Army Dentists Offer Guidance to Iraqi Counterparts

By Pfc. Christopher M. Gaylord

13th Public Affairs Detachment

The 307th Medical Company - Dental Services conducted Dental Continuing Education Courses for local Iraqi and Army dentists at the Joint Visitors Bureau Hotel Wednesday.

The presentation was the sixth one given since the 307th Med. Co., which provides combat dental support services to the southern half of Iraq, arrived in theater in September.

"We came the first of September and started the education that month," said Col. Terry R. Schmunk, commander, 307th Med. Co.. "The attendees are all licensed U.S. and Iraqi dentists. We've also had dentists from Iraqi and coalition forces attend."

The courses are monthly and have covered pediatrics, root canals, medical emergencies in the dental office, dental prosthesis and partials, forensic dentistry, traumatic face and teeth injuries, and cosmetic dentistry, Schmunk said.

Wednesday's lectures covered how to handle different traumatic injuries to teeth and how to preserve the teeth. They also covered techniques of using files in a particular sequence of sizes during a root canal.

"We're trying to teach them what our current training in the Army is," said Maj. Gary W. Stone, Deputy Chief of Clinical Services, 673rd Medical Company. "They're learning more cutting edge techniques; things that are faster, treatment wise. Army training is certainly state-of-the-art training."

Stone attended the course in January at Al Faw Palace and was invited by the 307th Med. Co. to present the two lectures for this month.

"The lectures are very educational," said Wassan Louis, who graduated from dental school at Baghdad University three years ago and has attended the last three presentations.

Overall, the courses are beneficial because they give Iraqi dentists something to bring back to their own medical facilities

"We've been able to share our techniques with them and they've been able to share theirs with us," Schmunk said. "It's been a real honor and privilege to rub shoulders with my Iraqi counterparts."

"We couldn't have done it without the support of Task Force 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion and Task Force 62nd Medical Brigade," Schmunk, who's unit is leaving shortly, said. "We want them to continue what we've started."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16