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U.S. Navy Lt. Stephen Reller, a dentist with 2nd Dental Battalion examines a Marine’s teeth during an Authorized Dental Allowance List exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 19, 2019. The exercise was a three-week course designed to provide dental care in a field environment, while enhancing the dental readiness of II Marine Expeditionary Force personnel. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ashley Lawson)

Photo by Cpl. Ashley Lawson

Try fighting a tooth ache in a combat zone

25 Mar 2019 | Cpl. Ashley Lawson 2nd Marine Logistics Group

U.S. Marines and Sailors with 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, honed their operational dental care during an Authorized Dental Allowance List exercise at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, March 4-22, 2019.

The need for continuing treatment is ongoing while deployed because dental diseases left untreated may have a significant impact on combat effectiveness.

“When we’re in the middle of the desert and don’t have the gear we need at our fingertips, we need to be familiar on how to execute our duties,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Ian Daulton, a dental officer with 2nd Dental Bn.

The Sailors broke down into 12 dental teams made up of one officer dentist, and two enlisted dental technicians.

Under a canopy, dental officers and technicians provided Marines and Sailors with exams, x-rays, cleanings and more. They also learned ways to assess casualties, combat triage and maintained their own fitness through physical training.

”We have spent a lot of time after hours mentoring the Sailors and also building camaraderie,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jonathan Wright, a leading petty officer at H-1 Dental Clinic. “Being in the field is being away from your comfort zone. When you deploy, your comfort zone vanishes and this is perfect training to get into that mindset.”

Not only did the exercise teach the dental team to treat emergency situations when forward deployed, they also performed a service by increasing II Marine Expeditionary Force’s overall dental readiness.

“Supporting II MEF on a larger scale leaves everyone better prepared to keep our country safe,” said Wright. “This training is extremely important and helpful because we learn how to attack a problem with less amenities, but get the same end result.”

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