Mobilization operations offer great experience for Fort Stewart dental assistants

Mobilization operations offer great experience for Fort Stewart dental assistants – The Army Goes Rolling Along …

Edith Davis

A new dental clinic now operational for almost two months at Fort Stewart, Georgia is facilitating the dental processing of soldiers mobilizing in support of Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom. Dental Clinic #7 is collocated with the Soldier Readiness Processing Center (SRP), allowing a one-stop shop for all Soldier Readiness Check (SRC) requirements. For the first time in the history of Fort Stewart, a digital radiography system has been implemented to expedite the processing of panoramic X-rays for the mobilizing soldiers. The Fort Stewart dental assistants are receiving incredible experience as they open the new clinic and implement the new digital radiography technology.

The staffing of the dental assistant team at the clinic consists of four Active Duty and five Army Reserve soldiers who have recently been called to active duty. Upon activation, the soldiers of the 7224th Medical Support Unit were fully integrated into the Fort Stewart Dental Activity (DENTAC) team and have made a tremendous impact on the efficiency of the mobilization operations. SPC Powell of the 7224th stated that, “The active duty dental assistants have been working as a team and have been very helpful in orienting us to the active Army side of life.” SGT Edwards, who serves as a dental assistant and X-ray technician at the site, feels that the DENTAC has greatly benefited from the augmentation. He has been extremely impressed with the speed and quality of dental care afforded to the mobilizing soldiers.

Under the direction of SSG Adrian Tucker, the Noncommissioned Officer-In-Charge of the clinic, all of the dental assistants are given the opportunity to work in multiple facets of the dental SRC process. All of the assistants received initial training on the operation and capabilities of the new direct digital X-ray equipment. As the subject matter expert, SSG Tucker initially provided on-the-job training to all dental assistants and dentists. Now after almost two months of experience, members of the regular clinic staff have the capability to train any newcomers on the digital radiography procedures.

The process flow for the SRP site is initiated with a briefing for all mobilizing soldiers. The mobilizing soldiers are instructed in the proper method of completing and updating their dental record and medical history form. It takes approximately 5-7 minutes to complete the dental portion of the SRC briefing. 110-120 personnel are briefed at one time.

Following the briefing, soldiers are segregated into two groups: those assigned for dental processing and those assigned to the remainder of the SRC stations. All personnel assigned to the dental processing station are seated in the bleachers outside the dental area. Once all mobilizing personnel are in place, the first group enters the flow for dental processing. Eight patients may be seated for exams at any given time. Those soldiers requiring X-rays are sent to the Pano room adjacent to the exam room. All personal data for each patient is meticulously tracked with an automated database tailored for the mobilization process.

As a soldier moves into the X-ray room, the system locates the soldier’s personal data. Then the soldier is properly positioned, and the X-ray taken. Immediately upon taking the X-ray, the image appears on the computer screen and is checked by the x-ray technician. The image is automatically saved and also transferred to a screen in the exam room. The soldier then moves to the exam room and the assistant at the workstation can immediately access the digital X-ray and print the image onto a transparency for the dentist’s use and placement in the soldier’s records. The dentist then exams the soldier and determines whether the dental health is adequate for deployment. The soldier is then released to complete his other SRC tasks required for deployment.

The digital radiography system greatly enhances the efficiency of the dental SRP process. The goal of the DENTAC is to provide quick, accurate, and efficient service to the great numbers of mobilizing units that are processed at Fort Stewart. The dental assistants working with the new digital technology are the critical link in this mobilization process. All have adapted well to this new digital environment, and the efficient soldier processing proves their success. The Fort Stewart DENTAC military dental assistant team is providing exceptional service to America’s Army as they go above and beyond to ensure the dental readiness of the soldiers. All mobilizing soldiers receive first class dental care due to the teamwork, expertise, initiative, and versatility of these dental assistants, all of whom are proud members of the American Dental Assistants Association.

Proud to be an American!!


Thought you might be interested in the experience of a Flight Attendant. Whether you believe in the war or not, I hope you will respect the lives of those who risk their lives to serve and protect our country. Today we have many Dental Assistants (ADAA Members) recently deployed overseas to serve and protect our great country. Hooah!

SGM Stephen E. Spadaro

United States Army Dental Command

From a Flight Attendant Dear Friends:

I have just returned from doing a small part in our efforts against world conflict. Just got home early from Frankfurt after having picked up a planeload of troops in Alexandria LA and taking them one leg of their trip…. onward. They had just gotten word 24 hours earlier that full alert was “on” and they were getting ready to be transported.

We arrived in Alexandria on the military airfield in our 777, and the busses were waiting. The troops started to appear from the busses and they were all dressed in their desert uniforms. They looked so clean! Everything was new, including the weapons. Every soldier had weapons, and some had knives hanging off their belts, too. They were young and handsome.

We were told that all weapons were unloaded, and that all the ammo was in the belly. Upon arrival at their destination, they would be given ammo, and they were on full alert and active duty as of the moment of landing at their destination. They had camel packs on their backs, too, and we were told that each soldier had 2 liters of water in those. Each soldier was also given 3 K ration packages to get them through the journey. (We fed and watered them with a good meal and lots of soft drinks, too.)

First class was filled with the rank, and also some very young men and women. We figured it out fast … they had won a prize … and another right guess…. they were all sharpshooters. Business class was filled with the best of the sharpshooters, too. Even though all got the same food and the same service, these soldiers were thrilled to be in a big seat on an airliner, and they kidded each other about getting to sit in the better cabins. Camaraderie filled the air in every cabin and there was lots of intermingling as they explored who got what, and how wonderful it was to be transported on an airliner with a crew and service!

I never heard so many people say m’am in my life. They treated us with respect, and boy, we treated them that way, too. We couldn’t do enough for them. “No,” was not in our vocabulary! If we had it … they got it. Without exception, all the crew felt the same way. We all felt that it was a great honor to be able to participate in getting these troops over there. Some of the flight crew had to step into the lavs and cry occasionally. I had a lump in my throat the entire flight. I was proud to be part of this…. so proud!

We stepped over guns, we served cokes, we listened to stories, we served a meal, and then the soldiers took over. They got out in the aisle in their desert uniforms and passed out water and candy. They seemed to get a charge out of taking over from us, and maybe they had an ulterior motive, too, because those guys got every crumb of extra food that we had. They were young men and they were hungry! I could go on and on about some of the stories I heard, but I will just close by saying that when we landed, we all had tears. A few of the guys walked out the door with, “would you mind kissing me, m’am?” My response was, “You bet I’ll kiss you.” I put lots of lipstick on lots of cheeks, and the guys just grinned

The pride in country and uniform is overwhelming in a situation like this. I remember my Dad, the three wars he fought in, the pride with which he wore his uniform, his patriotism, his absolute belief that the United States was worth giving your life for, and that he survived it all.

God Bless America. I am so grateful to have been able to do something … anything … for our boys and girls, too. Lets hope against all hope that every single one of them comes home to their families.

Sergeant First Class Edith Davis, United States Army has served over 21 years in the Army Dental Corps. She is currently the First Sergeant for the Fort Stewart (GA) Dental Activity.

Specialist Tieshia Daniels, United States Army Reserves, was recently called to active duty from the 7224th Medical Support Unit, Charleston, SC. She is currently providing administrative support to the Dental Activity. Prior to her call up she was working as a Mental Health Therapist in South Carolina.

COPYRIGHT 2003 American Dental Assistants Association

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group