JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
Even in the midst of a pandemic, dental care remains an important part of staying healthy and remaining mission ready.
Airmen who work in the 628th Medical Group dental clinic have adapted to changes brought on by COVID-19.
Lt. Col. Christopher Jordan, 628 MDG chief of dental services, said they have had to restrict a lot of services and focus on readiness.
“Our main objective is making sure that our active duty patients are ready to deploy and they won't be distracted by their dental needs when they are called to do their mission,” he said.
Jordan highlighted some measures the dental clinic has taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Once we found out that we were going to have to restrict services, we had to split the staff into two different teams and limit our time in patient care and only handle emergency and urgent care,” he said..
Jordan believes that the Airmen who work in the dental clinic adapted well to the changes which had to happen due to the pandemic.
“I think they understand that all the things we've had to do have been a protection both for our staff and for our patients,” he said. “We don't want anybody winding up contracting the virus because of anything that we did. If you are having dental pain, we want to address that and we want to do it safely.”
Jordan added that the Airmen who work in the dental clinic are doing more than expected of them at this time in order to help the medical group run smoothly.
“The Airmen have had a lot of attention to detail and they have been involved in helping out with screening the patients when entering the building,” he explained. “They have been really attentive to sterilization techniques as well. Our dental clinic has a section where we sterilize all the instruments in the med group and they have been very methodical and detail oriented when it comes to that.”
Jordan said the dental clinic is beginning to take steps to return to normal operations.
“I think we are going to gradually get back to providing more and more services,” said Jordan. “There is a lot of demand and a lot of discussion about how we get back to some of the more routine stuff like cleanings and we are working through that. As we progress and adjust, we are getting systems built in and we are getting more equipment to address those risks, and I think once we have those protections in place we will be able to mitigate that risk.”
Jordan believes that it is important that the dental clinic remains operational at this time.
“If you have a toothache or infection or you're having any type of tooth pain, that is going to detract from your quality of life or your daily operations,” said Jordan. “If you're trying to focus on your job and somethings not right, it is going to be very difficult for you to be highly effective in your unit. We are here for you”