Commanders and other leaders got a close look at what the Baumholder Dental Clinic provides to the community during a command focused open house Feb. 1. The open house was a first for the Baumholder Dental Clinic and the idea originated from the clinic staff, who suggested it would be a good idea to reach out to the community.

"The whole focus and purpose of this open house is to be able to bring in the commanders, the sergeants major and the first sergeants so we can let them know what the Army dental care system offers them," said Francisco Ruiz, Baumholder Dental Clinic commander.

"We want to let them know what are our goal as the clinic command here at Baumholder is and talk about dental readiness, which is always important, dental wellness and what we can do for them as leaders so that we can ensure our Soldiers are getting the best care possible in a timely manner," he said.

Francisco explained the importance of dental readiness and wellness, focusing on how Soldiers are categorized in each of these areas.

But for all of the efforts of the clinic staff in providing quality care, failed appointments continue to be an issue. From Oct. 1, 2012 through Jan. 30, 2013, the clinic had 218 failed appointments. That equates to 4.18 percent of patients seen. On the upside, 4,429 appointments were completed during the same period. "Our goal is to bring the percentage of missed appointments down to 2 percent," said Francisco.

It's no secret that Baumholder's Soldier population has gone down to about half of what it used to be, but in relation to dental care, Francisco sees the low numbers as a plus for the community because it allows the dental clinic to offer care to family members and DoD civilians. Family dental care has always been an issue across the board so Baumholder's current demographics allow family members and civilians a golden opportunity to receive the high quality dental care that Soldiers receive. The clinic will continue this service for as long as the numbers allows it to do so.

New to the Dental Command is the Go First Class initiative. Francisco said this program will transform the dental healthcare to a system of health.

There will be a paradigm shift, turning annual exams into annual cleanings. "When patients receive their annual cleaning, they also receive their annual exam and minor restorative care, all in a single visit," said Francisco.

This initiative reaps the dental clinic greater capacity to treat patients because it consolidates visits. "It also enhances our diplomacy with the unit and patient because less time is spent in dental and higher levels of wellness are attained," said Francisco.

The program is a DENCOM wide initiative that ensures the patient gets the same care worldwide.