Hollywood, MD- For the majority of us in Southern Maryland, we can walk into our jobs and know someone who was Military, a family member that was or even ourselves. For some of these veterans, finding access to dental health can be just as tough as boot camp. On Saturday, November 16, 2019, Patuxent Dental did free cleaning, check-ups, deep scaling, and x-rays fr Veterans.
Earlier this year, Dr. Khanna of Patuxent Dental in Hollywood, MD, and his staff thought of some ways to help give back to the Veterans that have fought and protected our freedoms. I spoke with Kristen Piniewski, BSDH, RDH, a Registered Dental Hygienist there, about how this idea came about.
“An assistant at the office has a father and husband who have both served. For some veterans, it is hard for them to find adequate care, especially due to insurance coverage. She had a great idea… presented it, and we all agreed wholeheartedly,” she said.
This was the first the Office has done anything like this, so a “grassroots” effort was needed to get the word out and get appointments set for some Veterans. “I personally reached out on social media. We live near the Patuxent Naval Air Station and I have a lot of friends who are affiliated some way or somehow; says Piniewski, by reaching out on social media, I hoped our vets would hear about this incredible opportunity. “
Dr. Khanna also says they attended Veteran events in hopes of getting the word out also. This year’s event was done by appointment only, and the whole staffed volunteered their time. They weren’t sure what to expect.
One of the patients; Teri Lynn Simpson, was active duty in the Air Force for seven years and another seven-years with the Air National Guard/Air Force Reserve. ” I found out about this on Facebook. I saw the video they posted, ” says Simpson.
Most people have a fear of going to the dentist, so I was curious as to how Teri felt during the process. “My experience at Patuxent Dental was by far the best dental I’ve ever had. Kristen gave me the most thorough, painless cleaning ever, she says, Dr. Khanna was amazing. The entire staff was professional yet so nice and welcoming that I almost felt like family. “
For Kirsten, this meant something very special to her,” I have traveled quite a bit and volunteered in places that remind me America is truly the land of the free. This is a small thank you from me as a dental professional and I am hoping it becomes a yearly event at Patuxent Dental! “
I spoke with Dr. Khanna briefly before the event and asked him about his thoughts on his staff volunteering their time to do this. “I am so proud of my staff for volunteering, the idea, the planning. I am very lucky to work with these ladies.”
For Teri, words weren’t enough,” Words will never be enough to express my gratitude. This means everything to me. I hope Patuxent Dental can do this every year so that more vets can participate. “
And from Kirsten, a five-year member of Dr. Khanna’s team,” I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Khanna. He is hands down the best boss in the world. He is a great man and even better dentist, And I am so proud to work for him!”
Dr. Khanna and his staff will assess their efforts from this weekend and determine how to proceed for next year.