Dentistry in the U.S. Navy

It wasn’t until I volunteered at a local hospital in my hometown where I was able to shadow a physician and go around with him and see what it was like to treat patients. He suggested that I also look into other career options, like dentistry and optometry, which I did, and dentistry seemed like it was the one that satisfied all my goals in a future career. I am Lieutenant Sarita Ojha and I am a Navy dentist. My job is really important because these Marines, these sailors, cannot deploy unless they are dentally ready. So my job is to make sure that these active duty members are coming in every year for their periodic exam, for their checkups, and making sure that they are dentally healthy in order to deploy and continue on with their missions. In Navy dentistry there is such great collaboration between general dentists, comprehensive dentists, and specialists that the outcomes for patient care is – is outstanding. We are not concerned with how much procedures are going to cost – neither is the patient. Our focus is just making sure that we’re delivering high quality dental care and without ever having to worry about who’s going to pay for what. In the Navy dentists have access to the greatest technology. We have digital radiography, which is taking x-rays and instantaneously seeing it on – on a screen and that gets saved into a program where any provider can see it from another clinic. We have microscopes for our endodontists for when they do root canals. We have the large screen monitors for the oral surgeons. We have CAD/CAM and CEREC machines which are machines where prosthodontists or anyone who’s doing crowns or inlays or onlays can – can make right then and there. The Navy supports me with all the technology that I need to provide the best patient care. The Navy can provide financial assistance for undergraduates, for graduates, and even dentists that have graduated that are already in their own practice. The program that I applied for was the Health Profession Scholarship Program where they paid for 100 percent of tuition for all four years, required fees, and – and books. I have a colleague who recently transferred from having his own dental practice to the Navy dentistry world and he is not worried anymore about patient influx. He’s not worried about the economy. He has now a stable patient population in the Navy and – and he finds it a very rewarding and satisfying experience. I also have colleagues who I closely work with who work on a part-time basis with the Navy Reserve. They work two days a month and two weeks a year and they are working alongside with the general dentists and the specialists and they are just as responsible as the rest of the active duty staff. In Navy dentistry you’re only working from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so after 4:00 p.m. I have all this time in the world to – to do what I want. The things I like to do in my time off is spend time with family and friends. I am part of Habitat for Humanity which I am very proud of and I like to do that at least once a month. My experience in the Navy has helped me realize my full potential as a Navy dentist. It’s almost every day that I’m reminded that my choice in doing Navy dentistry was the right one for me. If you’re looking to make a huge impact in your dental practice, there’s no better place to do it than in the Navy Dental Corps.

16 thoughts on “Dentistry in the U.S. Navy

  1. If she seen my Teeth – she wouldn't want to be a Dentist – I guarantee it,, my Teeth and entire mouth are a total mess and nobody will help me, they want the cost of a Porsche or Lamborghini to even fix my teeth ! I'm sad :(:( !

  2. i deployed to afghanistan with her in '10. she has the biggest heart in the world. she can fight too lol. i was in a few martial arts classes with her.

    tell her the marine who gave her the knife overseas (cpl smith) says hi lol, she'll smile.

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