CAF Story | Dentistry on the High Seas

Captain Aaron Lee

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Being on a ship is a brand-new experience for me. I didn’t really know exactly what I was getting into. I don’t think there’s a lot of dentists in the world that can say that they did a root canal at sea in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

My name is Captain Aaron Lee. Being an army captain, I’m not used to be on a ship, but I feel very lucky to be on the Asterix. I would say the dental clinic is as nice as any dental clinic that I’ve worked at within the Forces.

Obviously, doing dentistry on ship is different. A couple of weeks ago, I did a root canal at sea. Oh!

We were sailing through the Atlantic and it must have been sea state 4. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

My drawers were rattling around. There were books flying off the shelves. You have to get used to the ship moving around, but you rely on the excellent training that you get. A lot of fine motor skills at work. But I got the job done. I feel so much better. Have a great day. I’ll be well soon. Thank you.

The way that we operate, it’s very much like being out in civilian practice. It’s a full day. We start usually around 7:30 and we work to 3:30. It’s a day full of patients.

While we’re at sea, it’s a little bit different. When an emergency and other things arise, you handle them. You have to be a little bit more flexible while you’re on ship.

I went to dental school at Dalhousie Dentistry in Halifax, Nova Scotia. After I got accepted, my father introduced me to the military. He told me about the program. The more I learned about it, the more it made sense for me.

I have family still back in Nova Scotia and I do miss them quite a bit. I miss the dogs. But one great thing is we have Wi-Fi, so communicating with family and friends is still doable and we make it happen.

Being a Korean Canadian in the Canadian military, I felt honoured to be able to attend the South Korean reception and see the Korean culture employed in the Navy. It was an excellent experience.

The job that I do is very important to me. I really believe that we get to treat the most important patient base, the men and women that serve our country and wear the uniform, keeping them dentally fit so that they can do the job that they do.

I don’t think there’s a more important patient family out there and for me, that is very rewarding.

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