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From Smiles to Service: Airman Kinley Noel's first year in Military Dentistry

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kelsey Martinez

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — Growing up in Frederick, Maryland, Kinley's interest in dentistry was sparked by her mother's unfulfilled aspirations in the field. Eager to explore her passion and maintain a radiant smile, Kinley embarked on her journey in May of 2023, starting with U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training and later technical training school, where she fell in love with dental assisting under the guidance and mentorship of her instructors. In honor of Dental Assistants Recognition Week and Women's History Month, we're thrilled to spotlight Airman Kinley Noel, a dental assistant with the 59th Dental Squadron here. 

Seeking financial assistance and drawn to the opportunities for travel and professional growth in the military, Kinley found her expectations exceeded upon joining. Contrary to outside perceptions, she finds the experience fulfilling and rewarding, reinforcing her decision to enlist.

"I fell in love with the dental assistant program immediately [in technical school]," she shares. "The instructors were incredible, sharing valuable insights from their own experiences…it was then that I realized, I was going to love this job.” 

Transitioning to Dunn Dental Clinic at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Kinley’s first duty station, presented new challenges, but she found herself embraced by a supportive environment and a team of colleagues dedicated to excellence in patient care.

"The people I work with are amazing," she shares, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and effective communication in delivering top-notch patient care. “We wholeheartedly support each other, whether it's helping a colleague who's fallen behind or seeking clarification…our collaboration ensures the best outcomes for our patients.”

Kinley's dedication goes beyond mere assistance; it's about leaving a lasting impression on patients and ensuring they leave with smiles.

"I've seen how negative dental experiences can deter people from seeking care, even though it's vital for their overall health," Kinley reflects. "As a dental assistant, I aim to change that perception by creating positive experiences for patients. When I receive compliments from them, it brings me happiness knowing they leave with a smile."

Appreciating the hands-on training provided, and the support and encouragement of coworkers like Capt. Michael Loida, Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Chattin, and Airman Davina Loane, Kinley looks ahead to her future in dentistry with optimism and determination.

Kinley attributes much of her success to her mother's unwavering support. "My mom has been a huge motivator for me to join the military," she explains. "Her belief and her support mean the world to me."

Beyond her professional pursuits, Kinley finds solace in life's simple pleasures—losing herself in the pages of a good book, immersing herself in gaming adventures on her Xbox, or treating herself to the delightful indulgence of Cadbury cream eggs. Yet, it's her dedication to her work and her innate ability to exude positivity that truly sets her apart. As we honor Dental Assistants Recognition Week and Women's History Month, Kinley Noel stands as a shining example of the profound impact one individual can have in the realm of dentistry and beyond.

Oral Insights: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings with your dentist at least twice a year, or as recommended. Professional cleanings remove tartar buildup, and your dentist can identify any oral health issues early, preventing them from progressing into more serious problems. Additionally, discuss any concerns or questions you have about your oral health with your dentist during these visits.