Freedom Day USA

Participating in Freedom Day USA brings needed dental care to veterans and boosts team spirit for the dental team.

Veteran patient at Cosmetic Dentists of Houston

Dr. Lou Shuman discusses how a lifetime of freedom can be repaid by giving a day for free

Every day, military men and women around the world are missing their families and risking their lives to protect our country. When they get back, despite their phenomenal service, they often quietly struggle to receive health and dental care. Eleven years ago, Dr. Robert Martino, CEO of Wilson Martino Dental, heard a touching testimonial about how much veterans endure to keep our country safe. He decided to show his appreciation in the best way he knew, by designating a day when his office would say thank you by providing free services to veterans. As the news spread about the incredible impact of his office’s day, the concept grew by leaps and bounds to become Freedom Day USA.

Dr. John Wilfong at Wilson Martino Dental of Buckhannon

Over time, Freedom Day USA grew to having partners in every state with almost a million dollars in products and services donated. The concept was expanded so that non-dental businesses could partner with a dental team by donating door prizes or goods to be given at the dental office, or at their own location. Wendy Boyce, Vice President of Customer Relations for Wilson Martino Dental and Freedom Day USA National Director, notes that one local McDonald’s, whose franchise contains about 18 restaurants, gives veterans a free meal, as do Chick-fil-A and Honey Baked Ham. She says, “Our honored guests can eat hot dogs, and ice cream cones, all from our partner businesses for free. We have hair salons, manicure salons, a vision specialist and a chiropractor who provide services as well.”

Any company or practice, large or small, can help thank our military heroes.

Any company or practice, large or small, can help thank our military heroes. Vendors and large companies who support dental practices can extend an offer to a dental practice for free supplies or a service, such as one free lab fee. Boyce says, “We will communicate the offer to our participating dental providers, both local and national, and we connect them. Any company that provides Freedom Day USA support is included on our website, and all of the materials that we provide, as well as on our maps and social media.” She adds, “Many of our dental partners will print a flier to hand out to every patient who comes in the door that day with the names of companies who have partnered with them. That way participating companies get recognition for whatever field they are in. If larger service or product providers want to offer services to dental offices, we can cultivate a flier offer that would go exclusively to Freedom Day dentists who are signed up for that year.”

Dr. Martino and his team realized that flexibility of scheduling would encourage more people to participate. Boyce explains, “The one-day restriction has been eliminated — businesses can choose whatever day of the week works for them, do the whole week, pick one day, half a day, or even book one appointment for a military person, veteran, or family member.” She adds, “Our goal is to convey that Freedom Day is easy. Whatever you can do supports our mission.”

When a veteran comes in to get their teeth cleaned on Freedom Day, which to most people is not a big deal, it can change their perception of how people feel about them. Boyce continues. “It says to them, ‘you are heroes, and you should be treated that way.’” Besides the self-esteem issues, veterans also face obstacles to receiving medical and dental care. “Many veterans may not be eligible for full benefits, and some local VAs have very long waits. That’s the beauty of Freedom Day — to address their pressing issues immediately and hopefully get someone to a healthier state and in a positive atmosphere,” Boyce says.

Freedom Day USA in October 2023 was a huge success. Boyce says, “We definitely consider ourselves bounced back from the COVID years, and in a steady growth pattern.” The 2023 event had 431 participants, doubling from the year before. Of the total, 106 dental offices across the US joined the appreciation event.

Joining Freedom Day USA is free-of-charge, and the process is simple. Once an office signs up, they are sent a digital media kit, complete with information, a planning guide, flyers, templates, and anything needed to plan a successful event. The templates are in electronic format so the office’s specific information can be entered easily. An enewsletter gives tips and information on creating a memorable and fun event. “We tailor all of our marketing items to their specific date, no matter what date they choose,” says Boyce.

Veteran guest Daniel Hart at Wilson Martino Dental of Bridgeport

The official date for 2024 Freedom Day USA is Thursday, October 10. This year, as a gift for participating, every dental team that signs up will receive an official Freedom Day USA custom scrub top with a unique Freedom Day print. More scrub tops are available, but one will be provided for free. There is no cost for signing up and no requirements about treatment provided. Boyce notes, “Our only request is that it is not an if/then offer — meaning, if you buy this, we will give you that because a true thank you is given freely from the heart from your practice.”

Freedom Day became even more special when Mequon Smile Design in Wisconsin honored veteran Julian (pictured in the middle) on his 100th birthday and thanked him for his service

After 2023 Freedom Day, heartwarming stories came streaming in. Mequon Smile Design in Wisconsin helped a veteran celebrate his 100th birthday with dental services and enthusiastic congratulations. Dr. Martino’s schedule, in his West Virginia office, was full with a waiting list. Boyce said, “We found some pretty serious health conditions that were identified through Freedom Day screenings, so we saved some lives.” In North Carolina, Ballantyne Dentistry extended their offer to a full makeover for a patient, who now looks amazing. Practices receive thank you cards, and they create photo albums. Boyce says that team spirit is important and inspiring. “It is more impactful than anyone realizes. It feels so good that the whole team is giving back in appreciation for what those brave men and women have done for us. And the veterans turn around and appreciate right back. It’s a wonderful day.”


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Besides providing care to veterans, companies in the endodontic space also provide humanitarian efforts to other underserved patients. Read about Ultradent’s outreach during the holiday season here:

Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, is the CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group, dentistry’s leading corporate incubator and accelerator bringing technologies into dentistry from all over the world. He is a venturer in-residence at Harvard’s i-Lab, co-founder of LightForce Orthodontics, founder of the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards, and just launched his third company, DSO Technology Solutions. He was selected in 2021 by Global Summits Institute as one of the World’s Top 100 Doctors.

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