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Kadena, Okinawa dentists share best practices

Maj. David Weyh, 18th Dental Squadron endodontist, shows off a dental microscope used for root canal procedures and surgeries to Miyu Nakamura, a dental hygienist student, during White Dental Clinic's tour of the 18th DS clinic, Aug. 16, 2019.

Maj. David Weyh, 18th Dental Squadron endodontist, shows off a dental microscope used for root canal procedures and surgeries to Miyu Nakamura, a dental hygienist student, during White Dental Clinic's tour of the 18th DS clinic, Aug. 16, 2019. The microscope is a staple piece of equipment for endodontists, who use this asset for complex root canal procedures and more. The tour took place for students to learn about the unique capabilites of the clinic at Kadena.

Tech. Sgt. Tamara Hennis, 18th Dental Squadron chief of Preventive Dentistry, shows a set of different dental tools that are used at Kadena Air Base, during White Dental Clinc's tour of the 18th DS clinic facilities, Aug. 16, 2019.

Tech. Sgt. Tamara Hennis, 18th Dental Squadron chief of Preventive Dentistry, shows a set of different dental tools that are used at Kadena Air Base, during White Dental Clinc's tour of the 18th DS clinic facilities, Aug. 16, 2019. The tour took place for students to learn about the unique capailities of the clinic at Kadena.

Shiho Ikehara sits in a dental chair during the White Dental Clinic's tour of the 18th Dental Squadron clinic, Aug. 16, 2019.

Shiho Ikehara sits in a dental chair during the White Dental Clinic's tour of the 18th Dental Squadron clinic, Aug. 16, 2019. The tour took place for students to learn about the unique capabilities of the clinic at Kadena.

The White Dental Clinic students pose for a group picture in front of the 18th Medical Group building on Aug. 16, 2019.

The White Dental Clinic students pose for a group picture in front of the 18th Medical Group building on Aug. 16, 2019. The 18th Dental Squadron clinic hosted second-year hygiene students for a tour to learn about the unique capabilities of the dental clinic at Kadena.

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

Thirty-four students from Okinawa’s White Dental Clinic toured the 18th Wing Dental Squadron’s clinic, Aug. 16, 2019, to learn the different capabilities between Japanese and American dental care facilities.

“This tour allowed us to strengthen bonds through the dental realm, and learn how care is performed from both an American and Japanese standpoint,” said Tech. Sgt. Tamara Hennis, 18th DS chief of Preventive Dentistry. “We were able to gain valuable knowledge about how we provide care, and learn what is done differently regarding Japanese care.”

The Kadena dental clinic is the largest in Pacific Air Forces. Annually, the clinic sees 35,000 patients, providing comprehensive dental services, while also providing dental laboratory services to 44 tri-service dental treatment facilities.

“The hygiene students are currently in their second-year, and the feel of the tour was full of great optimism and positivity,” said Col. David Bowers-Evangelista, 18th DS commander. “They become great ambassadors of goodwill, telling the story of the standard of care we provide and the level of sophistication.”

Keeping communication open between the local and Kadena dentists allows for families to receive better care in the local economy.

“The hygiene school’s professor, Dr. Tommy Kaneko is a local dentist who provides dental care for many dependents,” Bowers-Evangelista said. “Building our relationship and trust is critical to ensuring the highest quality dental care we can for our families.”  

Kadena’s dental clinic currently has 15 local nationals who work daily with Airmen and their families.

“We want to build stronger US-Japanese relationships one smile at a time,” said Bowers-Evangelista.