Approximately 26 military dental officers from 10 countries attended a deployed dental readiness workshop hosted by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Office of the Command Surgeon, March 25-29, on Ramstein Air Base.
Dental officers from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, and the United States, attended the workshop, which focused on dental readiness, standardizing skillsets, and improving interoperability in deployed locations.
“Dental readiness is a key component of medical readiness,” said Maj. Jonathan Harmon, USAFE-AFAFRICA Office of the Command Surgeon international health specialist.
“Dental emergencies are a common reason for military personnel to return early from deployments. This is not only costly, but it disrupts the mission at hand. Additionally, dental pain can be an unwelcome distraction in an environment that is already stressful. This event highlights the need to prepare troops and dental professionals for deployment.”
The event is the first of its kind and synchronized efforts to adhere to NATO standards with regards to dental readiness.
“Oral health care is organized differently among NATO countries, Partnership for Peace nations, and allies,” said Harmon.
With this workshop, the multitude of dentists were taught standard dental steps to further the capability of military dental readiness.
“The dentists have been taught what to expect as a deployed oral health care provider and were given additional knowledge and skills that can be employed in austere locations,” said Harmon.
Members of the 86th Dental Squadron gave the dental officers a tour of the facilities on Ramstein to show the amount of staff and equipment required to keep the U.S. Air Force members ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
“This information can now be shared with other professionals and medical leaders within their country to improve the oral health of military personnel,” said Harmon. “The workshop has also established a stronger network among the participating dentists which will be leveraged to collaborate for future events.”