White Sands Missile Range Community
Team Shaw’s pearly whites
Story by SrA Ashley Maldonado-Suarez on 01/15/2019
Ensuring the dental health of more than 7,600 military members is no walk in the park, but is accomplished daily by 43 Airmen.
The Airmen of the 20th Dental Squadron ensure Airmen are deployable by optimizing dental readiness through safe, quality care.
“We do have those times or months where we’ve done dental exam surges, where we are just seeing exams,” Senior Airman Apryl-Len Cabase, 20th DS dental technician. “We’ll have two assistants per doctor, and exams going on at the same time. It’s like a race to get them done. We do that from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., which is about 120 patients a day. We’ll be scavenging to get everybody deployable, but it’s what we have to do.”
On a normal day, these Airmen report around 6:45 a.m., get out of their Airman Battle Uniforms and “scrub in,” then sterilize and set up the entire dental treatment room for the first surgery of the day, said Airman 1st Class Alyssa Bishofsky, 20th DS dental technician.
The 20th DS Airmen serve, not only Team Shaw Airmen, but their families, Team Shaw mission partners and Air National Guard members as well.
“There are ups to the job, like Dental Children’s Month, which is in February,” Cabase said. “We go to the CDC, and schools on and off base to talk to children about dental hygiene.”
Being able to spread this knowledge to Team Shaw and their family members is another way to ensure their health and readiness.
“We make sure Airmen are deployable and their dental class stays within the Air Force readiness regulations,” said Cabase. “We bring the bite to the fight.”