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Medical Services in New Zealand and The Pacific

X: Dental Services

X: Dental Services

For some years prior to 1939 the Director of Dental Services (Army) was directly under the Adjutant-General. After protracted negotiations it was decided by the Adjutant-General on the recommendations of the Director of Medical Services that the Dental Service, as a specialised surgical unit, should once more become part of the New Zealand Medical Corps, under the Director-General of Medical Services, although still retaining its previous organisation. This arrangement was in line with what obtained in Great Britain and Australia. The position, however, was such that the DDS still had approach to the Adjutant-General, to the extent even of being page 276 able to arrange for changes in his organisation without prior consultation with, or the approval of, the DGMS. However, the Dental Corps was very efficient in its working in spite of the disagreement in command. The best method of control would seem to be that of placing the Dental Corps under the command of the DGMS but allowing it freedom in its own corps arrangements, as evolved in 2 NZEF in the Middle East.

Prior to the war the Dental Corps consisted of a Director of Dental Services, three assistant directors and six dental officers attached to field ambulances. When war began the DDS (Army and Air), and later an ADDS (Army), were employed on a whole-time basis at Army Headquarters, Wellington, together with an ADDS for each of the Northern and Southern Military Districts, the two latter being part-time officers. The appointments of ADDS in the districts were later abolished.

All dental treatment of recruits was carried out at the expense of the State and in most cases was done after the recruit entered camp. Dental hospitals were established in each of the three main mobilisation camps. Dental sections were attached to various other units.

All camp dental hospitals and dental sections were fully equipped with modern equipment, some of which was manufactured in New Zealand. An Army Dental Store maintained the supplies of expendable stores.

With the First Echelon 4 officers and 12 other ranks of the Dental Corps proceeded overseas, with the Second Echelon 7 officers and 9 other ranks, and with the Third Echelon 12 officers and 30 other ranks. Reinforcements for the Dental Corps proceeded overseas regularly along with reinforcements for other branches of 2 NZEF.