Dental Flight preserves Mustang readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

When military members experience dental problems, their ability to execute the mission is affected. To combat mission stoppage, the 51st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron dental flight takes action to treat and prevent oral and tooth-related obstacles here at Osan Air Base.

The dental flight is a key component to maintaining readiness at the most forward deployed U.S. Air Force base located within the Korean peninsula. They boast a multitude of services to include prosthodontics, periodontics, preventative and operative dentistry, endodontics and oral surgery.

“We're the biggest flight within the 51st Medical Group,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Won-ill Chung, 51st OMRS dental flight chief of dental services. “We have about 45 members total, including three Korean National civilians who work with the front desk and one local oral surgeon.”

Among the many sections within the dental flight, their lab offers on-site solutions to problems that require more attention.

“We make sure Airmen on base are deployable,” said Senior Airman Tristan Karalash, 51st OMRS dental flight lab technician. “We process what a patient needs in terms of a physical appliance.”

Equipped with 3-D printing, mold casting and detailed computer scanning, the dental flight is capable of creating crowns, implants and nightguards to further assist with dental care.

The lab offers speedy solutions to maintain the 51st Fighter Wing’s dental readiness goal, and as such, readiness is one of the top priorities within the dental flight.

“We are very much focused on the 51st Fighter Wing’s dental readiness goal,” explained Chung. “The Air Force goal is for 95% of Airmen to be ready to deploy at any point. If a member has severe dental problems, they can’t be deployed. “We make sure that we meet that mission. We've been above 98% readiness for the longest time.”

 Along with providing a multitude of dental services, the dental flight is revolutionizing its patient file management system by integrating with the Military Health System GENESIS. MHS GENESIS will provide paperless patient health record services as well as a patient portal to book appointments and expedite medical file retrieval

“We've been working hard to make sure we're all trained up, ready to go,” said Chung. “There'll be more flexibility in terms of options, especially for patients. Dental has been separate from the 51st Medical Group in terms of file management, but once MHS GENESIS rolls in, we'll finally be able to join the MDG as a whole.”