KILLEEN — Veterans in Central Texas can receive free dental work Friday and Saturday at Fairway Middle School, 701 Whitlow Drive, Killeen. The free dental work is part of a charity event of the Texas Mission of Mercy.

Those wishing to receive the free dental work should arrive at the middle school by 5 a.m. on either day to register. Veterans will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Judith Gonzalez, director of the Texas Dental Association Smiles Foundation, said around 80 volunteer dentists and 500 volunteers from the dental profession will be on hand.

Dentists will offer services such as cleanings, fillings and extractions, a news release said.

“Our volunteer dental professionals’ primary focus is on relieving pain and preventing infection by providing extractions, fillings, and cleanings,” Gonzales said in the release. “In limited cases, replacing missing front teeth or repairing partial dentures may be available to restore a smile.”

Not many veterans receive free dental care from the VA.

“According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans only qualify for full dental benefits if they meet certain criteria, such as being 100% disabled due to service-related injuries or being a former prisoner of war,” the release said.

A bill which proposes increased access to VA dental care is currently making its way through Congress.

The bill passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives Monday, according to a news release by Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, ranking member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

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