JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, .S.C., –
Two 628th Medical Group Airmen from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., graduated from the Trident Technical College dental hygienist program, May 3, 2018.
During the course, Airmen were able to enhance their Air Force training by becoming officially licensed dental hygienists, learning how to administer anesthesia, make teeth molds and advanced dental hygiene techniques. This year’s graduating class will be the last Airmen sent to Trident Tech. for the course as the Air Force will open a school for all Air Force dental technicians in Lackland, TX.,
“The program has been invaluable,” said Master Sgt. Kebony Smith, 628th Aeromedical Squadron dental flight chief. “They’ve been very supportive and we’ve learned a lot from them.”
After learning new skills in the competitive program for two semesters, Airmen come back to their job more prepared skills willing to help their peers and improve their respective clinics.
“Education is an important part of our military careers,” said Smith. “It helps us become better leaders and strengthens our dental clinic while also strengthening our community relations.”
Coming into the Air Force, Airmen are trained to work alongside dentists and dental assistants to help provide patient care in every procedure. The Air Force students who have attended this class were able to expand that skillset and also use their prior experience to assist others attending the program.
“I really enjoyed having the Air Force students,” said Kathy Dickson, Trident Tech. Dental Services department head. “They come wanting to learn and with a purpose. They’re here because they really want to be here."
With future trainings being run by the Air Force, the next wave of students will receive the same training, but in an Air Force learning environment.
“These students are away from Air Force culture for two years during these classes,” said Smith. “Now with the new school opportunity there will be more Air Force oversight to keep them in their military lifestyle.”
The program has provided a mutually beneficial relationship with Joint Base Charleston and Trident Tech., with JB Charleston sending students to take the course and the college sending senior students to learn more about their job at the dental clinic on base.
“We’re very lucky to have had this relationship with Trident and this training opportunity that’s been very fruitful,” said Col. Craig Lambert, 628th Medical Group Commander. “They come out with a skillset that’s highly prized in both the military and civilian sector. It allows us to have even more capabilities at the dental clinic.”