A Story of a Civilian Dentist in the Philippine Army

A smile goes a long way, but the smiles we always see were covered by masks the past two years due to the global health crisis. Even though our mouths must be covered at all times, caring for dental health did not stop. This was the case for Dr. Susie Abalos Casas as she made sure the Philippine Army personnel continued to receive the proper oral health care even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Casas is a civilian dentist and the Chief Civilian Supervisor of the 1301st Dental Dispensary, Headquarters and Headquarters Support Group, Philippine Army. She remembered entering the organization with the encouragement of her father in 1984. The knowledge she gained when she graduated from Centro Escolar University School of Dentistry equipped her to heed the noble call and serve the Philippine Army personnel for the past 38 years.

As a dentist in the Army, she met many people as dental consultation is one of the requirements when entering the service. Before the pandemic, they cater Army personnel and their dependents without fail. Dr. Casas recalled how their unit would entertain more than 30 clients, but everything changed in the dental field when the COVID-19 pandemic reached the country.

It became hard for everyone to see a dentist for their dental concerns as it involves exposing your face during consultations or treatments. Despite this, Dr. Casas and her team remained steadfast and made sure to continue providing safe dental care to the Army personnel. Instead of accepting walk-ins, the unit started to accept clients with prior appointments and negative COVID-19 test results during the peak of the pandemic. Their team strictly followed anti-COVID protocols to ensure the safety of the staff and the Army personnel who requires treatment. Even as the restrictions eases, Dr. Casas still made sure that they were not complacent in their quality of service. The best practices they develop during the new normal are there to stay, and she believes their ways of service will only improve through time.

As she approaches the day she would leave the organization, Dr. Casas recalled many good memories she shared with her coworkers as a civilian dentist. She encountered many people with different personalities and in different walks of life, making her well-versed in dealing with her client’s needs effectively.

Dr. Casas believes that as the new Army medical and dental personnel spend their time in the service, they will come to love their profession more and more. Their job may be tiring and challenging, but she continues to urge her colleagues and new hires to be patient and always bring their best in serving as the medical and dental care provider of the Philippine Army. #