USS KEARSARGE, At Sea -- All Lance Cpl. Bryan Greene wanted for Christmas were his three front teeth. After un-dergoing multiple root canal procedures and appointment after appointment at Camp Lejeune to prepare his mouth for prosthetic teeth during the busy pre-deployment work-up schedule, Greene appeared to see September as the month he would finally be done with his dental adventures. Then came the order to deploy ear¬ly. Getting his dental work completed before leaving seemed like an afterthought for Greene.
Stuck with loose tempo¬rary caps early in the deploy¬ment, Greene reported to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit dental team for a quick fix.
“My first encounter with Lance Cpl. Greene was rather comical,” said Lt. Adam Di-Vincenzo, 26th MEU dental officer. “I remember him asking me if I could give him a refill of the temporary ce¬ment he had, just as he pulled out an empty cement cartridge from his pocket.”
After explaining to Greene that continually re-cementing his temporary caps back into his mouth may not be the best course of action, DiVincenzo conducted a thorough dental examination.
DiVincenzo determined that 95 percent of the work was complete and that his fin¬ished teeth were most likely in a box back at one of the Camp LeJeune clinics. A few emails later and DiVencenzo not only located Greene’s new teeth, but had them boxed up and shipped out to USS Kear¬sarge.
“It was nice to see Lance Cpl. Greene finally get his new teeth. Most of the time we just deal with emergen¬cies and patients in pain, so it is nice to see something out of the ordinary and a happy patient,” said Hospital Corps¬man 2nd Class Maqueda Mouton.
DiVincenzo said the wait was well worth it.
“Where patient cost for treatment is not an issue in the military, these IPS e.max crowns like the ones Greene received should be the stan¬dard. You get the esthetics of an all ceramic crown that has the strength of tradition¬al porcelain fused to a metal substructure crown. The re-sult is a very pleased patient and that is a great day!”
For the MEU dental team, operational dental readiness is first priority. To date, more than 1,250 patients have been treated from 26th MEU by DiVincenzo and his team of techs.
“Even though we are lim¬ited out here, first and fore¬most our effort will always be to ensure the Marines are at a deployable dental level. This mitigates the possibility of duty hours lost or MEDEVAC from a field environment re¬lated to oral-facial space in¬fections secondary to wisdom teeth impactions or severe tooth decay.”
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Robert Fousek stressed that prevention is key. “About 99 percent of dental effort still falls on the patient. Being conscientious about going to early check-ups and taking the time to brush and floss daily go a long way in having a more enjoyable office visit.”