By Lt. Col. Jeffrey Marks, U.S. Army Dental CommandApril 3, 2013
Do you want to get a cleaning with your annual dental exam? If you had a cavity, wouldn't you like to take care of it the same day, too?"
In an effort to enhance the command functioning as an operating company model and create a consistent patient/employee experience, the U.S. Army Dental Command (DENCOM) continues the planning stages of the Army Dentistry Go First Class (GFC) Initiative. The GFC triad will focus on prevention, readiness, and wellness. GFC will standardize the patient care experience across the Army when Soldiers receive their annual dental exam. In addition to receiving the exam, each Soldier will receive a vital signs check, oral cancer screening, a dental cleaning, caries risk assessment, oral health screening, and restorative care (if needed) to improve Dental Readiness Classification (DRC) status.
Referrals to MTF providers and services will be standardized as required to improve the interoperability and coordination between the dental and medical healthcare delivery systems.
"The number one dental complaint Soldiers have with going to the dentist is they can't get their teeth cleaned the same day as their exam," says Col. Bryan Kalish, director of Healthcare Delivery for DENCOM. "Starting in July, Army dentistry will address this concern once and for all with Going First Class."
When possible, Soldiers going through the GFC process will receive their cleaning, annual dental exam, and initiate or complete treatment of their dental cavities -- all in a single visit. The intent of GFC is to help more Soldiers achieve the goal of DRC 1. GFC will also renew focus on existing DRC 2 and 3 treatment needs. The business process map supporting this treatment plan has been developed and will serve as basis for implementation around the world.
According to data gathered over the past year, over 50% of Soldiers have cavities. Also, 33 % of Soldiers who were cavity free the prior year were diagnosed with cavities this year. Prevention is the key to stop this vicious circle. The robust external and internal campaign plans will focus on prevention, readiness, and wellness. GFC implementation standards and guidelines are being finalized for DENCOM-wide deployment in July 2013.