Dr. Ryan Molis might seem like a hero to the veterans whose teeth he has fixed for free. But Molis readily admits that his reasons for doing the work aren’t entirely philanthropic.
“It’s a little selfish, but I like the way it makes me feel to help them,” said Molis, who has practiced dentistry for 16 years.
Several years ago Molis met a veteran who needed new dentures. But the Veterans Administration had a nine-month wait. That wait was cut short when Molis finished the work in just three weeks, and at no charge.
Since then Molis has provided free dental work for five veterans, as well as others in need of care but unable to pay. He recalls an 84-year-old patient whose dentures didn’t fit properly. She was losing weight because of her inability to eat, but she lacked the money to pay for a new set of teeth.
“I’m lucky to be able to give back,” he said.
Molis said it’s not just about the long wait that many veterans face. It’s also about the pain and discomfort they must endure while waiting for their dental work to be done.
“That’s just disrespectful,” Molis said. “They’ve given us so much. They deserve better.”
Rather than complain, he’s doing something about it. He has provided varying degrees of work, from root canals to full mouth restorations and dentures.
Molis said healthy teeth do more than improve a veteran’s smile. He said they leave his office with a new confidence and a new self respect, not to mention an improved ability to speak and eat.
“They have tears in their eyes, they’re so appreciative. “