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Dental residents hone their skills at Langley

By Airman 1st Class Kimberly Nagle 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

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With more than 300,000 Airmen stationed around the world, proper dental care is critical to maintaining a capable, mission-ready force.

Fortunately, the U.S. Air Force has a program to help train new dentists to keep Airmen mission ready.

After completing medical school and Air Force Officer Training School, a select few new Air Force dentists will get the opportunity to become a resident at one of 10 possible assignments, through the Advanced Educational General Dentistry program.

At Langley Air Force Base, up to six residents are able to train at the 633rd Dental Squadron, through the one-year program, which provides clinical, in-class and hospital experience at the post-doctoral level.

"The residents use this as an additional training to advance their skills," said U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph Muhlbauer, 633rd Dental Squadron dental residency flight commander. "They also get the opportunity to hone their leadership skills."

The residents train further on anesthesia, pediatric or child dentistry, and receive forensic training.

"They learn a lot more skills [than right out of school]," said Muhlbauer. "[After they complete the training] they are able to go to a smaller base and have the ability to do so much more."

The residents get to work on not only active-duty Service members, but also civilian patients. During each of their rotations, the dentists are supervised by specialists in that field.

"[We] get to learn from specialists and receive advanced training [while in the program]," said Capt. Adam Eichler, AGED resident. "I feel more prepared now than when I first started [the program].

Muhlbauer said the program is a "confidence builder," giving residents an extra year of education and exposure to more complicated dental work.