Petty Officer 2nd Class Maya Dover: My name is Maya Lynn Dover. I am an active-duty E-5 dental tech. I currently work as the Dental Shore and Fleet Liaison Work Center Supervisor Lead Petty Officer. I am in charge of overseeing an operation for all ships and submarines, dental readiness, in addition to all shore commands.
The reason dental readiness is so important in the Navy is because people don’t really realize how much your mouth ties into the rest of your body. It is one of the most dynamic parts of the body, but people really don’t realize because it’s so small. Some people may need cleanings. Some people may need fillings. Some people may need wisdom teeth extractions. But we’re able to project that out before that boat deploys to ensure that everybody is fit to deploy.
We have larger shore-based commands who have more than 300-plus patients. And what we typically like to do is, for those commands, we send the Mobile Dental Unit to their front door. We make sure that our van is parked in front of their building, and we have the ability to project them out, have them scheduled, have their record on hand, do their dental exam. And then they’re able to follow up with the clinic with whatever follow-on care they would need. And we do the same thing for the submarines and the ships. The Navy’s slogan is “World-class health care, anytime, anywhere,” and that is what the Mobile Dental Unit is.
Deployment, for me, was a very enjoyable experience. There was a lot of hard work, a lot of long hours, but you really see how much you impact the Navy. To make sure that everybody is fit to fight is a very difficult job. We’ve done over 3,000 missions off of that one carrier. To say that, you know, we’ve potentially saved our shipmate’s lives while they were out there, it’s definitely humbling, just to know that dental is an intricate part of what the Navy is all about.