The 48th Dental Squadron " You smile because we care"
By Airman 1st Class Kris Levasseur, 48 FW Public Affairs
/ Published February 06, 2007
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Cracked teeth, root canals, wisdom teeth removals and cleaning; when RAF Lakenheath's Airmen need dental work, they go to the 48th Dental Squadron.
The 48th DS is the second largest dental clinic in United States Air Forces in Europe, servicing more than 23,000 active duty and family members from the 48th Fighter Wing and the 100th Air Refueling Wing.
According to Capt. Brian Alent, 48th DS general dentist, oral health is a part of the overall health of an Airman; it directly contributes to mission readiness.
"It's critical to the mission to make sure Airmen don't have oral infections or other problems while they are deployed or just performing daily duties," said Captain Alent.
The dental squadron fixes dental issues from cavities to crowns to keep our Airmen fit to fight. During the duty day, the dental clinic uses a triage system.
"We see a multitude of problems during the duty day from simple consults to extreme pain. The triage doctor decides who needs to be seen immediately and who can wait for an appointment," said Captain Alent.
According to Maj. Kurtis Kobes, 48th Dental Squadron general dentist, some people put off coming in to the dental clinic until the problem becomes serious. "Many of the problems we see for emergencies are issues that could have been resolved earlier," said Major Kobes.
During non-duty hours, people with dental emergencies should go to the emergency room. The emergency room will then contact the on-call dentist.
To help guarantee the 48th DS is able to run smoothly, the 48th DS has four flights; the dental clinic, dental support, the dental laboratory and the dental clinic on RAF Mildenhall. Each flight works together to provide care to Airman and their families.
The personnel of the 48th DS are afforded many opportunities for training. "On the job training is a big part of how we are trained. Before I practiced on my own, I did a year of residency which I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do as a civilian dentist," said Captain Alent.
To ensure the dental squadron maintains a high level of customer satisfaction and efficient care the dental clinic set four major goals: -To have a dental ready force, maintaining 95% of RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall's personnel in a dental deployable status.
-To have a ready dental force by ensuring 48th DS personnel are up-to-date on training.
-To optimize patients oral health and customer satisfaction.
-To provide a positive environment for the staff.
The 48th Dental Squadron makes going to the dentist less stressful by meeting and exceeding their goals. The professional staff and welcoming environment keep the Airmen of the 48th Fighter Wing smiling and ready to deploy.