SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – As Veterans Day approaches, some were helping honor those servicemen and woman by providing much needed dental care.

According to the American Legion, about 80 percent of veterans don’t have dental coverage. So some local dentists decided to offer up some free care.

Army veteran Karl Stabler, 30, stood in line for over three hours to receive free dental care.

“Today, I’m hoping to get a couple of bad teeth extracted,” he said.

Stabler served two tours in Iraq and is currently in the National Guard. He has medical coverage through the VA, but not dental.

“You get free dental service while you’re in the active duty military, but once you’re in the guard or out, there’s nothing,” said Stabler.

Veterans offered free x-rays, exams, extractions and cleanings.

“Dental service is a little expensive and not within my budget, and if I can get a little work done, that’s huge benefit,” said Stabler.

According to the American Legion, most veterans do not have dental coverage unless they pay out of pocket.

“These veterans served their country and now they’re waiting in line for dental services. That needs to be changed,” said Don Harper, American Legion.

But thanks to Dr. Erik Matson, a dentist and six-year veteran, free dental services were offered Saturday at the Sacramento Dentistry Group.

“They need to come in for regular treatments and regular exams so we can diagnose oral cancers or cavities before they become root canals or extractions,” said Matson.

The three-hour wait was worth it for Stabler as he got his two bad teeth extracted.

This was the first time the Sacramento Dentistry Group offered free care, and it hopes to do it again next year.

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