Attack Wing dental staff ensures wing members are fit to bite

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond
  • 111th Attack Wing
Inspections, oftentimes an unpopular part of a Guardsman's service, helps prime members serving in the militiaman and a military force  -  and those battle-hardened chompers aren't excluded from review either.

"If you can't bite, then you can't fight," said Lt. Col. Angela McDonough, 111th Attack Wing dental clinic officer-in-charge, flashing her wide and combat-ready smile. "Our job here is to make sure that the troops are deployable."

Along with Master Sgt. Alexis Morrison, the 111th ATKW's noncommissioned office in-charge of dental, the staff serves to assure Guardsmen are meeting their health requirements to remain world-wide deployable - this includes oral health.

McDonough said that when members fall into a category in which they are delinquent in obtaining the necessary yearly dental exam (Class 4), the staff works to remove the member from the non-deployable status. Sometimes the dental staff will provide the assessment and, if necessary, expose dental radiographs.

Additionally, members may be non-deployable if they present with an untreated oral condition that could lead to a dental emergency -known as a class 3 dental classification according to the Department of Defense standardization dental classification system.

"When we have members that are in a Class 3, we bring them in at every drill and monitor their treatment," said McDonough. "We're making sure that they're having completed what they need done within the period of time they need it done."

When the teeth team isn't performing exams and diagnostics themselves, they are busy executing reconnaissance and acquisition of Wing members' DD Form 2813, Active Duty/Reserve Forces Dental Examination.

"We update the form 2813, which they get from their civilian dentist.

"We can't take the place of what an individual's [civilian] dentist can provide, which are their cleaning and any other work they need done. We provide the service of ensuring that members have their annual dental exam, along with the mandatory military exam that we do every five years," said McDonough.

But, the dental staff does more than assure Attack Wing Guardsmen are up-to-date with their oral exams and necessary treatments. They also provide a path for people who may need help obtaining the compulsory comprehensive dental assessment.

"If wing members need a dental exam, but can't afford one, we can help them through the [Reserve Health Readiness Program]," said Morrison. "Members can come in and fill out the paperwork, which we'll process for them. Then they can be sent to a dentist in the area where they live and get a free dental exam."

The exam places the military member on the path to not only oral health, but also keeps them military compliant.

"Being in any branch of the military, it is a requirement to have a dental exam done yearly," said McDonough. "We'll make sure [the member] has that, whether it's through a civilian dentist, us or RHRP."

Currently, the 111th ATKW's dental clinic has walk-in hours available for members in military status. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the clinic at 215- 323-8404/8405.