Helping our allies smile

A military dentist examines the teeth of a soldier.
Northern Iraq. November 19, 2016 – A Canadian Armed Forces Dentist examines the teeth of a US Army member during Operation IMPACT in Northern Iraq. (Photo: Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)


By: Captain Matt Zalot, Public Affairs Officer, Joint Task Force Iraq Detachment Erbil (JTF-I Erbil)

Operation IMPACT’s Mobile Dental Clinic (MDC) is a small but effective organization, dealing with Canadian and international patients suffering from a wide range of dental conditions. The two-person MDC is part of the coalition Role 2 medical facility, based near Erbil, Iraq.

The Dental Officer has a valuable role in assisting Coalition soldiers needing emergency dental attention.

“You see people here that would have to go back home and receive care,” he says. “It is nice to be able to help other nations and ensure they receive good, quality dental care.”

Each day, soldiers with minor dental emergencies (such as chipped teeth and fillings) and more serious maladies present themselves at his office. Broken fillings, infections, root canals, wisdom teeth extractions, severely broken crowns—he’s seen them all since arriving in Iraq in October 2016. Working with a dental assistant, he tackles many challenging cases on a typical day at the Coalition camp near Erbil.

“When you are in a one-of-one role you cannot refer the patient to anyone else,” the Dental Officer said. “So it is a clear advantage to be able to perform a wide scope of treatment modalities as dictated by the patient’s condition.”

The MDC and the Role 2 medical facility provide a valuable service to all of the Coalition and foreign patients they serve. In addition to the dental capability, the medical facility includes the following services: resuscitation, damage control surgery, intensive care support, diagnostic imaging, a medical lab, and an intermediate care ward. Deployed soldiers of all nations can be assured that their health and welfare will be in good hands due to a high standard of Canadian care.

Operation IMPACT is the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to the international Coalition to degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh.

Image gallery

  • A military dental assistant prepares tools to be sanitized.
  • A military dentist examines the teeth of a soldier.
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