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NEWS | May 9, 2017

Dental professionals continue education

By Airman 1st Class Kevin West Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 628th Medical Group and 20th Medical Group, from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., came together to discuss implantology and periodontics as part of an annual Continuing Education Dental Conference here, May 4.


The goal of including dental units from other installations was to maximize the impact of the conference.


“We were excited for the 20th Medical Group to attend from Shaw, because some of us from Charleston attended a CE course at Shaw last year,” said Capt. Matthew Burns, 628th MDG dentist. “Our hope is to continue to engage with local bases and pool our CE resources to maximize our learning opportunities.”


The dental conference served as a forum to discuss growing trends and the way ahead for the Air Force dental community. Topics focused primarily on dental implants and procedures for treating potential complications that may arise after a procedure. Knowledgeable speakers with years of experience in the matter addressed the subject.


Burns saw value in talks given by Col. Chol Chong, 59th Dental Training Squadron Periodontics Residency Program director, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. In Chong’s address, diagnosis and treatment procedures of peri-implant inflammatory conditions was at the forefront, a subject Burns found increasingly important in the Air Force.


“We wanted to focus on implants because we are seeing more and more of them in the dental field,” said Burns. “We brought in our expert to provide some instruction. Continuing education is mission critical because we’re seeing more implants creating [issues for Airmen deploying]. We are excited to have him and learn more about a quickly changing field.”  


Speaking at the event U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Roosevelt Allen, Dental Corps chief, discussed various topics including Air Force medicine’s mission of, “Trusted care anywhere”.


“Wherever we deliver healthcare the expectation is that it is reliable, dependable, trustworthy and safe,” said Allen. “This expectation is in our medical centers, dental clinics, in the back of planes or in deployed locations.”


The knowledge and experience shared by leaders in the dental community was appreciated by conference attendees.  

“Having Major General Allen attend was a great honor,” said Burns. “His attendance along with Colonel Chong, really shows how our leadership values continued education in the dental corps.”


For some Airmen, the experience not only provided a way to talk about emerging issues and provided a stronger perspective in what is to be expected in the future.


“The conference was a great success, with a lot of mission-critical education about implants and grafting procedures being delivered from an expert in the field,” said Burns. “Personally, I learned more about potential complications with implants, which, these days, are often be regarded as sure-fire successes. Now I can more readily educate my own patients about the best treatment for them when implants are discussed.”