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    Dental procedure streamlines Soldier readiness

    Dental procedure streamlines Soldier readiness

    Photo By Marcy Sanchez | The first Soldier to undergo the first total rehabilitation of a full set of teeth...... read more read more

    FORT BLISS, TX, UNITED STATES

    12.27.2016

    Story by Marcy Sanchez  

    William Beaumont Army Medical Center

    A new (to Fort Bliss) dental procedure is helping Soldiers improve readiness and reduce visits for dental procedures.

    The first total rehabilitation of a full set of teeth supported by four implants was conducted on an active-duty Soldier at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Nov. 29. The operation, also the first in El Paso, Texas utilized immediate loading, meaning a fixed temporary set of teeth were fitted to the dental arch. The operation required a combined effort from a prosthodontist and laboratory technicians at the Fort Bliss DENTAC and oral and maxillofacial surgeons at WBAMC.

    The procedure involves inserting four titanium implants into the jaw, in straight and angled positions, into which a custom-made, fixed prosthesis is secured using small bolts that screw into the implants. What this means for eligible patients is, a full set of teeth can replace compromised teeth on the dental arch, or jaw. For Soldiers, it also means improving dental readiness in just one day.

    “We take a Soldier who is a “Class three,” non-deployable Soldier; take all the teeth out; give him fixed dentures; and, now he’s a Class one,” said Col. Michael Craddock, chief, prosthodontics, Fort Bliss DENTAC, and native of Colorado Springs, Colorado. “It’s a great benefit to service members because they go in with problematic oral health and come out with teeth. The process takes care of Soldiers, their quality of life, and readiness of the force.”

    For Sgt. 1st Class John Barnes, the procedure meant a relief from dental complications which included implants, multiple extractions, and restorations.

    “I’ve spent a lot of time in the dentist chair the last few years,” said Barnes, interim first sergeant, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st General Support Aviation Battalion. “I came back into the Army in 2008 and had some problems with my teeth so the dentist extracted them. In 2010, I received my first implant. In 2014, I deployed and had some mishaps during deployment where my crowns got messed up.”

    According to Craddock, Barnes represented a perfect candidate for the procedure, which had never been attempted at Fort Bliss.

    When told about the technique, Barnes, a native of Sierra Vista, Arizona, was more than willing to undergo the procedure.

    The possibility of spending less time away from work motivated Barnes to undergo the procedure. Barnes’ unit is the only unit at Fort Bliss providing medevac support for the Southwest region as well as providing civilian medevac support, so readiness and availability are paramount to the mission.

    “For me, dental procedures have been bandages since 2008,” said Barnes. “The implant feels kind of weird, but I feel better and smile more now.”

    “Everything worked out smoothly,” said Col. David Fallah, director, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, WBAMC, who operated on Barnes. “This procedure does a lot of good for the Soldier, improving function and improving many aspects of the Soldier’s quality of life.”

    The dental team has already scheduled four more procedures of this type for Soldiers at Fort Bliss. In addition to performing the surgery on Soldiers, the procedure is also being instructed as part of WBAMC’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program.

    “We always seek to be at the cutting edge of technology,” said Fallah, director of WBAMC’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program since 2009. “We strive to be at the forefront of the learning battle.”

    According to Craddock, while the procedure has been around for some time, advancements in equipment and technology have made the procedure more available and more popular with patients needing total dental rehabilitation. On top of medical advancements, having the right team together is also vital to successful surgery and restoration.

    “It all has to come together, from a fully functioning lab to the surgeon to the restorative dentist. All three components are required to make it happen,” said Craddock. “This procedure increases readiness and wellness for the service member.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.27.2016
    Date Posted: 12.27.2016 12:16
    Story ID: 218724
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 
    Hometown: COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, US
    Hometown: SIERRA VISTA, AZ, US

    Web Views: 254
    Downloads: 0

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