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Andersen's dental clinic is best in Air Force

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Angelique Smythe
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
February is Dental Health Month, but even more importantly this month, the 36th Medical Operations Squadron Dental Clinic was awarded the USAF Small Dental Clinic of the Year for 2006.

"Our dental readiness at Team Andersen is outstanding.," said Maj. James Kutner, 36th Medical Operations Squadron officer in charge of the clinical dentistry and laboratory dentistry elements. "This is a very special unit. Everybody works well together."

Andersen's Dental Clinic led the Pacific Air Forces in customer service for three out of the last four quarters.

"Being such a small dental clinic, to be the best in the Air Force is something special for them, and it's just their commitment to excellence that makes it happen every day," said Lt. Col. David Bobb, 36th MDOS commander. 

The team stands as the best of the best "because of the outstanding clinicians and customer service that we bring to the fight," said Major Kutner. "We all take pride in taking care of patients and everyone enjoys what they do. We like to smile; we greet everyone with a smile. Our goal is to put smiles on everyone's faces." 

The dental clinic serves not only the active duty members of Andersen's community, but the activated Guard, Reserve, and deployed personnel also. 

"A lot of the deployed units that come here have sick call appointments or pre-existing dental concerns that we're not necessarily manned to support, but we still take care of them," said Major Kutner. "When the Guard and Reserves are called for short-notice deployments, they come in for dental exams to make sure they're ready to go on whatever mission they are called." 

Last year, the Dental Clinic was 11 percent above the Air Force goal on the number of patients who had no dental concerns whatsoever. 

Even during manning shortages the clinic still has more than 98 percent of Team Andersen dentally ready. 

"We have one less dentist than we did last year and we produced 35 percent more in dental values," said Major Kutner. 

Not only do they excel in the workplace, but they also volunteer to do things such as Career Day at Andersen's schools to teach students about dental careers.
"We're doing our best to reach the community," said Major Kutner. 

One challenge the clinic faced but overcame in 2006 was finding ways to provide specialty care to patients who needed it because they are manned with five general dentists on the installation. 

"We made connections with the local community to take care of patients who needed advanced care," said Major Kutner. "This did not exist in the past. Before, we would try to help the patient as best we could and they would visit a specialist when they'd move to their next duty station." 

Now if patients need a root canal retreated or an advanced gum surgery, they're able to send those patients downtown to get the care they need and help them be mission ready. 

"I can say in my almost 25 years in service this is the best and most customer-focused dental clinic I've ever seen," said Col. Mark Mueller, 36th Maintenance Group commander. "Congrats to them on the recognition."

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