About the Program
Dr. Robert Ioppolo of Hill & Ioppolo Oral and Facial Surgeons of Lubbock developed the first annual Smiles For Soldiers program, which was designed to provide one local veteran with a full-arch restoration free of charge. This procedure gives patients a completely new smile by removing their decaying and chipped teeth and restoring their mouth with a natural-looking and functional set of replacement teeth.
The first application period ran from September 12, 2017, to October 12, 2017. Most of the 25 applicants had seen battle. Their poor oral health was a constant reminder of their trials and tribulations on the battlefield. Most of the program applicants couldn’t get complete health coverage by the Veterans Administration and were left with empty holes and makeshift fillings in their mouths.
Dr. Ioppolo is a veteran himself. His own military service heavily influenced his decision to start the Smiles For Soldiers program and help local heroes right here in Lubbock, TX. He completed his dental and oral surgery training through the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program and served nine years of active-duty service and four years in the Army Reserves.
On November 10, 2017, the final recipient of the Smiles For Soldiers program was announced at our practice, and Charles Martin started his journey toward a new smile. Mayor Dan Pope attended and spoke of the importance of programs like Smiles For Soldiers in the community. Dr. Ioppolo spoke of his own military experience and the honor he felt being able to give back to fellow veterans.
Charles, 69, of Wilson, TX, served in the Air Force for seven years as an aircraft mechanic. He repaired and inspected many types of Air Force planes, even living abroad for almost two years at Okinawa Air Force base in Japan. After serving in the Air Force, Charles settled down in the Lubbock, TX, area, where he raised three children with his wife. Now as a grandfather of 11, Charles wants to smile for his grandkids. Before his oral surgical treatment began, Charles’ teeth had been breaking and falling out due to genetics and age. His grandkids noticed that their grandfather didn’t smile much, and Charles was dealing with sharp shooting pains in his mouth because of his broken and missing teeth. Having this procedure meant a pain-free smile for Charles and a chance to be a positive influence in his grandchildren’s lives.
Dr. Ioppolo partnered with Dr. Robert Grimes of Grimes & Simek Dentistry, Darrel Clark from Clark Implant Solutions, and Jennifer Spicer from Nobel Biocare to provide a brand-new smile to Charles. All participating parties are honored to be able to help Charles reclaim his life and confidence.
Stay updated on Charles’ progress on our Facebook page.