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Syracuse dentist continues tradition of offering free dental care to vets

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse dentist Dr. Joan Laura offers free care to veterans each year on Veteran's Day

A Veterans Day tradition continues today in a small dentist's office in Syracuse.  Dr. Joan Laura’s office in Eastwood will be open for veterans looking for free dental care.

This is Laura's eighth year treating vets, and what started as a trickle of veterans into her office has grown to upwards of 50 people every year. 

"Over the past seven years, I’ve treated 722 veterans and donated over $45,000 of treatment.”

Laura offers basic dentistry, cleanings, fillings, extractions. She said vets often don’t have good dental care.

"The veterans that get dental care have to have a combat injury. And a lot of them didn’t injure their mouths or face. They may have hurt arms legs, whatever, but they didn’t have dental accidents related to combat. So many of them have no dental services at all given to them," said Laura.

Some extra hygienists and BOCES dental assistant students will help Laura and her staff. And as she’s taking care of the dental needs of vets, she’ll remember her grandfather, who served in World War I, and her dad, who was a dentist during the Korean war.

"My part in serving this country is treating veterans for free on veterans day.  For me it’s the best way to say thank you for all you have done," she said.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.