Two southern Minnesota veterans get a new smile for Veteran's Day

The vets went into surgery on Saturday to receive dental implants.

Posted: Nov 9, 2019 10:41 PM
Updated: Nov 10, 2019 7:53 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - For Veteran's Day, Affordable Dentures and Implants is giving two local veterans the gift of a new smile. At no cost to the veterans, Dr. Akil Alexander performed surgery on veterans Thomas Gerhart and Gerald Pineur, including teeth extractions, dentures, and implant surgery. The implants are donated by Bio Horizons and Straumann Neodent and lab services donated by ROE Dental Lab.

Living with tooth loss affects more than just peoples' smiles. "Many patients have significant challenges with eating, with confidence, without being able to smile, that affects their way of life," explains Dr. Alexander.

Marine Corps veteran Gerhart was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's related to water contamination he was exposed to during his years of service. Swallowing and choking are two challenges of Parkinson's. Dental implants will help him be able to eat regular, solid food for longer. Army veteran Pineur explains some food gets stuck under his current dentures, making it painful to eat.

"It's going to help me out a lot because I love those chicken wings at the Legion on Thursday nights!" laughs Pineur.

"I never expected anything like this. I'm very happy and when this is all done, you'll see a big smile on my face, I can guarantee it," says Gerhart.

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