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Joint and allied forces build brighter smiles

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jonathan R. Sifuentes
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs

Kadena Air Base hosted the 67th Tri-Service Dental Conference, a three-day event led by the 18th Dental Squadron, to allow U.S. and Japanese service members and civilian dentistry workers the opportunity to train, network, educate and teambuild.

“A portion of what we’re teaching dentistry workers is adopting new advancements in dental technology and implementing these innovations to their current operations,” said Mario Ryubal, 59th Dental Squadron master dental ceramist. “Although technological advancements take over parts of dental operations, our job still requires people to be trained and skilled to operate these machines.”

The conference included events such as training with the latest in dental engineering innovation, team building exercises, hands-on joint training, safety, procedural and innovation lectures and discussions regarding the future of the dental industry and work life betterment.

“This is the first time the enlisted have been included in the conference,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Alexandra Hinestroza, 18th Dental Squadron NCO in charge of education and training. “The event was traditionally open to only providers among the Air Force, Army and Navy.”

Events like the Tri-Service Dental Conference enables joint and allied training, critical for improving interoperability and strengthening operational efficiency to meet standards across dental operations around the globe.

“Apart from our squadron participating in base wide exercises, conferences like this allows service members to train in daily operational areas they don’t regularly operate in,” said Hinestroza. “Practicing like this allows our skilled team to share techniques with their coworkers and sister service counterparts in areas others may not get enough training in.”

While dentistry workers aid in the health of patients, getting feedback can be difficult regarding dental processes. However, working with peers and other service members in events like this allows instant feedback from professionals, providing a detailed assessment of where the technician excels or where they can improve.

“The biggest takeaway I want for our Airmen is to gain professional and self improvement from this conference,” said Hinestroza. “I hope the experience they gain from this builds a better experience for themselves and their patients.”