About the Smiles For Soldiers Program
Dr. Robert Ioppolo of Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock developed the annual Smiles For Soldiers program to provide a full-arch restoration completely free of charge to one local veteran or active-duty soldier in need of critical dental treatment. Full-arch restoration treatment offers patients a new smile by restoring their mouth with a natural-looking and fully functional set of replacement teeth using dental implants. As a veteran, Dr. Ioppolo is passionate about helping 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.
This year’s Smiles For Soldiers application period ran from September 18, 2018, to October 18, 2018. Most of our applicants had seen battle, and their poor oral health was a constant reminder of their trials and tribulations on the battlefield. Many of the program applicants were unable to get complete health coverage by the Veterans Administration and were left with empty holes and makeshift fillings in their mouths.
Meet Gregory Arriaga
Our Smiles For Soldiers finalist was announced at our practice on November 9, 2018, and military veteran Gregory Arriaga began his journey toward being able to smile proudly again. Representative Dustin Burrows attended and spoke of the importance of programs like Smiles For Soldiers in the
Gregory Arriaga served five years in the Army as a firefighter in Alaska. He lives with posttraumatic stress disorder as he copes with life off the battlefield. His PTSD caused him to unconsciously grind his teeth, gradually wearing off the enamel and eventually needing a full-mouth extraction. Gregory lost all of his self-confidence due to his dental problems and feels that people judge him for his smile. This has kept him from attending family functions and his church. When asked how a new smile would change his life, Gregory responded, “A new smile would make me feel whole again.”
Dr. Ioppolo is partnering with restorative dentist Dr. Tim Leslie in Lubbock, Nobel Biocare Dental Implant Company, and Clark Lab to help make this procedure possible. All participating parties are honored to be able to help Gregory reclaim his life and confidence.
Stay updated on Gregory’s progress on our Facebook page.