JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The 11th Medical Group celebrates Dental Assistant Week every year during the month of March to recognize and thank our hardworking dental assistants, who are key members of the dental team. This year we’d like to spotlight Airman 1st Class Kianna Dhanraj, who has worked at the Malcolm Grow Medical Clinic and Surgery Center dental clinic for the past three years.
Dhanraj works as a pediatric dental technician. After setting up the dental treatment rooms, she prepares children for dental procedures and helps them feel comfortable. She teaches them about good oral hygiene and how to maintain a healthy mouth. When not providing patient care, she handles a variety of administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, ordering supplies, maintaining inventory and communicating with patients at the front desk.
Dhanraj was born in Florida but grew up in Georgia. While in her second year of college, she passed a sign that said “Join the Air Force”. She had no prior experience with the military but had been trying to enroll in a dental hygiene program and thought the Air Force could provide the perfect opportunity to help her achieve her goal.
“I like my job because I get to see some pretty cool things almost every day,” Dhanraj said . “I really enjoy teaching kids about healthy mouths. I think that’s pretty important.”
Dhanraj stated the challenging part about her job is rotating between different services within the dental clinic and constantly having to adapt and learn new procedures. She overcomes these challenges by jumping in head first.
Dhanraj describes herself as humble and approaches dental care with the desire to treat others as she would want to be treated.
“When I go to the dentist I expect to have clean, safe dental care and be treated gently,” she said. “This is what I strive to provide for my patients. While it’s important to make sure everything is ready for dental treatments, it’s equally important to take time to have a personal connection with each patient and also coworkers. It makes me feel good to help boost the confidence of others and help them relax.”
Dhanraj stated she is motivated by a desire to achieve a better life and set the best example she can for family and friends.
“While some people are afraid of the dental clinic and associate it with pain, most of the time we’re able to help patients get out of pain,” she explained. “Don’t be afraid, get your cleanings!”