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The Dental Corps of the United States Navy consists of naval officers who have a Doctorate in either Dental Surgery or Dental Medicine (D.D.S. or D.M.D.) and who practice dentistry caring for sailors and marines. In overseas locations they also treat dependent family members. Dental officers are usually appointed to the rank of Lieutenant (O-3) but may be appointed at higher ranks with significant practice experience or advanced specialty training. Most attend the Officer Development School (ODS) at NETC Newport, Rhode Island, as opposed to the more well known accession training programs of Officer Candidate School (OCS), Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), or the Naval Academy.

Historically, there were independent commands made up of dental officers, enlisted dental assistants, and hygienists, but recently the Navy has integrated the dental personnel into the overall Military Treatment Facility commands worldwide. This was done to save money by reducing duplication of administrative billets. The Navy also employs civilian dentists, hygienists and assistants in some locations.

Dental officer pay is less than what is comparable in private practice. Dental officer work load in terms of the number of patients seen may be less than that of private practice but the stress and demand that operational billets place on the officer as well as his/her family far surpasses that of the private sector. There is a possibility He / She may spend two of every five years assigned to a ship that goes to sea as much as eighteen out of twenty four months. He is often deployed with a Fleet Marine Force to set up field dental units in war zones and act as a triage officer for mass casualties. Although the number of patients seen by the dental officer may at times be less than that of a private practitioner, his duties and responsibilities far surpass that of his / her civilian counterpart. Those candidates considering becoming a dental officer must consider the burden of family separation, his/her level of professional skill and responsibility in life threatening and often arduous situations when compared to his civilian counterpart. Others may find becoming a dental officer a desirable step in personal development, a way to satisfy his or her wanderlust or sense of adventure, or a desire to serve in the armed forces of the United States amongst the greatest fighting men and women in the world.

See also

External links

  • Dental Corps. Navy.com (Health Care Opportunities). Retrieved 2009-12-05.
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