ArmyMilitary Life

Army Dental Corps Birthday

The U.S. Army Dental Corps was officially recognized on March 3rd, 1911 and became the world’s first federally recognized military organization to provide dental care.

Before this, Soldiers were expected to find dental care on their own — which led to all kinds of dental complications.

Army Dental Corps
CHIANTLA, Guatemala – U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Joel Whiteman, a dentist of 185th Dental Company (Area Support) based in Garden Grove, Calif., prepares to work on a patient as part of a medical readiness training exercise during exercise Beyond the Horizon. Beyond the Horizon is a joint annual training exercise that combines medical, dental, veterinary and engineering missions to improve the operational readiness of U.S. Forces and reinforce regional stability and interoperability with allied forces, resulting in tangible benefits to the people of Guatemala. (U.S. Army photo by. Sgt. Anshu Pandeya)

History of the Dental Corps

The story of the Corps began in 1901 when Congress authorized that the United States Army could hire 30 dentists to serve the dental needs of our troops. Among these individuals was Dr. John Sayre Marshall, known as “the father of the U.S. Army Dental Corps.” He received this nickname because he was elected President of the Board of Examining and Supervising Dental Surgeons.

Dr. Marshall knew the importance of having trained professionals serving our troops. He recalls seeing a man during the Civil War, a time before the Dental Corps, have his tooth pulled with a turnkey. He reports that the tooth did come out — but the Soldiers jaw was also broken in the process.

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The significance of Dental Corps was quickly recognized and led to the steady growth of the organization. In 1922, the U.S. Army Institute of Dental Research was established to prepare Dental Corps officers through different kinds of training and real-life scenarios.

The Corps Today

The Dental Corps has continued to grow and improve their dental procedures. They proudly serve our troops’ dental needs with the latest technology and the greatest knowledge and for that, we are very grateful. Join us in celebrating the Corps and its servicemembers.


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