CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The sailors of 1st Dental Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, have proven that state-of-the-art dental equipment, treatment rooms, sleeping quarters, a waiting area and computer systems can be transported by one massive vehicle known as the Mobile Dental Unit.
Using this vehicle, sailors with 1st Dental Bn. are able to provide dental care in virtually any location.
“A Mobile Dental Unit is a dental office on wheels,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua J. Fallick, a mobile dental unit coordinator with 1st Dental Bn. “The official mission of the MDU is to increase unit readiness.”
Because of its mobility, MDU personnel are able to perform a wide array of dental treatments for Marines and sailors in the vicinity of Camp Pendleton, Miramar, Yuma and Twentynine Palms.
“Through the MDUs, we can perform anything from X-rays to sterilization, cleaning, oral surgery, root canals, crowns, bridges, implants and gum surgeries,” said Fallick, a native of Rosenhayn, N.J.
Mobile Dental Units have played a key role in the increase of mission readiness.
On a recent two-day mission in Barstow, MDUs increased dental readiness from approximately 74 percent to 89 percent, said Fallick.
“Certain dental problems could prevent (Marines) from deploying if they are serious enough,” said Navy Capt. David A. Lowrey, branch clinic director, 1st Dental Bn., and native of Russellville, Ark.
The dental systems have also proven to be beneficial to those returning from deployment.
“Combat Logistics Regiment 17 Marines returned home from deployment, so we parked out at the 22 area parade deck and more than 200 Marines showed up,” said Fallick. “They had fun coming here because it’s more relaxed than a dental office.”
“We go to the unit’s front door so they are not losing as much manpower and hours going to clinics,” he added.
For many, working with the MDUs provides dental technicians with a sense of accomplishment.
“It felt good getting the job done and helping everyone coming home,” said Fallick. “I enjoy being here and I think everyone who comes here enjoys it.”