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Featured Profile for Dentist

Seth Briggs

I always knew I wanted to be in a health profession, and my future father-in- law, who was a dentist, got me interested in dentistry, so I pursued it in college. In my second year of dental school, an Air Force recruiter told me about financial opportunities available through their ‘health professions scholarship program,’ so I applied and was accepted. I owed the Air Force some time after that, but I’ve surpassed that initial payback and have added on a few extra years. The Air Force has been a real benefit to me.

The Air Force has taken me places that I would have never dreamed of. I’m from Colorado, and have practiced dentistry in Langley, Virginia and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but humanitarian missions to Guatemala and Paraguay have been the highlight of my Air Force career.

In the US, most people say “Oh, you’re a dentist. No offense, but I hate the dentist.” In Paraguay, the kids were so excited to see me. I was probably the first dentist any of them or their parents had ever seen. They were very brave even though many of them had to have teeth taken out.

I think of one little boy whose four front teeth were completely decayed. He left crying after the work we had to do, and he was pretty mad at me. But the next day, his mom brought him by, and he had a big smile for me. He was happy to see me despite the previous day’s events. That kind of gratitude, even by the littlest kid is pretty neat.

I like seeing and treating kids, so I’m currently spending two years as an orthodontics resident, learning that specialty. Most of the places where dentists treat military families is overseas, so I’m looking forward to the chance of extending my horizons to Europe or Japan or even another spot in the United States. It’s pretty busy, but the Air Force allows me to balance work and family. My kids are young, so traveling and seeing the world has been a really neat part of the Air Force.

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