MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
The main mission of the 5th Medical Operations Squadron dental flight is to support a healthy population of war-fighters primed for contingency operations across the globe. Dental flight also consists of 40 personnel who provide Airmen with dental care.
The 5th MDOS dental flight performs routine check-ups, limited specialty care, oral surgeries, endodontics, prosthodontics and periodontics.
“We take care of the readiness mission and provide care for our warfighters so they are primed to deploy any time,” said Master Sgt. Rachel Knight, 5th Medical Operations Squadron flight chief.
Dental flight sees an average of 1,400 patients, performs about 4,000 clinical procedures and fabricates an estimated 900 dental prosthesis a month.
“We provide dental support to the 5,500 active duty beneficiaries of Team Minot,” said Knight. “As the dental flight chief I ensure the clinic has all it needs to support our patient population.”
Dental flight is comprised of three main sections: the dental laboratory, clinic and administration.
The dental lab fabricates dental applicants such as night guards, implants and crowns. The clinic side conduct exams, general dentistry, surgeries and fillings. The administrative section orders supplies, man the front desk, in and out-process Airmen and keep track of records.
One Airmen from the dental lab said that he loves creating dental applicants.
“I believe that when you can create a smile for someone with these dental applicants it makes that person feel good,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Casey, 5th MDOS NCO in charge of dental lab. “It makes me feel good that I made something to help someone show off their smile.”
Knight said that active duty Airmen are required to visit annually for check-ups and cleaning.
“Our active duty patients are required to be seen at the clinic,” said Knight. “We want it to be somewhere Airmen would want to go if a choice was given. We strive to provide trusted, safe and comfortable care for our beneficiaries.”
Knight stated that dental flight supports the active duty, guard and reserve members of Team Minot around the clock.
“Tooth pain can be very distracting for personnel as they carry out the mission,” said Knight. “We offer daily sick call appointments and an after-hours on call service to meet the emergent needs of our war-fighters.”
Knight said that dental care is essential for Airmen to have good hygiene and to be mission ready.
“We do a lot of education during our dental appointments to stress the criticality of dental hygiene,” said Knight. “Most dental issues are preventative and could be staved off by proper oral hygiene and diet.”
Knight said the dental flight cares for their Airmen as well as they care for themselves and is there top priority.
“My favorite part about dental is our people,” said Knight. “Everyone here cares about not only our patients, but each other. We are mission focused, patient centered and blessed with many hard working individuals.”
Capt. Andrew Thomasson, 5th Medical Operations Squadron general dentist, is in charge of patient care and is one of nine general dentists in the squadron.
“If you can change somebody’s smile it definitely makes an impact on their lives,” said Thomasson. “Just to see them happy and having the teeth to show it."