(1) A dental officer in a theater of operations does most of his treating while
everyone else is resting. Conversely, when the troops are busy, the dental officer has
the least to do. To use dental personnel efficiently, it was obvious that they had to be
shifted to areas where troops were unemployed and be moved to another sector when
those troops became active.
Dental treatment had to be available to all troops.
(3) The majority of dental patients were not sick enough to warrant
evacuation. Dentists had to go to the patients, particularly in forward areas where
keeping the soldier on the fighting lines is of paramount importance.
(4) Effective dental treatment requires a large amount of equipment with
supporting utilities. Without these, dental officers could furnish only emergency
b. Solutions. The committee's solution to these problems was a combination of
area and unit dental support in a theater of operations. This combination appears to
solve the four basic problems of providing dental support in the field. Dental officers
can now move from one area to another so that their services can be utilized full time.
Treatment is available for all troops and dental officers are provided to treat troops in
forward areas, reducing the need for evacuation for dental treatment. More and better
equipment has been provided and the equipment used is constantly being improved.
This has resulted in greatly increased treatment capabilities. Unit and area dental
support are discussed in paragraphs 3-14 through 3-17.
3-14. UNIT DENTAL SUPPORT IN A THEATER OF OPERATIONS
a. The mission of unit dental support in a theater of operations is to treat the
dental casualty and return him to duty as expeditiously as possible or prepare him for
further evacuation. Units requiring the full-time services of dental officers include
divisions that need dental officers immediately available in order to keep soldiers on the
fighting line and hospitals that need dental officers to perform oral surgical treatment
and adjunctive therapy.
b. There are four dental officers in the division medical battalion--one for each
treatment platoon. Their duties are to:
(1) Treat dental casualties and return them to duty as quickly as possible.
Dental officers have equipment to repair a denture, replace a filling, extract a tooth, or
alleviate pain or soft tissue inflammation. They cannot possibly perform all the dental
treatment needed and should not attempt to do so.
(2) Organize, implement, conduct, and oversee a vigorous troop education
program in preventive dentistry (oral hygiene). Such a program can do more to reduce
the number of dental casualties than any other measure.