best dental care he had ever received.

By Kaisa Siipola, Reporter

EWU student dental hygienists, faculty volunteers and dentists gathered on the EWU Riverpoint campus to provide free dental services to veterans that were new to the EWU Dental Hygiene Clinic and didn’t carry dental insurance on Nov. 2, 2018.

“The Smile for Veterans event has been held for 10 years,” said dental hygiene program assistant professor Merri Jones. “And it’s a day of dental care for veterans in our community to say thank you for their service.”

Originally, the event began in February 2008 with EWU dental hygiene students and faculty. This year the event was sponsored by the Arcora Foundation.  

We generated almost $30,000 in care delivered that day.”

— Merri Jones, dental hygiene assistant professor

Students in the dental hygiene program have an opportunity to apply their knowledge from the classroom to various learning opportunities such as the Smile for Veterans event.   

“We have 40 junior and 42 senior dental hygiene students working together,” Jones said.

“It’s a good opportunity for our seniors to work alongside with juniors, juniors kind of doing the role as like a dental assistant for the day just to know how to educate and work alongside with someone else while providing care and giving back to the veterans,” dental program senior, Lizbeth Godina said.

Mckenzie Ford
EWU dental hygiene student Lizabeth Godina (left) and assistant professor Merri Jones (right) participated in the event that provided veterans with free dental care. The EWU Dental Hygiene program has been doing this since 2008.

Ryan Fincher, U.S. Navy veteran, described the dental care as thorough and the best he thinks he has ever received in his life.

“Overall, [I] had a really good experience with it,” Fincher said.

“And each year we see approximately 40 veterans in care,” Jones said. “And with the volunteer faculty, dental hygienists and dentists from the community we generated almost $30,000 in care delivered that day.”

EWU Dental Hygiene Clinic is located on the EWU Riverpoint campus in the health and science building and offers a 10 percent discount to EWU students. For more information and to reserve an appointment call 509-828-1300.