Can I Have Braces In The Military?

Can I Have Braces In The MilitaryCan I have Braces in the Military? Over the years, I’ve had to answer this question hundreds of times and unfortunately the answer is extremely complicated. For a wide variety of reasons, young Americans are in need of extreme orthodontic care to correct oral deficiencies or to improve their smile.

We can’t control genetics. Some of us are cursed, with pearly yellow, mishappen, and crooked teeth. We are uncomfortable smiling because we’re embarrassed by the state of our “Grillz.”

Naturally, for those of us who are able we view braces as a means to an end. Getting braces is a painful and expensive progress, and I would hate for anyone to waste time or monetary resources trying to get them and can’t fully see the process through completion.

While this is a relatively simple procedure, the short answer is No, while the long response is Yes.

The answers vary and are dependent on the situation and the status of the service member. It is also different for someone attempting to join the military versus someone preparing for deployment. Over the next 700 words or so, I will try to clarify the specifics on having braces in the military.


Can I Join The Military With Braces

I don’t care how you pose the question, whether it’s can I join the Army with braces or can I enlist in the Navy with braces the answer is still the same.

Yes, you can enlist in the military with braces.

Unfortunately, you can’t ship to initial military training while wearing them.

braces-dd-form-2807-2At some point during your processing, your recruiter will provide you a copy of DD Form 2807-2.

This form is a medical prescreen completed by every single applicant that processes for enlistment. It is used to assess physical eligibility for enlistment, per Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 6130.03, it must be completed by the applicant with the assistance of the recruiter, and parents.

To avoid a “dirty pre-screen,” we have to be concerned with question 20. It asks, “Do you wear dental braces or plan to wear braces,” if it is answered “No,” the applicant can continue processing and ultimately enlist in his/her preferred branch of service. However, if it is answered “Yes,” then we have to take additional steps.

Specifically, an applicant with braces or other orthodontic devices will be allowed to enter the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) if he/she provides a signed letter from their orthodontist that meets the following requirements:

  • Letter must be on orthodontist letterhead
  • Anticipated treatment completion date
  • Planned date of removal for the appliance
  • Explanation that no further treatment is required after removal

So can I join the Military with braces? Yes, so long as you have a letter and they’re removed prior to departing for training.

What about Retainers?

Unlike braces, retainers are different and they’re mostly temporary appliances. Meaning they can be removed from your mouth.

According to USMEPCOM Regulation 40-1:

Permanent or removable retainers are permissible if the applicant is in the retention phase of treatment

Can I Wear Braces In Boot Camp

Another common question that I often receive is “Can I Wear Braces In Boot Camp or Basic Training?” For those of you with headspace and timing issues, I’ll elaborate since you failed to comprehend the first part of this post.

Listen, Basic Training is rough. The last thing you need is a potential injury as a result of rolling during combative’s training or damaging the inside of your mouth after swallowing a pugil stick.

Lastly, we have to consider the hygiene aspect. Every moment of your day will be managed by your Drill Sergeant. You will not have the time or resources to properly upkeep and maintain them over the course of training.




About the Author MSG Washington

MSG Washington has served within the ranks of the United States Army since June of 2001. With ten years of recruiting experience, he is an expert on Recruiting Operations, who willingly assists applicants across the Country with their enlistment process.

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