Santiago12

5+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2010
38
0
Status
Dental Student
Hey HPSPers,

I asked this question to a particular poster, but thought I would post the questions for wider feedback, particularly from people in the Army currently or former Army dentists. I have been browsing SDN for a while now and a few big questions have remained unanswered after reading through many of the threads.... mostly concerning the professional day to day life of our MOS and the procedures we do. I'm a 3rd year dental student and fortunately an Army 4-year HPSP recipient. I already did BOLC, so I'm somewhat familiar with the beginning aspects of the Army and am pretty excited to serve. That said, most of what I will be doing in the Army, especially with regard to our profession, remains a mystery. It's still almost a year away, but what in your opinion should I be looking for when I rank my preferences of where I'd go (ignoring issues of location desirability, family concerns, etc). Ideally, I would like to be able to do a variety of procedures to keep my skills up and hopefully even learn some new tricks. Just up front- These questions assume I will be in a post's clinic and not a TOE unit, although I am open to either opportunity.

1. What are the procedures that you have been able to do? What procedures make up most of your day (is it mostly exams and direct restorative, or have you been able to do crowns, endo, anything else more advanced)?
2. Are you able to do more expansive procedures if you show an interest? If yes, what's the best way to go about acquiring new skills/finding a mentor?
3. How much does your duty location affect what procedures you can do? How much does the size of the post affect what you can do? What particular locations come to mind where one would be able to do a variety of procedures?
4. Do you like your current location? If you could choose again, would you choose a different duty location? (or if you have heard anything positive/negative from other HPSPers about other locations, particularly in Europe or the American East Coast. Heard anything about what it's like on a smaller post state-side?)
5. Is there a big difference in what AEGD-trained vs Non-AEGD-trained dentists in the Army can do and, more importantly, what they do on a daily basis?

I haven't decided on the AEGD yet, but I am more curious/ignorant about the 4-year payback and what your life is like as a dentist in the Army. We are soldiers/officers first of course, but what we do in our MOS is really a mystery to me. If you could provide any answers or advice, I would very much appreciate it.

Best Regards.
 

AirborneDentist

7+ Year Member
May 15, 2009
367
56
Ft. Huachuca, AZ
Status
Dentist
Hey HPSPers,

I asked this question to a particular poster, but thought I would post the questions for wider feedback, particularly from people in the Army currently or former Army dentists. I have been browsing SDN for a while now and a few big questions have remained unanswered after reading through many of the threads.... mostly concerning the professional day to day life of our MOS and the procedures we do. I'm a 3rd year dental student and fortunately an Army 4-year HPSP recipient. I already did BOLC, so I'm somewhat familiar with the beginning aspects of the Army and am pretty excited to serve. That said, most of what I will be doing in the Army, especially with regard to our profession, remains a mystery. It's still almost a year away, but what in your opinion should I be looking for when I rank my preferences of where I'd go (ignoring issues of location desirability, family concerns, etc). Ideally, I would like to be able to do a variety of procedures to keep my skills up and hopefully even learn some new tricks. Just up front- These questions assume I will be in a post's clinic and not a TOE unit, although I am open to either opportunity.

1. What are the procedures that you have been able to do? What procedures make up most of your day (is it mostly exams and direct restorative, or have you been able to do crowns, endo, anything else more advanced)?

You can do anything you want...to a point. The majority of your work will be operative/exams/sick call...etc....However, that does not mean you cannot do pros/endo/etc during the week. You should be allowed to have this freedom at least 1/2 day per week.

2. Are you able to do more expansive procedures if you show an interest? If yes, what's the best way to go about acquiring new skills/finding a mentor?

Yes, you just have to talk to your OIC and you can work with a specialist. Again, this will not be all the time..maybe a couple hours per week.


3. How much does your duty location affect what procedures you can do? How much does the size of the post affect what you can do? What particular locations come to mind where one would be able to do a variety of procedures?

