COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. –
More than 150 dental professionals from across the Department of Defense participated in the 2023 Area Dental Laboratory Symposium May 23-25 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Peterson Space Force Base Area Dental Laboratory hosted the symposium, which offered continuing education credits and professional development opportunities for dental technicians and dentists, all in one central location.
“Since 1969, this laboratory has had a proud tradition of providing the world class dental laboratory continuing education,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Ryan Sheridan, Director of the Area Dental Laboratory at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. “The 2023 Symposium represents an effort to continue the tradition of sharing knowledge, experiences, and techniques to military dental technicians, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and doctors across the globe.”
Air Force Col. Donald Sheets, the Defense Health Agency’s Chief Dental Officer, and Dental Clinical Management Team Chief, attended the symposium and talked about the importance of dental laboratories.
“High quality dental laboratory support is critical to the provision of dental health care that drives dental readiness,” said Sheets. “These events not only provide great training opportunities, they also give us the opportunity to look at how we can standardize our laboratory processes, refine our laboratory structure across the enterprise, and lay in requirements at each level.”
Sheets says the symposium was also a great opportunity for collaboration.
“We have Army, Navy, Air Force and Space Force personnel attending and great support from our leaders from the medical treatment facility, market, and DHA Headquarters level,” Sheets said. “From a laboratory perspective, this has been 100% successful. Our laboratory technicians and dentists are receiving training they need, and we’re standardizing our business practices in order to optimize operations across all of our MTFs.”
Sheets says this is important for providing high-quality dental care in MTFs, but also prepares dental personnel to support operational readiness mission requirements.
“Dental healthcare is inextricably linked to readiness for our medics and warfighters,” Sheets said. “All dental care, whether it’s conducted in an MTF or expeditionary platform like a tent or a ship, enables our dental teams to provide safe, high-quality dental care while maintaining dental readiness.
According to Sheridan, the symposium has expanded throughout the years to include topics of interest concerning the contemporary practice of prosthodontics, restorative dentistry, surgery, sleep medicine and many other aspects of clinical dentistry. In addition, the symposium included a forum for vendors to showcase the newest technology, clinical procedures, and dental laboratory techniques.
“On behalf of the ADL, I would like to extend my extreme gratitude to the presenters who, with their dedication to the dental profession and willingness to share their expertise, provided an outstanding forum to introduce new ideas and the opportunity to exchange current information and best practices,” Sheridan said. “I would also like to thank the members from the ADL Symposium committee, and our key speakers for sharing their knowledge, skills, and experiences with our audience. Thanks for helping us make a positive impact on the profession and invest in our greatest asset, our people!”