"Smile Big"

  • Published
  • By A1C Christopher Callaway
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
When an Airman receives orders to deploy, they are handed a "to-do" list to make sure everything is ready for an extended time away from home. The list goes through anything from making sure their will is written or if they have a care plan for their family.

But in their haste to get qualified, forgetting something as seemingly routine as a dental appointment could be the ultimate factor in whether or not you deploy.

"Because we are Air Force Special Operations Command, our readiness class is very important," said Senior Airman Angela Tasillo, a dental technician of 1st Special Operations Dental Squadron. "Getting everyone in for their annual exam and making sure they do not have anything that could affect them down range is our main mission."

Having earned the AFSOC Medium-Sized Dental Clinic of the Year in 2012, the 1st SODS wants Hurlburt Airmen to feel comfortable and understand they want to help them be mission-ready quickly and efficiently.

"We are not here to hurt you or make you scared to go to the dentist," Tasillo said, who specializes in prosthodontics. "You guys are the ones that bite our fingers, not the other way around."

Poor dental hygiene, such as impacted wisdom teeth or cavities, is categorized as a class three-issue and may get an Airman sent home or kept from a potential deployment. If categorized as a class three, Airmen are placed on a high priority, and the clinic makes a point to get them in quickly to keep their slot.

"We only have a short time to see them," said Capt. AnnMarie Moshos, a general dentist of 1st SODS. "Most patients we see have a limited time before there on their way out the door again."

So as special operations Airmen prepare for contingencies around the globe, the 1st SODS will continue to support them by "putting the bite in the fight."

"If you are a pilot with pressure changes, you could have shooting pain from a cavity that went untreated and could lose focus," Moshos said. "That's what we want to avoid. We don't want something that could have been prevented putting you and your whole squadron into harm's way."

For more information about the clinic or to schedule an appointment, call 883-8600.