b. At all levels, the dental surgeon provides advice and guidance on dental
matters to the commander and his staff; contributes to dental planning; reviews and
evaluates dental statistics; refines, prepares, and coordinates command dental policies;
and performs liaison with dental staffs of higher and subordinate headquarters. At
medical brigade and medical command, he is involved with deployment and the
utilization of dental personnel and units. The corps and the medical command dental
surgeons furnish dental consultations.
3-18. PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY PROGRAMS IN THE ARMY
a. Army Preventive Dentistry Program. The Army Preventive Dentistry
Program, as defined by AR 40-35, includes four programs to reduce the incidence of
oral disease among all authorized beneficiaries of the Army Dental Care System.
b. Oral Health Fitness Program. The primary focus of the oral health fitness
program (OHFP) is to ensure that soldiers do not become "non-combat dental
casualties." Within this program, the dental care system has responsibilities for fitness
classification, a yearly 100 percent audit of records to ensure accuracy of classification,
and dental treatment of soldiers to achieve a satisfactory dental fitness level. The
responsibility for personnel accountability, notification, and patient availability rests with
installation personnel support activities and unit commanders. The unit commander is
responsible for the dental fitness of his or her soldiers.
(1) Purpose. Soldiers in good dental health will experience fewer dental
emergencies than those with known dental problems. During the Vietnam conflict,
fifteen percent of the soldiers in combat required emergency dental care on an annual
basis. Studies have shown that only six percent of a population that needs no dental
treatment will experience dental emergencies in a year. The OHFP reduces the
incidence of preventable non-combat dental emergencies by prioritizing dental needs
and encouraging dental treatment.
(2) Dental fitness classification. Prioritization of dental treatment by the
OHFP is based on the following four dental classes:
(a) Dental fitness Class 1---soldiers who require no dental treatment.
(b) Dental fitness Class 2--soldiers whose existing dental condition is
unlikely to result in a dental emergency within 12 months.
(c) Dental fitness Class 3--soldiers who require dental treatment to
correct a dental condition that is likely to cause a dental emergency with in 12 months.
(d) Dental fitness Class 4--soldiers who require a dental examination
and those whose fitness status is unknown.