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Army dental assistants at it again: assisting and performing community relations at 2005 National Boy Scout Jamboree.

The multitude of assigned and assumed duties of Army dental assistants never ends. Once again they were able to shine while participating in the 2005 National Boy Scouts of America Jamboree July 25th to August 3rd. The dental assistants were tasked to develop a Dentistry Merit Badge, one of the many badges the Boy Scouts had an opportunity to earn during their stay at the Jamboree.

This major event involved over 34,000 scouts, leaders and staff members who gravitated towards Fort A. P. Hill, located in the rolling hills of Carolina County, Virginia, near the towns of Fredericksburg and Bowling Green. The 76,000-acre U.S. Army facility has served as the permanent site for the National Boy Scout Jamboree since 1981. This was a unique opportunity for all the Uniformed Services; Army-Air Force, Navy, Reserve National Guard and Coast Guard--to show what they are about and support this big event.

Imagine having 17,000 tents and 3,500 patrol kitchens pop up in a matter of hours on Day One. Amid the thousands of colorful tents that housed the scouts, there was an infrastructure that provided a safe and secure environment for all participants. Everything was provided, including bus services and telephone systems, a hospital and first-aid stations, police and fire departments, post offices, food warehouses, a daily newspaper, and retail stores. The event attracted scouts from all 54 states and territories, and other countries around the world.

The Army Dental Team listed below was comprised of six soldiers, three from the Fort Bragg Dental Activity in North Carolina and three from the Walter Reed Dental Activity in D.C. All soldiers left their home stations on the July 21. Staff Sergeant Husien, the NCO-in-Charge of this mission, was told months prior to come up with a list of all equipment required and a format for the young scouts to earn the Dentistry Merit Badge. He was given a few guidelines by the High Scouts Council and developed the criteria below, which had to be approved by the Scout's Council.

Dental Team
Staff Sergeant Husien Walter Reed DENTAC


Sergeant Brown Fort Bragg DENTAC
Specialist Charles Fort Bragg DENTAC
Specialist Galloway Walter Reed DENTAC
Specialist Maple Fort Bragg DENTAC
Specialist Elliott Walter Reed DENTAC

To earn the Dentistry Merit Badge the scouts had to successfully complete the following:


* Identify tooth anatomy on an X-ray.

* Show the surrounding structures of bone and gingival tissue.

* Identify on a drawing where the nerves, major veins and arteries enter the tooth.

* Show on a drawing where bacterial plaque is most likely to be found.

Oral Hygiene

* Tell or write about what causes tooth decay and gingivitis. Explain how bacterial plaque, sugars, and acid contribute to tooth decay.

* Demonstrate the correct way to brush and floss your teeth.

* Explain fluoride.

* List at least five different brands of toothpaste and mouthwash.

* Discuss how the oral cavity is related to the rest of the body.

Dental Instruments

* Name at least five instruments and five pieces of equipment a dentist uses.

* Discuss the different specialties of dentistry and briefly tell what each specialist does.

Mouth Guards

* Tell the possible causes of traumatic tooth loss.

* Describe the different types of mouth guards used to prevent traumatic tooth loss.

* List different activities during which a person should wear a mouth guard.

* Explain the first-aid procedures for saving a tooth that has been evulsed.

After signing in at the Dentistry Tent each scout was assigned special badges with numbers and codes. The badges were then turned in to one of the soldiers who placed the scouts in small groups to be briefed on that station and Merit Badge criteria. The scouts were briefed and then given a class before testing began. The Dentistry Merit tests were given individually by the soldiers.

Various dental instruments ranging from oral surgery forceps, hygiene instruments and field dental equipment, plus various X-ray photos, toothbrushes, posters and more were on display. The biggest attractions for the adults and many guests who visited the Dentistry Tent were the posters featuring different stages of periodontal disease and tooth decay, and the display stand actually showing the amount of sugar in different sodas and other sugar-driven snacks that kids like to eat.

Staff Sergeant Husien and all the soldiers who went on this mission not only volunteered but were handpicked for their professionalism, motivation and dedication to their jobs. The soldiers came from a variety of jobs including dental assistant, lab technician, and dental hygienist; many had experience working with portable field equipment. Staff Sergeant Husien also stated he could not have asked for a better team. They were professional soldiers, motivated and committed to making sure every scout had an equal chance of getting the badge without compromising any standards set by the Boy Scout Merit Badge Council.

Specialist Charles and Specialist Maple said that they had never been to such a great event. It was an experience they would share with their peers at Fort Bragg, especially the camaraderie and what they learned from being around the Boy Scouts and the other uniformed services.

Specialist Elliott said that even though it was hard work and long hours, especially keeping up with the number of Boy Scouts who came through daily, she would want to take part in this event again.

All the soldiers agreed that because the scouts were from different parts of the country, enthusiastic, very curious about dentistry, and generally inquisitive, it made the long days and hours go by quickly. The scouts shared the same mission and that was to earn the Dentistry Merit Badge. Some even wanted to trade other patches they had been collecting while they were there for military patches.

During the first week the weather was very hot and humid. The soldiers made sure that not only did they stay hydrated throughout the day, but that every Boy Scout who came to their station was well hydrated before any briefing started.

The day that President Bush was to speak at the National Scout Jamboree, there were 75,000+ scouts, leaders, staff and spectators awaiting his arrival. Because the weather was so hot and humid over 300 Boy Scouts suffered heat stroke while waiting in the amphitheater. The Army Dental Soldiers quickly volunteered first aid services and, more importantly, served as litter bearers evacuating the stricken scouts to various aid stations. They demonstrated once again their competence and drive to take care of others and be leaders.

In the end, the soldiers trained 2800 Scouts, with 1351 scouts completing requirements and earning the Dentistry Merit Badge.

The Boy Scouts of America is already planning for its 2010 Jamboree. The Dental Team will be back because they set a standard of performance and excellence unparalleled in the Jamboree's recent memory. The Army will be sure to extend an invitation to the ADAA to visit our operations at the next National Scout Jamboree.

SGM Exerline Drumm North Atlantic Regional Dental Command SGM
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Author:Drumm, Exerline
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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