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Dental clinic keeps deployers in fight

Col. Mike Webb, 380th EMDG comprehensive dentist, and Master Sgt. Audrey Hernandez, 380th EMDG dental technician, performs a dental exam, Jan. 30, 2019, at Al Dhafra Air Vase, United Arab Emirates.

Col. Mike Webb, 380th Expeditionary Medical Group comprehensive dentist, and Master Sgt. Audrey Hernandez, 380th EMDG dental technician, performs a dental exam, Jan. 30, 2019, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. This two-person staff provides dental care and relief to all of ADAB’s deployed members. They ensure sterilization of all instruments used in the 380th EMDG facility and certify the safety of practicing each procedure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Master Sgt. Audrey Hernandez, 380th EMDG dental technician, discusses brushing techniques, Jan. 30, 2019, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

Master Sgt. Audrey Hernandez, 380th Expeditionary Medical Group dental technician, discusses brushing techniques, Jan. 30, 2019, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. The dental team provides dental readiness exams for permanent party and 365-day deployers, along with emergency treatment for uncontrolled pain, swelling, sensitivity and broken teeth or fillings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates -- Whenever a member suffers from dental problems, his or her ability to perform the mission is affected. To prevent this, the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group’s dental clinic at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, analyzes and treats the problem.

The dental team is comprised of Col. Mike Webb and Master Sgt. Audrey Hernandez who provides dental readiness exams for permanent party and 365-day deployers, along with emergency treatment for uncontrolled pain, swelling, sensitivity and broken teeth or fillings.

“Our overall mission is to prevent, support and deliver safe and expedited dental treatment to ADAB members and return our warfighters to their missions,” said Master Sgt. Audrey Hernandez, 380th EMDG dental technician.

This two-person staff ensures sterilization of all instruments used in the 380th EMDG facility and certify the safety of practicing each procedure.

“If a member is experiencing a dental-related issue, we treat them so they can be returned to duty as soon as possible,” said Col. Mike Webb, 380th EMDG comprehensive dentist. “We take care of the human weapon system, so they in turn can accomplish their mission.”

Operating in a deployed environment, however, they cannot provide every service offered at member’s home stations.

“One of the most popular questions that we get asked on a day-to-day basis is do we do teeth whitening and can I get braces here,” added Hernandez. “Unfortunately, those services cannot be offered in the Area of Responsibility.

Whether it’s severe or minor pain, the dental clinic is here to get members focused on the mission.

“Dental pain has been described as one of the worst types of pain that a person has dealt with,” added Hernandez. “If someone is experiencing dental pain, they are not able to focus 100% on their mission. We are here to help!”

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