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Renovation benefits Schriever Dental Clinic, patients

The Schriever Air Force Base Dental Clinic completed a renovation in December which added a functional dental lab improving turnaround times for patients and expanding the clinic’s capabilities to provide dental appliances such as custom night guards, retainers and bleaching trays. The addition of a dental lab will decrease turnaround times for Schriever patients. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

The Schriever Air Force Base Dental Clinic completed a renovation in December which added a functional dental lab improving turnaround times for patients and expanding the clinic’s capabilities to provide dental appliances such as custom night guards, retainers and bleaching trays. The addition of a dental lab will decrease turnaround times for Schriever patients. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

The dental clinic’s recent renovation brought Schriever Dental Clinic’s instrument sterilization process up to the highest Air Force standards, creating a three-room Central Instrument Processing Center and a streamlined cleaning process, a much needed improvement from before. The cleaning room is used to remove debris from the instruments and prepare the dirty tools for the disinfecting step. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

The dental clinic’s recent renovation brought Schriever Dental Clinic’s instrument sterilization process up to the highest Air Force standards, creating a three-room Central Instrument Processing Center and a streamlined cleaning process, a much needed improvement from before. The cleaning room is used to remove debris from the instruments and prepare the dirty tools for the disinfecting step. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Sterilizing dental instruments is a three-step process which includes cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing. After the tools have been cleaned, they are then passed to the disinfecting room where they are put through a hot-water wash with a special detergent. The newly renovated, three-room Central Instrument Processing Center at the Schriever Air Force Base Dental Clinic has brought the instrument sterilization process up to the highest Air Force standards. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Sterilizing dental instruments is a three-step process which includes cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing. After the tools have been cleaned, they are then passed to the disinfecting room where they are put through a hot-water wash with a special detergent. The newly renovated, three-room Central Instrument Processing Center at the Schriever Air Force Base Dental Clinic has brought the instrument sterilization process up to the highest Air Force standards. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

The dental clinic’s recent renovation brought Schriever Dental Clinic’s instrument sterilization process up to the highest Air Force standards, creating a three-room Central Instrument Processing Center and a streamlined cleaning process, a much needed improvement from before. The sterilization room is used to steam clean dental instruments at 274 degrees Fahrenheit before being wrapped and stored for use. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

The dental clinic’s recent renovation brought Schriever Dental Clinic’s instrument sterilization process up to the highest Air Force standards, creating a three-room Central Instrument Processing Center and a streamlined cleaning process, a much needed improvement from before. The sterilization room is used to steam clean dental instruments at 274 degrees Fahrenheit before being wrapped and stored for use. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Schriever Dental Clinic personnel and patients are starting to see the benefits from a recent nine-month renovation, which was completed December 2015.

The renovation brought Schriever Dental Clinic's instrument sterilization process up to the highest Air Force standards, creating a three-room Central Instrument Processing Center and a streamlined cleaning process, a much needed improvement.

"Before, everything was in one room, from dirty to sterile, which is less than ideal," said Staff Sgt. Janee Tamayo, Schriever Dental Clinic dental assistant. "Now we have three rooms--a three-room process is the safest as far as cleanliness, durability and making sure there is no overlap or backtracking in the process."

Sterilizing dental instruments is a three-step process, which includes cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing, a process that couldn't fully be completed at the Schriever clinic while the renovation was taking place.

During the construction, Schriever Dental Clinic relied strongly on support from the Peterson Air Force Base Dental Clinic in order to keep its doors open to patients.

"We'd take the clean instruments to Peterson, then they would sterilize it and then go back during another part of the day to pick it up," said Staff Sgt. Megan Luscier, Schriever Dental Clinic dental assistant.

Now with the construction complete, the Schriever Dental Clinic has a room designed specifically for each step. This not only saves man-hours, but also provides a state-of-the-art facility for training.

"For training, it makes it easier because this is Air Force standard," said Luscier. "This will enable us to train our incoming Airmen even better. We are part of the 21st [Medical Group], so a lot of people go over there for training, but now we could stay here and complete it without having to go to any other base."

The renovation will also cut down on the amount of dental lab work sent off base for completion by providing a dental lab at Schriever.

"We'll be able to allocate more dental appliances here than before because along with the lab we're also getting an actual dental lab technician," said Tamayo. "For the foreseeable future the plan is to have from the Area Dental Lab at Peterson come here once a week."

The addition of a dental lab will decrease turnaround times for Schriever patients.

"Before, we were limited to being able to fabricate custom sports guards, very basic retainers and bleaching trays occasionally," said Tamayo. "Those would take anywhere from three to five days if not longer to complete. Now with a dental lab tech coming, we are able to get those turned around the same day."

According to Luscier, the completed renovation in the dental clinic has also improved morale and lifted the spirits of those who work there.

"Some people used to think of this as a deployment because we are so small and supplies were limited, but now, we are our own functional clinic, so it is really nice," she said. "Before, we would always rely on Peterson, but now we can finally be on our own dental clinic. It feels like a weight has been lifted and it is going to make things so much better for us and our patients."
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