JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
The readiness and customer service ratings at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Dental Clinic consistently exceed Air Force goals, a testament to the dedication and tireless work of the clinic's staff.
This week, some 20 members of the staff were in the spotlight as the 359th Aerospace-Medicine Squadron's dentists honored them during Dental Ancillary Staff Appreciation Week.
"This was an opportunity to give special thanks to the active-duty and civilian dental assistants for making the clinic work," Maj. (Dr.) Amy Schultz, 359th AMDS Periodontics chief, said. "This was a way of showing them we're only as good as we are because of their contributions and efforts."
Maj. (Dr.) David Dennison, 359th AMDS Clinical Element officer in charge, called the ancillary staff "the unsung heroes of our dental clinic.
"Without their support, our clinic could not operate and provide the high standard of care we seek to provide for our patients," he said. "Although we appreciate their professionalism on a daily basis, it was a wonderful opportunity to honor them during the Dental Ancillary Staff Appreciation Week."
Special events of the week included breakfast Tuesday and lunch Wednesday, with both meals served by the clinic's dentists. The week concluded with an ice cream social today.
"The dentists showed appreciation in their own way," Schultz said. "Some doctors brought doughnuts, blueberry muffins and other snacks."
The dental clinic's ancillary staff comprises of three hygienists, two senior dental technicians, nine dental assistants and two lab technicians, Schultz said. In addition, two staff members are assigned to the front desk.
Hygienists, who have advanced training and have completed formal training, are licensed by a state, Schultz said. They clean all surfaces of the teeth and below the gum line. They also take radiographics and provide patient education.
Dental prophy technicians are trained to clean teeth above the gum line, she said.
Dental assistants help dentists assist with dental procedures, which range from restorations, crowns, and root canals to surgery and implants; they also set up and clean rooms, schedule patients, take X-ray and make impressions.
Lab technicians are responsible for fabricating dental prostheses, crowns, bridges and hard night guards.
Schultz said one of the lab technicians, Mark Keaton, has expertise in fabricating implant crowns, so that work does not have to be referred to another lab.
The dental flight's clinical and support NCO in charge, Master Sgt. Stacy Robinson, leads the dental supply effort, Schultz said.
"She is in charge of ordering supplies, stocking items and ensuring the clinic is fully functional," she said. "She is also in charge of scheduling and is responsible for the daily operations within the clinic."
Another aspect of dental supply is the dental instrument processing center, supported by dental assistants, where instruments are sterilized and packaged for continued use, Schultz said.
"The staff members assigned to the front desk pull all the records and patient charts, manage administrative paperwork, check in patients and answer the phone," she said. "They're responsible for a lot of our good customer satisfaction."
Master Sgt. Rebecca Conde, 359th AMDS senior functional manager, assists Lt. Col. James Kutner, 359th AMDS Dental Flight commander, with the flight's administrative responsibilities.
Schultz said the dental ancillary staff "definitely deserves" recognition.
"We have a great clinic here, with really great numbers," she said. "They make the clinic work."