It is not uncommon to find online stories of active service members with dental problems. Just Google “The Denture Dozen” for some examples of how orthodontic health can become a major problem during a military career.
Our brave troops can receive braces and Invisalign thanks to numerous orthodontists who provide braces and Invisalign services to active military personnel. At Loudoun Orthodontics, we are able to provide orthodontic services to active military personnel on base in Virginia!
The purpose of today’s article is to explain the nuances of receiving orthodontic care in the military and how Invisalign is the best option for active duty personnel.
Table of Contents
Are Your Teeth Healthy Enough for Military Enlistment?
Dental health can make or break your military career. Unfortunately, you might learn the importance of dental health the hard way.
As a result of their poor dental health, “the Denture Dozen” became a notorious example of poor dental health in the US Army. Their teeth were in such bad shape that their higher-ups removed them from the Iraqi combat zone, relieving them from active duty.
They represent only a small fraction of the 4500 active duty guardsmen deployed to Iraq. Nearly half of them had severe dental problems that rendered them unfit for overseas travel.
In the military, your ability to chew determines whether or not you get accepted. Military discipline revolves around eating food without dietary restrictions or the threat of tooth decay in the future. Your Army recruiter may not consider you eligible for service if you require orthodontic care or have good oral health but have missing teeth.
In the past, recruiters have rejected enlistment applications because of:
- Active orthodontic treatment plan
- Chewing impairments
- Missing teeth
- Myofascial pain
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
- Untreated cavities
Can You Wear Invisalign or Braces During Basic Training?
In accordance with Instruction 6130.03 (Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction into the Military Services), Section 6.8g, “current orthodontic appliances for continued active treatment” are disqualifying, unless (direct quote):
- The appliance is permanent or removable retainer(s); or
- An orthodontist (civilian or military) provides documentation that:
(a) Active orthodontic treatment will be completed before being sworn in to active duty;
(b) All orthodontic treatment will be completed before beginning active duty.
As a result, you will have to either finish your orthodontic treatment or put it on hold before boot camp. In between these two crucial moments during your military service, plan to wear braces or Invisalign. Once enlisted, you may resume and conclude your treatment.
When Does the Military Offer Braces?
Military surgeons prescribe more aggressive appliances such as braces instead of clear retainers since the military only pays for orthodontic services to correct bite issues.
It is common for servicemen who struggle with their bite issues to not be able to prove the issue to Army physicians, thus having to pay out-of-pocket for treatment. Others, however, manage to link cosmetic issues to bite-related ones under the TRICARE Dental program.
What if My Base Doesn’t Have an Orthodontist?
Several off-base orthodontists maintain close ties with the Army and can refer you to another military physician if you live on a base where there are no Army dentists. Otherwise, they will treat you themselves while offering a payment schedule for the treatment plan.
When it comes to treating bite issues, some Army physicians recommend traditional braces, but others prefer less invasive options, such as Invisalign!
Does the Tricare Dental Program Offer a Military Discount for Invisalign?
Invisalign does not qualify for military discounts since it falls under the “cosmetic treatment” category. The same applies for braces.
The United Concordia-administered TRICARE Dental Program will cover your treatment if you can prove to your Army physician that Invisalign or braces will resolve your bite problems.
If that is the case, you will be eligible for the following premiums:
Source: TRICARE Dental Program Monthly Premiums
The Advantages of Invisalign Over Braces for the Military!
Invisalign’s readiness, freedom, and the ability to treat oneself are enough reasons for active duty members to choose it over other orthodontic treatments.
1. Invisalign Doesn’t Affect Your Dental Class / Readiness
Your military career will be significantly affected by braces.
Enlistments with braces entail joining the Delayed Entry Program, which allows you to become military personnel without starting active duty. Only after completing your braces treatment plan will you be eligible for your next career step.
In addition, your Army physician or orthodontist can only treat military personnel with braces in certain deployed locations:
- “Deactivate” your braces if deployment lasts more than 6 months.
- Request complete removal for longer deployment times.
Invisalign, on the other hand, will not affect your dental class/readiness. You will be eligible for deployment immediately after boot camp, allowing you to start your military career on schedule.
2. Invisalign is Not Tied to an Orthodontist
Mobility is a problem with traditional braces.
As orthodontic brackets are prescribed by a dentist, each orthodontic office will use a different manufacturer. With hundreds of manufacturers in the country, it’s easy to see how logistics may become a nightmare.
When we’re dealing with a transfer case, for example, we must remove all brackets and replace them with those provided by our office — a common orthodontic practice.
Logistics are no longer an issue with Invisalign!
All these clear aligners are produced by the same company, so we can easily access your patient information.
3. With Invisalign, Active Duty Personnel Can Treat Themselves
Lastly, braces raise the issue of self-treatment.
Only an orthodontist has the skills to perform routine brace adjustments. For that reason, military personnel have to stall, put on hold, or discontinue their treatment with braces when there’s no specialized Army physician on base.
Keeping an eye on your treatment plan is easy with Invisalign!
You can complete your treatment from anywhere in the country as long as you change your trays according to schedule.
Start Your Orthodontic Treatment at Loudoun Orthodontics!
Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if Invisalign is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic care or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary orthodontic consultation!
Our office, located at 19465 Deerfield Ave. Suite 304 Lansdowne, VA 20176, proudly serves the Lansdowne, VA area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Sterling or Leesburg, and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Virginia, don’t hesitate to visit our office!
We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!
- DOD Instruction 6130.03, Volume – Executive Services Directorate, www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/613003_vol1.PDF?ver=7fhqacc0jGX_R9_1iexudA%3d%3d. Accessed 23 Jun. 2023.
- TRICARE, www.tricare.mil/Costs/DentalCosts/TDP/Premiums. Accessed 23 Jun. 2023.
- TRICARE, www.tricare.mil/TDP. Accessed 23 Jun. 2023.
- United Concordia Dental, www.unitedconcordia.com/. Accessed 23 Jun. 2023.