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Say cheese: Dental X-Rays expand capabilities, improve readiness for North Carolina National Guard

Commanding Unit


North Carolina National Guard
Raleigh, NC, US

Say cheese: Dental X-Rays expand capabilities, improve readiness for North Carolina National Guard


Story by Sgt. Brian Godette

Say cheese: Dental X-Rays expand capabilities, improve readiness for North Carolina National Guard BUTNER, N.C. - Soldiers with the North Carolina National Guard Medical Detachment started September’s monthly medical screenings with a new way to ensure the readiness of the state’s citizen-Soldiers: on-site dental X-rays can now be performed at the detachment’s headquarters at Camp Butner Training Center.

The scheduled medical and dental screenings for NCNG Soldiers who travel to Camp Butner were highlighted by the implementation of new dental software that allowed the unit’s dentist and dental specialists to boot up their systems and take a good look at their patients’ teeth.

All National Guard Soldiers are required to pass an annual dental exam. This helps ensure the force is healthy and ready to serve their state and nation when called. Most physical exams are performed in-house by medical personnel, but without up-to-date dental equipment, Soldiers had to visit contracted civilian dentists in order to update their records.

“Before, we were not able to complete the exams because we were unable to do the X-rays, but now with this new system we have the ability to take X-rays digitally and upload them into the computer, which will allow us to do the patient exams and have the X-rays available to read them,” said Col. Michelle Conner, the Medical Detachment’s clinic chief.

Dental screenings for the day were slated to begin at 8 a.m., and dental specialist eagerly reviewed the procedures and capabilities of the new system before patients were admitted into the medical detachment building.

“We can actually do our specific job now,” said Sgt. Calvin Woolard, a dental specialist assigned to the detachment.

“Soldiers come here to get their [annual] physical health assessment, and when they get it without dental they would have to go outside to find a civilian dentist, take paperwork, get it signed, send it back to us, and then we have to get it to where it properly belongs,” Woolard said.

“Now that we have it here, and the dental [equipment] is working, you can get it all done right here instead of having to find a civilian dentist to take care of it or possibly driving all the way down to Fort Bragg,” Woolard said.

In the military there are different dental classes one can be assigned after being assessed through a dental screening. Class 1 means you do not need any treatment, class 2 means you need some treatment but nothing that would cause a Soldier to be nondeployable, class 3 means you’re nondeployable and class 4 means you have not had an exam, Conner said.

The ability to perform dental X-rays and more thorough exams at the Camp Butner facility helps ensure Soldiers are assigned the correct classes and given the care and attention they need.

Conner said this capability will help the North Carolina National Guard check out Soldiers as they prepare for deployments – where dental emergencies can take Soldiers away from their duties and teammates.

“We’re looking forward to addressing all the problems the Soldiers have and getting them taken care of,” said Conner.

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