AAID Foundation’s Smile, Veteran! Program Gifts Smile to Vietnam Veteran

1/19, 6:00 PM (Source: GlobeNewswire)

Chicago, Jan. 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Academy of Implant Dentistry Foundation launched its Smile, Veteran!TM program by successfully placing implants for Vietnam Veteran Mark Lottman.

The AAID is bringing much-needed access to oral healthcare including implants to our nation’s heroes who often face considerable challenges as they transition back to civilian life. Together with corporate partners, Zimmer Biomet, RTI, Root Laboratory, and Rocky Mountain Tissue Bank, the AAID Foundation launched the Smile! Veteran program to help those who have served our country and to provide dental implants at no cost.

One of the first recipients of this charitable gift is veteran Mark Lottman, who has been dealing with the aftereffects of his military service since 1970. Sergeant Lottman was stationed in Nakon Phamon, located in the northeast corner of Thailand across the Mekon River from Laos. As a member of the U.S. Military Police, he was exposed to the tactical herbicide Agent Orange. This chemical has been known to cause many long-term health problems. Sergeant Lottman believes it is the source of his Type 2 Diabetes and the cause of his severe tooth decay.

Edward Kusek, DDS, FAAID, DABOI/ID, has been Sergeant Lottman’s dentist for over 30 years. “I have done my best to save his teeth, but it was only patchwork. It got to a point where they were too bad to save. He was losing his teeth—they were breaking apart one-by-one and decaying out. He didn’t smile and functionally could not use his mouth. It was then that I suggested he apply for the Smile, Veteran!  program. I wanted to give him back his smile,” said Dr. Kusek.

“After 38 years, I finally saw him smile and his confidence is back,” said Dr. Kusek. “I extracted all of his teeth. Zimmer Dental donated the implants and I donated time, materials, and expertise for the case. We made a temporary denture and placed the implants after when we extracted the upper teeth. Root Dental fabricated the hybrid.”

What does this program mean to Sergeant Lottman? “I can eat radishes without worrying if my teeth will break. I can laugh at jokes. I feel like I have normal teeth,” he said.

“We are so thrilled that this program is working and that the first restoration is complete,” said J. Larry Bush, DDS, FAAID, DABOI/ID, past chair of the AAID Foundation. “The men and women who serve in our armed services do so with courage, dedication, and selflessness.  When they leave their military service, some veterans have injuries that can make it difficult to navigate the challenges of life after service. As the leader in implant dentistry, the AAID Foundation created Smile, Veteran! to recognize the extraordinary sacrifices veterans and their families have made for our nation.”

Founded in 1951, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) is the first professional organization in the world dedicated to implant dentistry. Its membership includes general dentists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists, and others interested in the field of implant dentistry. As a membership organization, the AAID currently represents almost 4,500 dentists worldwide.

For more information about the Smile, Veteran!TM program, the AAID Foundation, or the AAID, visit aaid.com/foundation or call 312.335.1550 or 877.335.AAID (2243).

Marilyn Mages
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