Cavities on I-day

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Anonymous01, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. Anonymous01

    Anonymous01 New Member

    Jun 22, 2019
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    I never post on public forums like this, but I am worried about I-day, and more specifically, the dental exam. I’m trying not to self diagnose, but I think that I might have a cavity (have not been able to see a dentist in a while for various reasons). The appointee booklet states: “The Academy staff expects that you will arrive at the Academy with no potentially duty-disqualifying dental conditions. Examples of dental conditions that may prevent you from performing optimally include... cavities that may become emergent problems if not restored immediately.” Could I be turned away because of a small/potential cavity? Thank you.
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    If it’s a matter of funds, research community health resources that may offer free dental clinics. Your state and county health department websites are a place to start. You have very little time left, but your oral health is important. Perhaps your regular dentist, if the situation is explained, can do an installment payment plan. Is there a family member willing to loan you the money and you pay them back? Small independent family practices often have more flexibility than big corporate dental chains, in terms of extended payments. Look for dental care non-profits. I’ve just assumed maybe you’re in a situation where you don’t have dental insurance at the moment.

    I know we have had posts here about appointees being turned away for not fully healed medical issues. I don’t know how detailed the dental exam is, but at my routine exams, one of the opening questions is “do you have any pain or sensitivity or experiencing any issues today?” How will you respond?

    Let’s project forward to one way this could play out. You’re asked to report in good dental health. You report in with awareness of a problem, but get past I-Day screening. The problem gets worse and worse because of the delay in care, and you have to bring it to the attention of your chain of command. It could be bad enough you are sent home (after they fix it), because you will miss too much. It may also come out you reported in and essentially omitted being truthful about the issue despite clear direction to report in good dental health.

    Medical issues that pop up like this happen every year. USAFA, if it’s like USNA, will typically offer an LOA that saves you a seat in 2024, your DODMERB stays good, you have to get another nom, and you’re expected to at least attend community college and take similar classes.

    You’ll feel better if you take action to solve the problem. If it’s a minor dental issue and you can find a way to take care of it, great. Don’t let it get worse with neglect. Paying attention to your health is important, and being straightforward about the state of your health will contribute to the USAFA path remaining open for you.

    You quoted your reporting instructions. It means exactly what it says.

    Let us know how this turns out.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  3. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

    Jan 5, 2012
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    As I have posted on the USNA board several times, the Service Academies aren't looking for ways to get rid of were selected for a reason, and they want you to succeed. That said, you will be expected to show up in good medical (and dental) condition, and perform in a strenuous and stressful environment; checking in with a medical/dental condition will only increase the stress level, and if bad enough, could lead you to miss training and ultimately get separated. You can avoid the issue and get the tooth looked at now ....
    Impulsive, Devil Doc and Capt MJ like this.
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Jul 13, 2011
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    I think you will be fine. A cavity isn't the end of the world. I know this is the USAFA thread, but if its like USNA, you will see dental during the summer. If you have a cavity, they will take care of it. It would be different if you had or needed major dental surgery, but a cavity is a minor items that can be addressed and you return to duty immediately.
    Devil Doc likes this.
  5. Devil Doc

    Devil Doc Teufel Doc

    Apr 25, 2018
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    I don’t have an opinion on what OP should do but offer a couple interesting items.

    Dental caries are one of the most common diseases in the world. Almost 40 percent of the population have them.

    Dental complaints are the number one non-combat related medevac’d condition in the USN.

    DENTAL-they put the bite in the fight.
  6. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    A concern would be that you would have something more involved than a cavity. My experience as a mom of 4 is that cavities generally aren’t noticeable (our experience is that they show up in exams, including X-rays). So if you are actually having pain or sensitivity, it could be more involved and require a higher level of treatment. Ie: root canal, cap, or some other medical remedy.

    As CAPT MJ suggested, your county should have assistance. Another place to check would be your assigned public school district. Not sure if that would be an option as you are graduated, but worth a try!!

    Our area has volunteer dentists that perform work locally too. But yes I would try hard to get yourself checked.

    Of note: we had one exchange student (so not American dental care) that noticed a black dot they couldn’t get rid of. He was sure he had a cavity. Took him in, and turns out it was a stain. Removed it easy peasy. 35$.

    Another exchange student had teeth pain. He was sure he had multiple cavities. Took him in, dentist couldn’t find anything, suggested he stop using whitening toothpaste (which is harsher), and instead use a sensitivity toothpaste. His pain went away.

    I don’t know your actual condition, but self diagnosing isn’t the best way to deal with
    Medical things. Two great examples above. It’s getting kind of late to try different things yourself, I personally would try and find a way to get looked at.
    peppypea likes this.
  7. AF22SIS

    AF22SIS Member

    Dec 5, 2018
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    In years past, all USAFA basics go to the dentist for a checkup. If a cavity is found, you will be treated then if it is a pressing issue, or given a referral for treatment on base after basic training.
    peppypea likes this.