Dental squadron provides world-class care to a thousand basic cadets

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Zach Vaughn
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications

Among the chaos of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s basic cadet training, there’s only one place where the more than a thousand basic cadets can smile, the dental clinic.

Starting Off

A team of officers and enlisted Airmen at the Academy’s Cadet Dental Clinic created military dental records for the men and women belonging to the Class of 2027 from July 6-14, initiating the digital dental record that will follow them for the rest of their military careers.

“Dental in-processing is one of our priorities to support the Academy’s mission,” said Capt. Sahar Saremifard, 10th Medical Group dentist and officer-in-charge of cadet in-processing. “Serving such a large number of basic cadets required so much organization and strategic planning.”

Saremifard led in-processing for the dental team which consisted of 75 service members at the Academy’s Cadet Dental Clinic. The team included Dentists, Dental Assistants and Dental Lab Technicians who conducted x-rays, exams and mouth guard deliveries.  

“It’s very rewarding to provide comprehensive dentistry to ensure wartime readiness and to optimize the health and wellness of current and future air and space leaders,” said Saremifard. “Our goal was to make this year’s in-processing more efficient, and we made great strides in that direction.”

All Hands on Deck

Saremifard developed an administrative document which provided a step-by-step checklist for her team to categorize and collect all necessary information, streamlining the overall process. Her team also established new x-ray stations reducing patient wait time.

“It was all hands on deck for us,” said Staff Sgt. Thalia Lupercio, 10th Medical Group dental assistant. “My commander was doing exams with me and everyone was involved which made the process easier.”

During in-processing, the evaluating dentist classifies each basic cadet into an appropriate catergory that signifies the basic cadet’s readiness. Class one means they’re deployable. Class two shows that the basic cadet will eventually need dental treatment and class three means that the service member’s condition will result in an emergency within 12 months, according to Lupercio.

“The most important things for us are to document existing dental restorations, existing dental needs that could impact the cadet’s training and education, and to prioritize treatment,” said Col. Clifton Bailey, 10th Dental Squadron commander. “Ultimately, our job is to keep cadets in class and help them graduate on time.”

Dental lab technicians fitted each basic cadet with a mouth guard at the final station as a prevention tool before the next training phase. 

After seven duty days and serving more than a thousand patients, the dental team will begin prioritizing the basic cadets who need the most urgent care to increase their readiness and chances of success at the Academy, according to Bailey.

The basic cadets continue their training at Jacks Valley, the Academy’s robust field training area, this month.