Dr. Weam Banjar. DDS., MS in Clinical Research, Comp.Dent (fellow)
The revolution of military and security personnel health care covers preventive and clinical care; oral health is no exception. Thus, oral health care is growing beyond classical settings. The model of oral health care should have been designed to meet target population’s needs. Military and security working environment is complex and requires a multidisciplinary approach to establish a balanced needs and demands assessment to developing appropriate interventional and preventive oral health programs that addresses related challenges and acknowledges unique working atmosphere; in-field and behind desks.
Personnel working in military and security services are often exposed to tremendous pressure that may affect their oral and general health. Oral health is also affected by individual’s habits, general health, and behavior. The interaction between oral health and general health is bidirectional. Maintaining oral health is necessary to maintain general health. Oral health programs should focus on healthy habits enforcements, establishing mandatory periodical oral health check-up, implementation of appropriate preventive measures, training and development of dentists and organizing awareness campaign that address relevant oral health challenges. Optimal oral health among military and security personnel is necessary to reduce economic burden, and maintain individual’s readiness and operational efficiency. Early detection of oral lesions and conditions allows for early intervention which results in favorable prognosis.
Healthy oral health habits should involve diet review, hygiene training, and introduction to appliances used to reduce pressure on masticatory muscles and temporomandibular joint and appliances that protect teeth during combat. Periodical dental visits are essential for early detection and early intervention. During the visit, preventive intervention might be utilized when needed. Scientific evidence concluded that regular dental care is essential to maintaining general health and improving medical conditions. Military/ security dental care requires dentists equipped with training that meet the needs of the environment. Special training is needed for dentists working at field hospitals. Delivering dental care and managing head and neck injuries in battle field differs from traditional dental care. Thus, continuous training sessions to main dentists’ skills is necessary. Pre-deployment dental assessment is necessary to maintain deployed personnel dental health and avoid potential impact on soldiers performance as a result of any undiscovered dental issue.