Drs. Hillary Smith and Will Vincel: Continuing to carePosted: April 20, 2022
Four years after graduating from ATSU-MOSDOH and volunteering for the Smiles for Veterans program, Hillary Smith, DMD, ’18, and George “Will” Vincel, DMD, ’18, continue to serve the veteran community. The husband and wife dentists practice in Springfield, Missouri, with Dr. Smith at Northside Dental Clinic and Dr. Vincel at Ozarks Preferred Dental Group.
Drs. Smith and Vincel started working with veterans during their third year of dental school at the St. Louis Dental Clinic. As part of the second class to help with the Smiles for Veterans program, the students volunteered their time and worked in teams to provide dentures free of charge to veterans in need.
Shortly after graduation, Herbert Silva, DMD, assistant professor at ATSU-MOSDOH and Smiles for Veterans program facilitator, reached out to Dr. Vincel to see if he would continue to help serve the veteran community. He was thrilled to be able to continue to help.
Dr. Silva contacts Dr. Vincel when program patients from the Springfield area need denture adjustments or dentures delivered. Dr. Vincel is then able to perform those services locally. In one instance, a patient did not have the means to travel back and forth to St. Louis for dental care. Dr. Vincel was able to do all the pre-work, including X-rays and extractions, to get him ready for dentures.
Drs. Smith and Vincel also help with the program by volunteering in Dexter, Missouri, at the Smiles of Hope Dental Clinic with other ATSU-MOSDOH students, faculty, and alumni. At this clinic, volunteer dentists do all the prep work for dentures, including extractions and bone smoothing as needed. Then, patients travel to the St. Louis Dental Clinic to get their dentures delivered, allowing the program to reach communities beyond St. Louis while easing the travel burden on patients.
In addition to helping veterans at the Smiles of Hope Dental Clinic, Drs. Smith and Vincel focus on serving
the underserved. Throughout the year, they try to find patients who may not be able to afford dental care. Then, they set up appointments to provide extractions or fillings pro bono. These patients really appreciate the service, and Drs. Vincel and Smith enjoy the work. Many of these patients are in extreme amounts of pain and unable to afford dental care.
“It’s pretty rewarding because you can see it in their face, whenever they come back for a post-op exam, they are a totally different person,” Dr. Vincel says. “They talk more, they’re happier, just because they aren’t in pain anymore.”
Smiles for Veterans program
• Program began in 2017.
• More than 770 veterans screened.
• More than 390 veterans received full or partial denture.
• More than 680 arches delivered.
• Exams and full and partial dentures completed at no cost to veterans.
• Students from all ATSU-MOSDOH classes involved.
Please visit atsu.edu/support-mosdoh-vets to support the ATSU-MOSDOH Smiles for Veterans program.