Given the cessation of active hostilities, members of the unit can have all dental needs looked after from 09:00-15:00 hours at the medical tent. All soldiers, particularly soldiers with persistent dental health problems are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity, as it is unsure when it will occur again in the near future.
Profile: The Visiting Dentist Offers his Views on Soldiering and Dental Hygiene
You’d be surprised how many men who have faced combat are afraid of the dentist. You’d think after shooting men in the jungle and risking death every moment of your life, that walking into a dentist’s office would seem like nothing. But sometimes when a solider walks into a dentist’s office, he’s not a soldier any more. He’s like a little kid walking into the office without his mother to give him a lollypop if everything goes well. Sometimes the biggest and most powerful soldiers are the ones who are the most afraid.
I think it’s because they can’t admit they are afraid, even to themselves. If a guy says, “Doc, I’m scared,” I can give him something for the pain. Sometimes just telling the truth makes a guy feel better. But when a guy can’t tell the truth about his own fears I know he’s in trouble and I’m in trouble.
I’ve worked under some pretty rough circumstances in my career as a dentist in the armed forces. I have been unable to hear my own drill because of fighter pilots flying overhead. And sometimes I have had to extract teeth without Novocain, just because we had nothing else on hand, except whisky and dope. And soldier’s mouths are never pretty, as a rule. When you’re out in the field, the last priority on hand is good dental care. Some of these guys come from hick towns that have never seen a dentist.
That’s another reason guys are afraid of the dentist-just not knowing what is going to happen, the same fear you have when you’re hunched up by a plant in the jungle. I guess that is why so many people, army and civilians don’t go to the dentist, even though not going is much more painful in the long run-it’s a lack of control over what happens to your body, and some guys prefer to take big risks at something they think they can control, and no one has any power over the enemy-the enemy that is tooth decay, I mean, as well as the enemy out there!
Anyway, my message to all of you soldiers is pretty simple-don’t let the enemy get your teeth, too! There are lots of pretty girls waiting for you back home, and believe me, a pretty girl prefers a guy with a full face of teeth. Take care of yourself, mentally and physically, as much as you can and I will try to give you the best care I can, under the circumstances.
Why I Am Not a Coward-an Editorial by Curt Lemon
I am writing this letter to the platoon as an open statement about an alleged incident I believe was inaccurately reported. It was said that I fainted out of fear the first time I went to the camp dentist. This is a flat-out lie. First of all, I have never been afraid of anything in my life. Second of all, I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of going to the dentist. They said I fainted in the chair and had to be carried to a nearby cot by some of the men. But if I did faint, it was only because I was in so much pain that I passed out, rather than tell the dentist I was in pain. I offer as proof the fact that I had to have another tooth pulled (a supposedly good tooth that the dentist apparently missed the first time he examined me) and did not faint at all.
Mess hall will be serving sticky coffee buns for breakfast, flown in MRE packages from the U.S. as a post-dentist celebration! Chow down, men!