“Any prosthetics that go in somebody’s mouth, it’s my job to make it,” Carter said.
Carter did not come into the Air Force planning on making teeth.
“Even though it wasn’t something I particularly looked for, I’ve grown very fond of this job,” he said. “It’s more hands-on and crafty than most any other job I could have hoped for.”
And, he finds it satisfying.
Rick Usserman, 88th Dental Squadron dental laboratory technician, scans a cast as part of making a patient’s crown Feb. 22 in the dental clinic lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Dental assistants and technicians perform a wide assortment of jobs, ranging from checking in patients and taking X-rays to assisting with procedures and creating prosthetics. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ
“It gives some people some quality of life that they might not be otherwise able to get,” Carter said.
While Carter likes working behind the scenes, other dental technicians are the clinic’s public face.
“They are the ones who greet you at the front desk,” Steiner said. “They are the ones that are going to take your X-rays. They are the ones that bring you back and they are also the ones, at the end of the appointment, who schedule you for the next one.”
Steiner stresses the importance of the dental assistant.
“We work as a team,” she said. “For us to be efficient and effective, two hands just isn’t enough to perform dentistry.”
Senior Airman Nicholas Carter, 88th Dental Squadron dental laboratory technician, creates a set of dentures Feb. 22 inside the dental clinic lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Carter and other technicians make the prosthetics ordered by the clinic’s dentists. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