The force dental officer ensures all ships or Enlisted Classification Codes (NECs) enlisted dental submarines assigned to a specific type commander are dental ready. This state of dental readiness is achieved by ships with dental departments and the use of shore-based dental clinic facilities. The ships or submarines that are in port use the Fleet Liaison Program to schedule appointments.
The force is broken down into the Atlantic and Pacific regions. Within each force is the type commander to whom each Force Dental Officer reports. An example of this is the SURFLANTFLT Force Dental Officer who would report directly to the Atlantic Fleet Type Commander. The six force dental officers are as follows:
SURFLANT/SURFPAC (Atlantic Fleet/ Pacific Fleet) - Responsible for all ships that are not fixed winged or submarine connected.
AIRLANTIAIRPAC (Air Atlantic/Air Pacific) - Responsible for all ships that have fixed wing capabilities (i.e., aircraft carriers).
SUBLANT/SUBPAC (Submarine Atlantic/ Submarine Pacific) - Responsible for all submarines and auxiliary support ships (submarine tenders).
The head of the dental department of a ship is designated the "dental officer" He or she is usually the senior dental officer on board. The type or class of ship will determine how many other dentists are assigned to the department. They could be general dentists or specialty providers (oral surgeon, prosthodontist, and so forth). The primary responsibility of the dental department head is to maintain the dental health of all personnel assigned to the ship and personnel attached to squadrons, ships in the battle group, staffs, and any other units dependent upon the dental department for dental care.
If a ship has more than one dentist, the department head may appoint a dentist on board as a division officer to assist him or her with administrative duties and the supervision of the enlisted personnel.
Enlisted dental personnel assigned to the dental department of a ship serve as technical assistants to the dental officer. The type or class of ship that you serve on will determine how many and what type of Navy personnel will have to support the dental department. These classifications are discussed in this volume, chapter 1, "General Administration and Orientation."
Depending on the structure of the manning for a specific class ship, your dental department may have a leading chief petty officer (LCPO) or senior chief petty officer (SCPO) assigned. His or her responsibilities are for the smooth and efficient operation of the dental department and the supervision of enlisted personnel.
In the absence of an LCPO billet, many of the smaller class ships will have a Dental Technician Second Class or First Class Petty Officer in charge of the dental department. Most leading petty officers (LPOs) carry the NEC DT-8703, Dental Technician, Administration. The responsibilities are similar to an LCPO.
Dental assistants are junior Dental Technicians (E-1 through E-4) who perform a variety of shipboard and professional duties. They have graduated from Dental Technician "A" school and are classified as a DT-0000. Dental assistants' duties may include: preventive maintenance, the ship's 3-M program, assignment to a battle dressing station (BDS), and assisting the medical department in the treatment of casualties. In addition, the dental assistants assist the dental officers in dental procedures, performing oral prophylaxis, radiology, and supply and dental administration. Next we will discuss the different classes of ships that have dental departments.
Table 12-1 is a list of the different types of ships that have dental departments. Some ships have one dental officer and two to three Dental Technicians assigned, while larger ships may have two to four dental officers with 4 to 13 Dental Technicians assigned. The above manning numbers represent the ship's basic allowance (BA) for Dental Technicians. Please note that the Hospital ship has only 1 Dental Technician assigned as permanent ship's company (1Continue Reading