WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — On Veterans Voices, a heartwarming story of a local Army Veteran who lost his teeth in an accident in Iraq, but was finally able to get his smile back thanks to the generosity of a local dentist.
Dental care is not included in most Veterans’ military benefits, and that was a problem for retired Staff Sergeant, Teddy Habeeb.
The Carbondale resident served 28 years in the Army but an accident 18 years ago left him without his teeth and his smile.
“He was a little sad and he was unsure so when I saw his x-rays and I reviewed them with the surgeon, we found that he would be a great candidate for the service,” said Melissa Sanchez, General Manager of Affordable Dentures and Implants.
A Navy Veteran herself, Sanchez chose Teddy for the Gift of Smiles program after hearing about his problem.
The free dental program includes $10,000 worth of implant surgery and snap-on dentures, basically a new set of teeth.
“My boss is also a veteran so when she was explaining the program to me I was very excited,” said Sanchez.
Teddy has been living with dentures since the accident but says the bottoms never really fit well, so he doesn’t wear them a lot.
But now he’s excited to eat normally again.
“Watch out corn on the cob, watch out candy apples, I’m coming!” said Teddy.
“I haven’t had anything like that in almost 2 decades,” Teddy continued.
Teddy says he almost backed out of the procedure but credits his wife with convincing him to go for it.
“But she always said she wanted me to have a nice smile so let’s come down here and try it out. I was going to cancel the appointment because there’s no way I could afford this kind of stuff,” Teddy said.
If you have any ideas for our Veterans Voices segment, send an email to Eyewitness News Reporter Nick Toma at NToma@pahomepage.com