USS Harry S. Truman, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) Dental department achieved 99 percent dental readiness for the month of August, the highest percentage of dental readiness on record.
The achievement was the result of the efforts of Truman's dental team and an innovative new machine, the Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC).
Prior to deployment, Truman was selected to be the carrier test platform for the CEREC, which significantly speeds up the process of making crowns for patients' teeth.
"In the past, if a patient needed a crown it would normally take about a month and a half to get it done, requiring the patient to come in [three to four] times for a two-hour appointment each time," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Megan Castle. "With the CEREC, a patient can come in one time and have their crown ready two hours later."
The CEREC is a dental restoration machine that allows a dentist to create a crown for a patient using a variety of computer assisted technologies. The machine takes a three-dimensional photograph of the deficient tooth and the surrounding area, and then creates a digital model of the crown. When the digital model is completed, a milling machine carves the restoration out of a ceramic block using computer-controlled diamond-head cutters.
"Since the start of deployment we have made approximately 70 crowns for crew members," said Cmdr. Jorge Graziani, Dental department head. "To put that figure in perspective, it would normally take a carrier a little over a year to complete 70 crowns using conventional methods."
The CEREC has saved Truman's Dental department many man hours that have been devoted back to the crew. One way that this is reflected is in the ship's 99 percent dental readiness.
Dental readiness refers to the percentage of Sailors and Marines on board that are in no threat of having a dental emergency in the foreseeable future.
A patient's dental readiness is broken down into four different categories. Class one are patients who made need nothing more than a cleaning. Class two are those who may need a little more work, including fillings and crowns. Being in either one of these classes will not prevent a crew member from being classified as dentally ready.
However, class three and class four patients are scheduled appointments to get their teeth taken care of as soon as possible, because they are not considered dentally fit for deployment.
"Truman is currently at its highest dental readiness since the ship's commissioning, and we are dedicated to keep the bar up in order to ensure that we remain the best ship in the fleet," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Michael Villella, Dental department leading petty officer.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.