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  • Writer's pictureTogether We Smile

Together We Smile Partners with Local Veterans

Updated: Nov 10, 2018


Dean Miller, Director of Communications and Marketing from Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center

Star Dental’s social impact improves lives, trains doctors.

Community partner Dr. Gary Moore, owner of Star Dental Institute Inc., and director of its social impact initiative, Together We Smile, improved lives of 50 Pikes Peak residents during an advanced dental surgery course, Oct. 9 through 12. Training was attended by 10 doctors from around the country and covered the latest industry procedures and technologies for new and replacement dental implants.

“This effort helps us stay true to our mission to positively impact the lives of our patients,” said Moore.

Participating dentists were supported on-site at Star’s 21st Street Clinic in Colorado Springs by industry leaders bringing expertise, supplies and tools including Piezo Surgery Inc., Implant Concierge, Osteogenics Biomedical, and Nobel Biocare. Corporate expertise, dental implants, medical skills and operating room materials for all 50 surgeries were donated with an estimated value of $140K. Training was conducted each morning and advanced procedures completed each afternoon, delivering a hand-up to the region’s hard to serve population.

“I’m thrilled; I’ll be able to eat better; I’ll be able to smile. This is a tremendous impact to my life - the way I speak, look and eat,” said Air Force veteran and patient Don McCarthy about the care he received following years of pain and side effects including loss of taste and difficulty eating. “I was very impressed with the surgeons - they took great care of me and had phenomenal guidance from their instructors.”

Dr. Nelson Nunez, Texarkana, Texas dentist and Army combat veteran, attended the course as part of his continued professional education. “I’ve been placing implants since 2010; this course provided difficult cases and has elevated my skills to a new level.”

The social impact of the training was important to Nelson, allowing him to care for veterans, military family members and others from the Pikes Peak region. “You have to give back. As a veteran, there is a responsibility to give back to other veterans, to other citizens for the freedoms we enjoy,” said Nunez.

Dr. Nelson Nunez, Aspen Dental

Nunez is a practice owner at Aspen Dental. Headquartered in East Syracuse, NY, Aspen Dental has 700 offices across 38 states. In 2017, they served 1.7 million patients. Aspen Dental donates 24-hours of care annually to local communities.

Nelson’s comments were echoed by Gary Christiansan of Nobel Biocare, a world leader in the field of innovative implant-based dental restorations headquartered in Yorba Linda, Calif. His company donated 200 dental implants crucial to the effort. “My father-in-law is a veteran, and I have a lot of admiration and respect for all veterans,” said Gary. “As an implant company, this is a wonderful way to give back to veterans and their families.”

High-tech was a staple of the effort to include six Piezo bone cutting devices. The tools and their advanced capabilities enable surgeons to cut bone without damaging soft tissue, contributing to faster healing and less patient bruising. “Our owner, an Italian citizen, is the inventor of the first dental bone cutting device, and loves to share his technology and give back to communities around the world,” said Monica Heckler, a representative of Piezo Surgery, Inc. With its U.S. Headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, the technology uses precisely controlled, three-dimensional ultrasonic vibrations to cut bone without damaging surrounding tissues.

Other technology included treatment planning and surgical guide fabrication. Using digital x-rays, the capability allowed experts to improve precision and accuracy of implant surgeries. “The technology allows for the complete mapping and planning of an implant surgery to ensure the best position to drill for the implant,” said Andy Mori of Implant Concierge. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, the company provides and coordinates CBCT solutions and guided implant surgical services. “Dental care is technology driven and this effort allowed us to expose dentists to the very best technology which is important to raise the standard of care.”

Beyond the high tech of the effort, was high touch. In a military community of more than 115,000 veterans, the social impact reached military family members.

“As a military spouse dealing with deployments, multiple moves and raising a family, I didn’t always view my dental needs as a priority,” said one patient. “Dr. Moore assured me my needs were important and could be met. I needed a few extractions, but did not want to be without teeth.”

The military mom received three extractions and three implants in one visit, without out-of-pocket expense. “Without this program I would never be able to afford implants, even with my military family dental insurance. This opportunity was invaluable; My dental health is back on track and I have a beautiful smile again. I can’t thank Dr. Moore, Star Dental, and Together We Smile, enough.”

Learn more about Star Dental Institute at:

Learn more about Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center at:

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