Wing prioritizes dental readiness, augments 442d MDS with civilian dental team for first time
By Staff Sgt. Melissa Sterling, 442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2019
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- For the first time in wing history, a civilian dental team augmented the 442d Medical Squadron to help complete dental screenings on September 15.
“One of the wing commander’s priorities is individual medical readiness,” said Col. Patrick Barger, the 442d MDS commander. “We saw a growing number of people who were unable to see our own dental staff.”
Currently, the dental staff only has one dentist for the more than 1,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen that drill at Whiteman.
Senior Master Sgt. Tisha Good, the 442d MDS Superintendent of Aerospace Medicine, reached out to Air Force Reserve Command to request an outside resource that could help improve unit dental readiness.
“I emailed our AFRC Aerospace Medicine chief and he sent our request to the Defense Health Agency,” Good said. “Once DHA approved it, then the Logistics Health Incorporate helped us find a team to do the dental screenings.”
DHA sets the standards and procedures of all military health systems, and they can provide resources for units to help meet their medical readiness. In this case, DHA contracted a civilian dentist team to augment the 442d through LHI.
“We come in and we take X-rays, the doctor sees you, we do your exam and then we upload it to your medical profile,” said Susan Graham, a dental lead with Great Lakes Dental USA. “On average, we can see 20-25 patients per hour.”
Great Lakes Dental USA provided a four-person team consisting of a dental lead, technician, assistant and a doctor.
Before the team arrived, the wing barely missed the Air Force’s 80% minimum dental readiness across all personnel. Good hopes that this visit pushed the wing above that standard.
“Of the 75 people who were scheduled to see the team, 43 people showed up and about 20 people accomplished their dental readiness requirements through the DD Form 2813,” Good said.
Members are required to have their civilian dentist complete a DD Form 2813 Department of Defense Dental Examination form to meet their readiness requirement. Every three years, members are required to see the military dentist.
“It’s a tremendous resource for us to be able to draw from, but we certainly don’t want to become dependent upon it,” Barger said. “It depends on our changing needs and since it is available if we need to draw from it again, we will.”