JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Dental specialist students taking course 330-X2 at the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence gain hands-on experience practicing skills while treating volunteer patients. Active Duty, Retired, Family Members, and the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard with a DoD ID help 68E Dental Specialist students practice skills learned during their training through a quarterly volunteer program. This is an excellent educational opportunity for students and provides patients with the ability to more easily obtain dental care.
After completing basic combat training, the 68th Army Dental Specialist receives their initial military occupational specialty during Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at the medical training campus at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. During AIT, Soldiers learn the specialized training necessary to assist Army dentists in the examination and treatment of the teeth of service members and dependents. After graduating from AIT, soldiers then report to their first duty station, and for most dental specialists, that location is usually an army dental clinic. In this phase of their career, dental specialists assist dental officers and NCOs, but they do not treat patients directly.
The next phase of training for the 68E dental specialist is to complete the 330-X2 course. Under the supervision of a dental corps officer, during this 12-week course, students learn the educational objectives for performing prophylactic oral hygiene procedures, conducting individual oral disease control programs, applying pit and fissure sealants to teeth, evaluating dental x-rays, and cleaning and sterilizing dental instruments and equipment. After didactic or classroom teaching, during the last four weeks of the course, students gain hands-on experience in treating patients.
Preventive Density Training Instructor Raul Huerta says the students first practice with each other to ensure they have the ability to perform cleanups before treating the volunteers.
“With the support of dependents, they get real-life experiences of what it will be like to encounter patient care in the dental clinic,” Huerta said. “By asking retirees and their family members to volunteer their time to serve as patients for our students, it ensures that our students are exposed to a wide range of patient care, from the simple cleaning they perform to the identification of a higher level cleanup that requires registration. Dental hygienist (RDH) or dentist to perform.
SPC. Reenae Goldson, 68E dental specialist attending the 330-X2 course, appreciates the program and the training experience.
“I like the length of the course and the way it’s structured,” Goldson said. “It’s an easier and faster way for people to get checked out and cleaned without having to wait. The most exciting thing about this course is the things you learn.
Additionally, for Goldson, joining the military and learning his trade was a rewarding experience in many ways. She assists the dentists at Grafenwoehr Dental Clinic, her current assignment, and enjoys being stationed in Germany. Originally from Clarendon, Jamaica, she joined the military for the many opportunities. She is currently taking advantage of college tuition assistance by taking courses to earn a bachelor’s degree in natural science. Goldson also obtained his American citizenship through his enlistment.
The next 330-X2 Preventive Dentistry specialty course is scheduled to begin the third week of August 2022. Active duty, retirees, family members and U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard with DoD ID cards interested in help 68E dental specialists sharpen their skills, can call the program manager at 210-221-8982 or 221-8748. Appointments will be open for mid-October 2022.
For more information on how to become a 68E Dental Specialist, visit GoArmy.com at https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/career-match/science-medicine/general-care/68e- dental-specialist.html .