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Air Force Reserve dentist pro/con

Discussion in 'Military Dentistry' started by Finallydds2be, Apr 15, 2012.

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  1. Finallydds2be

    Finallydds2be 2+ Year Member

    Mar 24, 2012
    I'm considering joining the Air Force Reserve after dental school since I already have 12 years of prior Enlisted service. Can an AFR dentist please respond with pros and cons of Reserve service (beyond what can be obtained from a recruiter)? In particular, my understanding is that you actually have some flexibility when it comes to whether or not you have to go on deployments. Is this true?
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  3. dentist35


    Apr 20, 2012
    I'm actually interested in the answer to this as well, as I am thinking I need a change from private practice and serving my country would be a great way to accomplish that...
  4. Hope45


    Dec 1, 2011
    If you don't mind me asking. Why didn't you just take the HPSP Scholarship, which would have paid all of your school's tuition and given you 16 years of service, or taken the HSPS Scholarship (Navy),which would have given you a total of 8 yrs when everything is said and done?
  5. ARguy

    ARguy Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2005
    HPSP gives you zero years toward retirement while in dental school. You start out after graduating D-school as an O-3 with zero years. In his case he would be an O-3E with 12 years toward retirement and zero toward time in grade. As far as the reserves go, I have no personal experience but have heard that dentists have had hard times maintaining their practices in the past when they have been activated/deployed. Good luck.
  6. Saddleshoes

    Saddleshoes 7+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    I was hoping someone with Reserve experience would step forward as my experience was as a traditional guardsman in the Air National Guard for 20 years. But here goes...

    My experience was great. HOWEVER I was not a private practice dentist. I worked for the state, which was very supportive of the Guard and Reserve. (I often got two pay checks when I was activated.) We were never able to keep dentists in private practice for very long because of the economic stresses of serving two masters.

    "Flexibility" with deployments???? Well, yes and no. If you have to ask the question my advice is don't do it. Because the time when you are going to absolutely NEED flexibility will be the time the Air Force will not be flexible.

    I can not comment too much more because the Dental Corp within the Guard and Reserve is changing rapidly right now. The kind of work I did for my Air Guard career has largely been contracted out.

    Good Luck
  7. teeth63a

    teeth63a Dharma Dentist 7+ Year Member

    The last time I spoke to an AFR/Air National Guard recruiter, here in Hawaii, I was told that the positions were few, and there were no bonuses the way the Army offers.

    And while you are asking specifically about AFR, there is also great flexibility in deployments for the Army IMA reserves.
  8. del Sol DOHC

    del Sol DOHC 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    I wasn't a dentist, but I did serve in the Air Force Reserve and spent a lot of time with the Dental Officers in my medical unit. During the weekend drills every month, they really didn't get to do much dentistry at all. They basically did annual exams to make sure you didn't have any dental issues that would prevent you from being ready to deploy. Anytime they found anything (caries, periapical lesion, failed restoration, etc...), they would note it in your chart, and tell you to go to a civilian dentist to have the work done so you could be dentally qualified to deploy. They weren't allowed to do any procedures, and all the work that needed to be done was sent out to civilian dentists. The only time they got to actually practice dentistry and spin a drill was on their two week annual tour. I can't say for sure that it is like that at every unit, but I've heard that if you actually want to do dentistry part-time in the military, you should look into the Army/Air National Guard.
    Last edited: May 7, 2012

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