The Marine Corps has made it a common practice to remove wisdom teeth during boot camp. While every situation is different, the reasons are usually the same.
Recruit training already has scheduled days for dental visits to assess a recruits teeth, and then conduct any dental procedures that need to be done. Not every recruit will have their wisdom teeth removed. If the dentist believes that a future problem is possible they'll usually take that next step and remove them.
The Marine Corps would prefer that, if necessary, a Marine has their wisdom teeth removed while they are still recruits so that any future training is not interrupted. Once boot camp is over the training becomes more and more crucial to the success of every mission.
MarineParents.com Founder and executive director, Tracy Della Vecchia, has told a story of her son, Derrick, getting his wisdom teeth removed while he was in the Marine Corps. Only, Derrick's wisdom teeth weren't removed during boot camp. His unit was in Japan conducting training when his were removed. Soon after, the unit got the call that they were going to Iraq. Derrick sat on the plane with bloody rags in his mouth and spent his first few days in combat healing. There are many stories out there just like this one. So if your recruit has to get their wisdom teeth removed in boot camp, be thankful; it's much better than on deployment.
Recruits aren't often given a choice, but if they are in this scenario, we recommend they have their wisdom teeth removed during boot camp or sooner if possible.
Written by David Ogden, Sgt. USMC '11-'16.
David was a Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps from 2011-2016. He is a combat veteran. He has worked at Marine Parents as a writer since he left the Marine Corps. He is currently in college and writes for the organization full-time. Click here to read more about the author.