News: Navy Dentists bring smiles to Tinian
Story by Lance Cpl. Joseph Karwick
TINIAN, Northern Mariana Islands - U.S. Navy Dental technicians provided dental assistance to the local Tinian community Dec. 3 during Exercise Forager Fury 2012.
The dental technicians saw numerous patients and performed a wide range of procedures in just one day.
“Today we conducted 13 emergency exams, five cleanings, five baby teeth extractions, 11 adult teeth extractions and one incision and drainage,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Flannery, a general dentist with 11th Dental Company, 3rd Dental Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
After only a couple days of work, the impact on the local community can already be seen.
“It’s really great when the [military] comes out and provides services like this, because the services that they provide are hard to come by on little islands like this,” said Joseph R. Santos, a local firefighter and emergency medical technician. “It is vital to the community, vital to the island and vital to the Commonwealth Of The Northern Marianas.”
The dentists have seen a wide variety of issues, some more common than others.
“By far the biggest issues are cavities and loose teeth that the bone has resorbed and it can be very discomforting for the patient,” said Flannery. “Some of these patients feel immediate relief after removing a tooth that has broken down so severely that it caused a real issue in their daily living.”
Tinian has proven itself to not only be a great location for Marines to train, but also a location that benefits the local community every time they return.
“Hopefully the Marines can come back and help us again because it is really beneficial to us and our children who need better care at their young age,” said Rudeinn Sablan, father of 9-year-old twins, Victor and Victoria, who both received dental care.
Medical and dental care will be provided by Navy personnel throughout the duration of the exercise, which is scheduled to conclude Dec. 19.