Job Family: Health Care Practitioners Dental Specialists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Coast Guard  | National Guard

Photo 1: Dental specialist takes X-ray.
Photo 2:
Dental specialist conducts oral hygiene presentation.

Short Description
Dental care is one of the health services provided to all military personnel. It is available in military dental clinics all over the world. Dental specialists assist military dentists in examining and treating patients. They also help manage dental offices.

What They Do
Dental specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Help dentists perform oral surgery
  • Prepare for patient examinations by selecting and arranging instruments and medications
  • Help dentists during examinations by preparing dental compounds and operating dental equipment
  • Clean patients’ teeth using scaling and polishing instruments and equipment
  • Operate dental X-ray equipment and process X-rays of patients’ teeth, gums, and jaws
  • Provide guidance to patients on daily care of their teeth
  • Perform administrative duties, such as scheduling office visits, keeping patient records, and ordering dental supplies

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include biology and chemistry. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to follow spoken instructions and detailed procedures
  • Good eye-hand coordination
  • Interest in working with people

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practice in dental care tasks. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
  • Preventive dentistry
  • Radiology (X-ray) techniques
  • Dental office procedures
  • Dental hygiene procedures

Work Environment
Dental specialists in the military usually work indoors in dental offices or clinics. Some specialists may be assigned to duty aboard ships.

Civilian Counterparts
Civilian dental specialists work in dental offices or clinics. Their work is similar to work in the military. They typically specialize in assisting dentists to treat patients, provide clerical support (dental assistants), or clean teeth (dental hygienists).

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