By Esther GarciaMay 21, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Students from Varnett Elementary, East Campus, Houston, visited Fort Sam Houston May 14 as part of their spring trip to San Antonio.
The rainy weather prevented the students from going to SeaWorld, so they extended their stay visiting the dental clinic at the Army Medical Department Center & School and participating in a scavenger hunt at the post museum.
Sgt. First Class Guillermo Lugo-Beltre, noncommissioned officer for the dental clinic and Staff Sgt. Shannon Mason, assistant NCOIC, welcomed the students and began the tour with a video that described a visit to the dentist and the importance of good dental hygiene.
Following the video, Mason talked about what a Soldier does in the dental field. Mason then invited the students inside the clinic and described the tools a dentist or dental hygienist might use on a patient. The students then had the opportunity to visit the X-ray rooms and view how X-rays are taken and developed in just a few seconds.
Dividing the students into groups, Soldiers attending the Preventive Dentistry Specialist Course came in and demonstrated the proper technique to clean and floss teeth.
When the tour ended, each child received a goodie bag that contained items such as floss, toothbrush and toothpaste as an incentive to practice at home what they learned about preventive dental health measures.
The Preventive Dentistry Specialist Course at AMEDDC&S is 12 weeks long. After Soldiers have completed the seven and a half week dental assisting course, they can return for this course as an "additional skill."
Soldiers learn basic dental prophylaxis - cleaning and polishing. The class provides treatment for retirees and Family members, as well as some active duty, on a space-available basis.
Each class participates in a public health project, going into the community to speak about preventive dental health care.
Following the dental clinic, the students visited the post museum. John Manguso, museum director, greeted the students and provided a brief history of the post. Each student was given a piece of paper with pictures of items located in the museum and then searched the museum for the items.
(Staff Sgt. Shannon Mason contributed to this story)