This is huge. The mission depends on what you are able to focus the majority of your time on. If you are in a location with lots of troops coming and going, the focus is going to be on readiness and getting them out the door. However, if you are in a smaller clinic with a stable population, you will have more freedoms.


4. Do you like your current location? If you could choose again, would you choose a different duty location? (or if you have heard anything positive/negative from other HPSPers about other locations, particularly in Europe or the American East Coast. Heard anything about what it's like on a smaller post state-side?)

I have been to Bragg, DC and now at Knox and have loved all the locations. Some for different reasons...but they are honestly what you make of them.

5. Is there a big difference in what AEGD-trained vs Non-AEGD-trained dentists in the Army can do and, more importantly, what they do on a daily basis?

Yes...you are more skilled based on the training you do...period. If you do a one year..you are more skilled than someone who did not coming out of school. If you did a 2 year, you are more skilled than a 1 year graduate...generally speaking.

I haven't decided on the AEGD yet, but I am more curious/ignorant about the 4-year payback and what your life is like as a dentist in the Army. We are soldiers/officers first of course, but what we do in our MOS is really a mystery to me. If you could provide any answers or advice, I would very much appreciate it.

Feel free to pm me and we can talk on the phone...I can go into more detail or answer specific questions you have.

Best Regards.
 

toothfixeralex

7+ Year Member
Feb 28, 2010
45
7
Fort Bragg, NC
Status
Dentist
Hey HPSPers,
1. What are the procedures that you have been able to do? What procedures make up most of your day (is it mostly exams and direct restorative, or have you been able to do crowns, endo, anything else more advanced)?
2. Are you able to do more expansive procedures if you show an interest? If yes, what's the best way to go about acquiring new skills/finding a mentor?
3. How much does your duty location affect what procedures you can do? How much does the size of the post affect what you can do? What particular locations come to mind where one would be able to do a variety of procedures?
4. Do you like your current location? If you could choose again, would you choose a different duty location? (or if you have heard anything positive/negative from other HPSPers about other locations, particularly in Europe or the American East Coast. Heard anything about what it's like on a smaller post state-side?)
5. Is there a big difference in what AEGD-trained vs Non-AEGD-trained dentists in the Army can do and, more importantly, what they do on a daily basis?

I haven't decided on the AEGD yet, but I am more curious/ignorant about the 4-year payback and what your life is like as a dentist in the Army. We are soldiers/officers first of course, but what we do in our MOS is really a mystery to me. If you could provide any answers or advice, I would very much appreciate it.
Like Dr. Airborne said, it varies. My day to day is mostly operative/exams and sick call once a week. As far as Pros is concerned we send most of our pros out to local dentists because it takes a good long while to get a crown back from the Army Dental Lab and we don't like making our patients wait. We will do basic endo at our clinic; mainly pulpotomies/pulpectomies and will send to endodontitst for the obturation. This is mainly due to lacking full supplies, but we're rectifying that currently.
Your clinic is more important on what you'll be doing than your base in my opinion. I'm currently at Bragg and at one of the smaller clinics so we're fairly free to run our operatory as if it was a private practice. We order exactly what we want and can do as we see fit. Our OIC trusts us which is very nice. At other clinics on post their mission is readiness so a lot of exams and a lot of amalgams.
I love Bragg. It's my only station so far so I can't compare it to others yet, but I can say that it is extremely fun here; but only because we make it fun. The best part of the Army is that you're always around people that are somewhat similar to you so you'll find something to bond over and there's always free time to hang out with new battle buddies. All of my classmates that went overseas are loving it and I haven't really heard much griping over locations now that we're all settled in.
I can tell you that the 1-year trained dentists we have at my clinic are definitely prepared to do dentistry well. They are also very willing to jump (not just step) outside their comfort zone. We don't have any 2-year docs here, but I can imagine they'd be very similar to the 1-year guys.
Hope that helps, PM me if you have more questions or need clarification.