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Pacific Angel dentists: improving smiles one extraction at a time

COM, Timor Leste--U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Glass, dental assistant, prepares a 151 extraction tool for U.S. Air Force Capt. Frances Becker, dentist, for an extraction of Lanjina de Castro's left-upper molar here Sept.19. Both Glass and Becker are from Misawa Air Base, Japan. Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation led by 13th Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The operation supports U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts by partnering with other governments in the region to provide medical, dental, optometry, veterinary and engineering assistance to their citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield)

COM, Timor Leste--U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Glass, dental assistant, prepares a 151 extraction tool for U.S. Air Force Capt. Frances Becker, dentist, for an extraction of Lanjina de Castro's left-upper molar here Sept.19. Both Glass and Becker are from Misawa Air Base, Japan. Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation led by 13th Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The operation supports U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts by partnering with other governments in the region to provide medical, dental, optometry, veterinary and engineering assistance to their citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield)

COM, Timor Leste-- U.S. Air Force Capt. Frances Becker, dentist from Misawa Air Base, Japan, extracts Lanjina de Castro's left-upper molar here Sept.19. Castro arrived at the clinic complaining of extreme pain. With the dental clinic's limited capabilities, extractions are the primary answer to most of the patient's problems. Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation led by 13th Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The operation supports U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts by partnering with other governments in the region to provide medical, dental, optometry, veterinary and engineering assistance to their citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield)

COM, Timor Leste-- U.S. Air Force Capt. Frances Becker, dentist from Misawa Air Base, Japan, extracts Lanjina de Castro's left-upper molar here Sept.19. Castro arrived at the clinic complaining of extreme pain. With the dental clinic's limited capabilities, extractions are the primary answer to most of the patient's problems. Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation led by 13th Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The operation supports U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts by partnering with other governments in the region to provide medical, dental, optometry, veterinary and engineering assistance to their citizens. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Phillip Butterfield)

COM, Timor Leste -- "Doctor the patient said, she has had unbearable tooth pain for a month now can you help?" said an Operation Pacific Angel 11-2 translator.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Frances Becker, dentist and his assistant U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Glass both from Misawa Air Base, Japan. They arrived here to provide the residents of Com and the surrounding areas with the best dental service they can and sometimes their first visit to a dentist.

The dental mission here, is to improve oral hygiene, provide education and improve the lives of all the residents one smile at a time.

"Proper dental hygiene gives you teeth for chewing, talking, smiling and it makes you an all-around happier person," said Becker. "We're providing a service that most people here may never get."

On the first day of the dental clinic being open, they saw 13 patients and performed 14 extractions and they are anticipating more than 100 patients being seen during the five day operation.

Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation led by 13th Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The operation supports U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts by partnering with other governments in the region to provide medical, dental, optometry, veterinary and engineering assistance to their citizens.

"I enjoy helping the people here," said Glass. "It's all worthwhile when I see a patient come in with a frown and in pain and leave with a smile."