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Navy Capt. Christopher J. Cobb, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the Combat Dentistry Detachment officer in charge with Alpha Surgical Company, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), conducts a wisdom tooth extraction on Lance Cpl. Eduardo A. Barrera, from Los Banos, Calif., a motor transportation operator with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division (Fwd.), May 30, 2011, aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Bruno J. Bego

Combat readiness through dental health

30 May 2011 | Lance Cpl. Bruno J. Bego

Warrior care has been and will remain a top priority for the Marine Corps.  In-theater health services provided by 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) units range from comprehensive concussion care to emergency oral surgery.  Robust dental capabilities allow for most dental issues to be corrected aboard Camp Leatherneck. 

Sailors with the Combat Dentistry Detachment, Alpha Surgical Company, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) are fully capable and ready to treat any dental issues at their facility while troops are still deployed, and return them back to their units in just a matter of days or even hours depending on the procedure.

“We only take care of emergencies here,” explained Navy Lt. Joan M. Gonzalez, from Ponce, Puerto Rico, a dental officer with 2nd MLG (Fwd.). “We assist any Marine, sailor, soldier, airman and even civilians who walk through our doors, and try to provide them with the best dental assistance we can.”

The dental personnel are capable of conducting almost any procedure. Navy Capt. Christopher J. Cobb, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the Combat Dentistry Detachment officer in charge with 2nd MLG (Fwd.), explained the different aspects of the facility and the variety of cases he has seen.

“We see a significant amount of dental trauma, chipped teeth, broken teeth and fillings that come out.  That’s what we are mainly taking care of here,” Cobb said.  “Most of the procedures can be handled here, except for cosmetic procedures such as crowns, dentures and tooth implants.”

Service members come from all the different combat outposts and forward operating bases to receive medical treatment at the facility.

“One of the latest patients I saw came on a convoy here to [Camp Leatherneck], because he needed an emergency wisdom tooth extraction,” Cobb explained.  “If we weren’t here where would he go? He would’ve had to be medically evacuated, because he needed the tooth out.”

The facility represents the first line of dental care for troops operating all over Regional Command Southwest saving time, resources and, according to members of the unit, keeping the troops in the fight in a timely and efficient manner.


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