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Steps for seeking emergency dental care

USAF dentist cleaning teeth

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Anita M. Shade,18th Dental Squadron Deputy Squadron commander, performs a teeth cleaning procedure on a patient Jan. 10, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Unexpected dental emergencies can happen anytime and the 18th DS provides on-call, after-hours emergency care during non-duty hours and weekends. This service can be accessed via the Kadena Connect app. The app provides step-by-step instructions to help guide patients through the process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Dental cleaning instruments

Dental tools lay in a tray during an appointment at the Kadena Dental Clinic Jan. 10, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Unexpected dental emergencies can happen anytime and the 18th Dental Squadron provides on-call, after-hours emergency care during non-duty hours and weekends. This service can be accessed via the Kadena Connect app. The app provides step-by-step instructions to help guide patients through the process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Dental technician X-raying a patient's teeth

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Victor Mastley, 18th Dental Squadron certified dental assistant, explains an x-ray procedure to a patient Jan. 10, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Dental emergencies can happen anytime and the 18th DS is available to assist members and their family members, even in the middle of the night by providing on-call, after-hours emergency care during non-duty hours and weekends. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

Dental technician X-raying teeth

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Victor Mastley, 18th Dental Squadron certified dental assistant, prepares a patient for dental x-rays Jan. 10, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The Kadena Dental Clinic is open for duty, Monday to Friday and has a sick call process built in to address unscheduled patients with dental emergencies. Patients with concerns can walk in and request to be seen. The Kadena Dental team encourages patients to call ahead so the team can properly schedule them according to their dental issue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

USAF dentist cleaning teeth

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Anita M. Shade, 18th Dental Squadron Deputy Squadron commander, performs a procedure on a patient Jan. 10, 2020, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The Kadena Dental Clinic is open for duty, Monday to Friday and has a sick call process built in to address unscheduled patients with dental emergencies. Patients with concerns can walk in and request to be seen. The Kadena Dental team encourages patients use the Kadena Connect app if an emergency arises outside normal duty hours. If an emergency arises during the duty-day to call ahead so the team can properly schedule them according to their dental issue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

Dental emergencies happen and the 18th Dental Squadron is here to assist members who need help, even in the middle of the night.

The 18th DS provides on-call, after-hours emergency care during non-duty hours and weekends.

“Typically, the Kadena team is called for all after-hours dental emergencies involving members and their families assigned to Kadena AB,” said Lt. Col. Anita M. Shade, 18th DS Deputy Squadron commander. “The Kadena after-hours dental team is on call and available 365 days of the year to include all major holidays and training days.”

The Kadena Dental Clinic is open for duty, Monday to Friday and has a sick call process built in to address unscheduled patients with dental emergencies.  Patients with concerns can walk in and request to be seen.  The Kadena Dental team encourages patients to call ahead so the team can properly schedule them according to their dental issue.

“It’s important for our patients to understand that if they have a life-threatening emergency, for instance trauma to their head or neck, difficulty breathing, swallowing, or uncontrolled bleeding, they should immediately go to the United States Naval Hospital emergency department at Camp Foster.”

Additionally, Shade recommends members who have non-life-threatening dental emergencies that cannot wait until the next duty day, such as dental pain, swelling or bleeding that cannot be managed with over-the-counter medications, contact the USNHO Quarterdeck. If assigned to KAB, the emergency department will then contact the Kadena dental team on call. From that point on, the team will take charge of the patient.

“When the on-call dentist is contacted, they triage the patient over the phone and make the decision whether or not the patient needs to be seen immediately,” stated Shade. “If so, the rest of the team is activated. At that point, the team will make their way to the clinic to prepare to see the patient.”

The Kadena Connect App is an excellent resource that has step-by-step directions to guide patients through this process. 

“By using the Kadena Connect app, our patients are also able to contact the Kadena on-call dentist directly from their cell phone,” Shade said. “It walks you through it step-by-step. It’s also updated frequently and has the contact numbers of all the agencies involved.”

It’s recommended that members become familiar with the app and the after-hours process before a dental emergency occurs. This way they can receive timely care.

“Beyond emergencies, the best way to receive care is to ensure members and their families are seen routinely by a dental provider,” said Shade. “An exam and cleaning annually is a must to screen for new disease activity.”

Family members can contact the Kadena Appointment line at 098-960-4817. They also have the option of utilizing the Tricare Dental Program through United Concordia to seek dental care from a Host Nation dental provider who is on the Tricare Overseas preferred dentist list.

For more information, contact the dental clinic at 098-960-4817, download the Kadena Connect app or visit the Kadena Medical Clinic Facebook page.