On March 3, 2013, the Army Dental Corps celebrates 102 years of tradition and service to our Army. The theme for this year's anniversary - "Go First Class"- reinforces the Army's emphasis of strength to our nation, and the need to maintain the organizational stamina, individually and collectively.

The most important mission of the Dental Corps is to prevent dental casualties during deployment by ensuring dental readiness and the health of the force. In addition to identifying and treating oral disease, the Dental Corps is also the Soldier's trusted agent for oral health. It creates this capacity by maintaining individual and unit-level dental readiness and advocating initiatives for dental wellness, and monitoring access to care in the military and private sector care settings. Additionally, dentists provide nutritional counseling and screen patients for harmful habits, which may lead to chronic diseases later in life. This aligns with The Surgeon General's effort of Improving Stamina through the Performance Triad of Activity, Nutrition and Sleep.

"Army Dentistry is playing a key role in full partnership with The Surgeon General's emphasis on the performance triad," says Col. Art Scott, corps specific branch proponent officer (CSBPO) and consultant to the surgeon general for general dentistry Office of the Chief, U.S. Army Dental Corps. "A prime example is DENCOM's new "Go First Class" initiative, which will streamline a Soldier's path to readiness and wellness by providing prevention-focused exam and oral prophylaxis treatment at the initial appointment, and restorative care at the earliest feasible opportunity. Improved individual dental health is a strong indicator of improved overall health, and such initiatives at the corporate level will translate to better readiness and wellness across the Army," said Scott.

Army Dentistry's focus on medical innovation is leading the way to new advancements in dental care. In consortium with The Army Institute of Surgical Research (AISR) at Ft. Sam Houston, Army dentistry is conducting groundbreaking research; chewing gum that fights the bacteria that cause dental plaque and cavities, a flowable bone regenerative material that forms a matrix for replacing hard tissue lost in the jawbones, and a futuristic facial mask that facilitates regeneration of bone, skin and neurovascular components of the face.

There are numerous groundbreaking initiatives that will continue to steer dental readiness to unprecedented levels. First Term Dental Readiness (FTDR) extends readiness care of Initial Entry Soldiers; Reserve Component Dental Demobilization Reset (RC-DDR) provides exam-readiness care of demobilizing RC Soldiers, and the Army Selected Reserve Dental Readiness System (ASDRS) for annual exam-readiness care of the RC. Maturation of the Dental Command's (DENCOM's) Corporate Dental System (CDS), a web-based, electronic dental recording/reporting/scheduling software suite, coupled with digital radiography, postures the Army Dental Corps for continued success while promoting Tri-Service diplomacy and collaboration as the Military Health System transitions to an integrated Electronic Health Record.

The Dental Corps continues to provide quality, compassionate and state-of-the-art dental care and proudly stands with the entire Army Medical Department as we move toward a system for health supporting The Army Surgeon General's AMEDD 2020 Strategy.