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The History of Dentistry in the Military

In honor of this great holiday, here are some facts and pictures illustrating the history of dentistry in the military.

  • The first dental standard: soldiers must have enough teeth to bite off the end of the cartridge so that the gun could be loaded. This dental standard lasted until World War II.

  • In 1911, the U.S. Army Dental Corps is established. This is the first armed services dental corps in the United States.

  • John Sayre Marshall, M.D. is considered the father of the U.S. Army Dental Corps as he lobbied for this organization and became the first commissioned dental corps officer.

  • In 1912, the U.S. Dental Navy Corps is established.

  • Officially, Dr. Emory Bryant is referred to as the father of the U.S. Navy Dental Corps. However, there is some controversy over who was the first dentist in the Dental Navy Corps.

  • In April 1917 (the beginning of World War I), 86 army dental officers were on active duty. In November, this number rose to 4,620!

  • For the Navy, the number expanded from 35 to over 500 during World War I.

  • Two Navy dentists were among the military casualties of the Pearl Harbor bombing on December 7, 1941.

  • The United States Army entered World War II with 2,905 dental offices. This number peaks at 15,292 in 1944!

  • For the Navy, the numbers peaked at 7,000 dental officers and 11,000 dental technicians during World War II.

See the references below to get more insight on the military dental history!

Happy Veterans Day!

And THANK YOU to all who have served, are currently serving, or will serve!


"History of Dentistry Timeline." American Dental Association (ADA). American Dental Association (ADA), n.d. Web. 20 July 2016.

"Office of Medical History." Office of Medical History. U.S. Army, n.d. Web. 20 July 2016.

Zimmerman, Dwight J. "A History of the U.S. Navy Dental Corps | Defense Media Network." Defense Media Network. Defense Media Network, 09 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 July 2016.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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