Category Archives: Blog

Brushing with Charcoal Products

Do Charcoal Products Clean and Whiten Teeth?

Charcoal with a toothbrushRecent news articles have highlighted a new trend sweeping the dental world – brushing with charcoal products. An example is an August 13, 2018 article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Latest Fad for Whiter Teeth Is to Turn Them Black.” A search on YouTube shows multiple videos of people brushing with charcoal, with one video having over 2.5 million views! As dental providers, though, we are more interested in data than faddish trends. Our question, always, is whether a product performs as claimed in a way that is safe for your teeth.

Understanding Tooth Anatomy

You can think of a tooth as having basically three layers. First is the outside layer, or enamel – the hardest substance in your body. Enamel covers and protects the dentin of the tooth.  The dentin layer covers the tooth’s soft tissue, including blood vessels and nerve tissue. Dentists want to keep your tooth enamel strong to help protect the health of your teeth. When you brush with products that have abrasive qualities, such as charcoal, you can wear away the enamel, in extreme cases, down to the dentin.

Brushing With Charcoal Not Shown to be Effective

Last year, the Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA) published a review of available literature on charcoal use and did not find evidence that the products are safe or effective. While noting that more studies need to be done, current information does not conclusively show these products meeting their billing. The study concluded as follows:

Conclusions: The results of this literature review showed insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices. Larger-scale and well-designed studies are needed to establish conclusive evidence.

Practical Implications: Dental clinicians should advise their patients to be cautious when using charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices with unproven claims of efficacy and safety.

How Do Consumers Make Informed Dental Decisions?

A good place to start with questions is your dental provider’s office. At Mark T. Albers, DDS, our experienced staff stays up-to-date with dental trends and can answer most questions you have. Because there is no good evidence to show charcoal products are safe and effective, and because they can be abrasive to your enamel, we do not recommend their use at this time.

Another good place to get information on dental health and dental products is MouthHealthy.org, the  ADA’s consumer website. Here, you can find information on evidence-based effective tooth whitening and other dental issues. And, you can visit the ADA Seal of Acceptance  section of the Mouth Healthy website. According to the ADA, “The ADA Seal is backed by science—to have your back. Every product with the Seal has been scientifically evaluated by independent experts to be safe and effective. In fact, to earn the Seal, companies are often asked to meet higher standards than what is required by law. Products that don’t meet these tough guidelines don’t get the Seal, period.”

Conclusion: Stay Away From Charcoal

As noted above, our dental professionals are happy to answer dental related questions. And, if we’re not available, remember this: When in doubt, don’t try it out!

Dr. Albers Named a 2018 Top Dentist

Colorado Springs Style Magazine

Colorado Springs Style Top Dentist LogoEach year, Colorado Springs Style Magazine conducts a survey to identify the top dentists in Colorado Springs. The magazine works with the Colorado Springs Dental Society and an independent public relations firm to conduct the survey. Following the survey, they group top dentists into different categories such as general dentists, or dental specialties such as periodontists or orthodontists.  Finally, Colorado Springs Style publishes its 2018 Top Dentist list, which includes a familiar name…

Dr. Albers Named A 2018 Top Dentist in Colorado Springs

Top Dentist Listing for Dr. AlbersOnce again, Colorado Springs Style recognizes Dr. Albers as a top general dentist in its 2018 Top Dentist survey. Dr. Albers spends over 100 hours each year participating in study groups or continuing education classes. He does this because he wants to provide the best dental care possible for his patients. His commitment to improving his dental skills and knowledge is an important part of how he practices dentistry.  For this reason, Dr. Albers appreciates the vote of confidence from his dental peers, and is honored to be included in this list.

Michele Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary with Dr. Albers

20 Years!

Michele holds flowers for her 20th anniversary

20 Years!

An office milestone – Michele reached her 20 year anniversary of working at our office! We appreciate our staff!

Michele currently runs our front desk but that isn’t where she started. Back in 1998, Michele became Dr. Albers’ dental assistant when her aunt, then Dr. Albers’ assistant, temporarily stepped away from assisting to raise her daughter. Michele assisted Dr. Albers for over 16 years, making the move to the front desk in late 2014. The experience she gained as an assistant translated well to her new position.  It gave her the background to be able to answer questions from patients, to know how long to schedule appointments for different problems or emergencies, and to continue her interaction with the many patients with whom she developed relationships while working as an assistant.

We Are Grateful for our Staff

We’ve always said that one reason for our success is our staff. We value the long-standing relationships developed over many years between our staff and our patients. And, patients appreciate coming to an office where they are known and valued.  Our goal is always to make our patients feel at home when they visit our office.  When you’ve seen the same smiling face for 20 years, it’s easy to feel at home.

