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Changes to dental squadron, support for families, retirees

Man in scrubs sanitizes dental equipment

Shawn Hamilton, 375th Dental Squadron dental instrument processing center tech, sanitizes dental instruments on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, July 13, 2021. The 375th DS supports 5000 active duty service members at Scott AFB, allowing troops to be deployed to execute the mission of rapid global mobility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mark Sulaica

dental technician creates a mold

U.S Air Force Airman 1st Class Neil Palbusa, 375th Dental Squadron dental laboratory technician, creates a mold on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, July 13, 2021. The 375th DS Airmen provided assistance to dental residents at Scott AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mark Sulaica)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, IL - On July 29 the 375th Dental Squadron will deactivate and will no longer be able to provide care for family member and retiree patients. The 375th DS will continue to operate as a flight under the 375th Operation Medical Readiness Squadron providing active-duty members with continued dental treatment.

“For the last 50 years Scott has supported a large number of retirees and family members,” said Tech Sgt. Derek Finster, 375th Dental Squadron superintendent. “When the residency closes, we will move to a troop clinic only.”

Family members and retirees will need to enroll through their Tricare dental program to be able to access dentists in the civilian sector. Dental care for active-duty members will remain at Bldg.1535 as they continue to operate as a part of the 375th OMRS. 

“We still have an endodontist, periodontist, and we still have an oral surgeon. The only thing we will be losing is providing orthodontic treatment," said Finster.  

The Dental Squadrons' inactivation also coincides with the end of the dental residency program at Scott Air Force Base, with the last class graduating from the Dental Program this month.

“The residency program is closing due to a strategic decision that was made by the Air Force Dental Service,” said Staff Sgt. Haily Lawerence, 375th DS flight chief, “There needed to be changes made to reduce officers and enlisted authorization in dental across the board. With the reduction,  the Advanced Education in General Dentistry-1 program was evaluated and it was decided it would be closed after the 2020-2021 class.”