II MEF dental health important to Marines

17 Aug 2006 | Pfc. Christopher D. Lyttle

The dental annex of 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, reminds II Marine Expeditionary Force service members the importance of dental health and readiness before and during deployment.

Navy Lt. Kirsten A. Wisniakowski of Renton, Wash., Naval Dental Officer, 2nd Dental Bn., 2nd MLG, has served at the dental office on Hospital Point for two years. She described what is expected of deploying Marines and sailors.

“It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment four to five weeks prior to deploying,” said Wisniakowski. “Plan a good month ahead of time before taking block leave. Examinations are always on a walk-in basis.”

Wisniakowski explained services the dental office offers are similar to procedures performed by civilian dentists and orthodontists.

“Here we can do necessary work like cleanings, fillings, root canals and extractions,” she said. “We also perform cosmetic work, like braces, whitening and porcelain veneers that bond to the front of your teeth. While you’re deployed, you can have necessary work done, but Marines should be responsible and come back for more than the mandatory one visit per year.”

There are four categories that generally describe a Marine’s oral health. Marines who take good care of their teeth do not require as many trips to the dentist, but poor upkeep can hinder plans to deploy or take leave.

According to Navy Medical Manuals published on www.tpub.com, Class one is for patients who do not require dental treatment or reevaluation within 12 months. Class one patients must not have dental caries, which is demineralization of the tooth surface, or defective restorations.

Class two is for patients who have oral conditions that the examining dentist believes have a slight potential but are not expected to result in dental emergencies within 12 months if not treated.

Class three is for patients who have oral conditions the examining dentist expects will probably result in dental emergencies within 12 months if not treated.

Class four is for patients who require a dental examination. This includes patients who require annual or other required dental examinations and patients whose dental records have not been turned in.

Marines and sailors should be aware of the categories and make the steps necessary to ensure their teeth are properly maintained through timely appointments.

Wisniakowski encourages Marines to maintain a healthy diet by avoiding excess sugar that causes tooth decay, and brushing and flossing twice a day.

Good oral health is a factor of a Marine’s overall well-being and is essential to maintaining total expeditionary forces in readiness. More information on dental classes and general knowledge is available at the dental annex.