Are You A Veteran In Need Of Dental Care?

Posted on: 31 October 2016

Transitioning from the military can be tough, as it delivers a lot of financial and social uncertainties. Many veterans leave the military while being rushed through the process and may not have gotten a final dental checkup. Veterans Affairs (VA) dentist offices are available, but the wait time is long and doesn't have a full set of services for everything from cavity followups to removals. If you need a bit more than a cleaning—or a cleaning a bit closer to home—here are a few ways that a non-VA dentist and the VA can help.

Reducing Other Medical Costs To Afford Dental Work

If you're fresh out of the military and haven't been out for more than 180 days, head to the VA as soon as possible. You can get a free dental appointment, and even if it covers just the basics, it can deliver a lot of information and assistance for when you need a non-VA dentist.

At the very basic level, you can minimize your other medical bills, medication purchases, and other medical costs to make room for dental assistance. Unlike other medical benefits at the VA, dental assistance after 180 days comes with costs even at the VA, so you'll want to make sure you're not paying too much in other parts of your life to make a dental appointment happen.

Every veteran with an other-than-dishonorable discharge is eligible for basic medical care at the VA. This means that you can get care around the same level as a general practice doctor's office visit at little or no cost. You can also get basic medication such as painkillers, allergy medicine, cold packs, and immunization often at no cost. Spending that money out in the civilian world isn't necessary.

A Disability Rating Can Get The Referrals You Need

If you're a veteran with a service-connected disability, you're eligible for no-cost or reimbursed cost dental visits. These benefit are enhanced if your disability involves dental health, such as losing or breaking teeth in the military, suffering an injury that damaged your mouth, or having a loss of dental structure.

Don't worry too much if you don't already have a disability rating with the VA. If you're sure you were injured and are adversely affected by military service, you have a good chance of success if you file a claim as soon as possible. If you wait longer, you may need a lawyer on your side to prove the connections between your injuries and military service.

For dental-related injuries, a civilian dentist can help you by providing a dental examination that highlights your issues. This is often necessary because it's hard to pinpoint a dental problem to specific military involvement if you didn't have a dental visit while in the service. As not all military deployment areas have dental clinics and some incidents can go unchecked by clinics, this post-military analysis can help you argue how likely the military relationship may be.

Contact a dentist, discuss your situation, and work towards getting the VA to cover your dental costs while sticking with your non-VA dentist of choice. For more information, contact local professionals like Beck Pearce Dental.