We hope you will tell Michele congratulations on her anniversary the next time you’re in our office.

Patient Communication System

Appointment Reminders

A year ago, we implemented a new patient communication system. This system is integrated with our practice management software. One of our main goals was to be able to provide timely reminders to patients about upcoming appointments. The system uses text messages, emails, or if a patient has neither, an automated phone call.

There was a little bit of a learning curve for patients, but now, the system seems to be working well. We originally set reminders to go out 10 days, two days (except for Monday appointments), and two hours prior to appointments. We’ve had a couple of occasions, though, where the 10 reminder has caused a patient to come in a week early.

New Appointment Reminder Schedule

For this reason, we are going to try to new schedule. Effective today, we are going to reduce the reminders from three to two. Patients with appointments on Tuesday – Thursday will get two day and two-hour* reminders. Patients with Monday appointments will get their first reminder on the prior Thursday so that Michele has time to fill any appointments that might need to be cancelled on Monday.

*Two-Hour Reminders

Regarding two-hour reminders, we have set our system so that text reminders don’t go out before 8:00 a.m. So, for patients with 8:00 and 9:00 appointments, you will not receive the two-hour reminder. We are going to keep these reminders for other appointments, however. We have had a number of patients who’ve been in the middle of a project, lost track of time, and would have missed an appointment but for this reminder.

As ever, we appreciate patient feedback. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at 719-634-8458.

2018 Rocky Mountain Dental Convention

 Dental Convention, Denver, CO

Dr. Albers and staff at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Dental Convention.

On Thursday and Friday of last week, the staff and I attended the 2018 Rocky Mountain Dental Convention (Jane and Judy also stayed in Denver to attend the Saturday sessions).  We try to attend this conference every year as it offers classes on a variety of issues related to dentistry.  And, a large exhibition hall features vendors of everything from handpieces to 3D Panoramic Digital X-Ray units, to toothpaste.

Class Highlights

As a group, we try to hit different classes so that we can compare notes later.  I asked the staff to provide thoughts about their favorite classes this year, and summaries are provided below.  Jane and Judy texted their thoughts on favorite classes after they finished on Saturday.  Consequently, their highlights are longer than the favorites from the rest of the staff.  They’re so good, though, we’ve included most of what they wrote.

  • Jane:  It is really hard to pick my favorite continuing education class this year since they were all so good. The highlights were in my nutrition and pharmacology class.  We learned the importance of knowing what prescription drugs and over the counter medications our patients are taking.  It’s even important to know what vitamins patients take.  We learned about recognizing signs of vitamin deficiencies and also learned that since some symptoms overlap, proper diagnosis can sometimes be difficult.  Another class on keeping up with the cutting edge of periodontics provided guidance on when to refer a patient for surgery or a patented laser treatment called LANAP.   Finally, I enjoyed a class on how food choices impact our health and our family’s health.  It was a real eye opener on where health of the U.S. population is headed if smarter eating choices are not made.  The speaker provided practical information on how to involve our patients in making the right choices for themselves.
  • Judy:  My favorite class addressed how nutrition and pharmacology can affect not only oral health, but overall health.  The most intriguing information was the manifestation of symptoms resulting from a deficiency of vitamins orally and systemically.  The class also addressed how different prescription medications contribute to these symptoms.
  • Michele:  My favorite class covered the best kept secrets of successful practices and tips on helping patients have a good experience at the dental office.  Our office values close, long-term relationships with many of our patients and we appreciate feedback and reviews of all kinds.  This class confirmed that we are doing many things well, but also gave me ideas on improving the experience of patients when they come to our office.    Lee An, Judy, and Susan in the exhibition hall at the 2018 RMDC
  • Susan:  While a class on forensic dentistry was very interesting, the class with the most practical information was on the different types of dry mouth – a serious condition that can affect oral health.  Saliva cleanses and bathes the teeth throughout the day.  It also has buffering capacity to neutralize and counteract the acids in different foods.  When the mouth is not producing enough saliva, patients can have an increased incident of decay.  We see this sometimes as a side effect of medications.  We learned about different ways to educate patients about the causes and complications of dry mouth.
  • Lee Ann:  The most interesting course I took covered a new type of dental implant.  The class instructor was the doctor who developed it.  We learned the history of this implant, including the legal challenges in developing it.
  • Dr. Albers:  I took a course on planning and treatment of dental conditions using 3D imaging technology.  We are going to be adding this technology at the office in the very near future.  The class clarified how it will aid in the treatment and diagnosis of dental conditions.

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Mark T. Albers, D.D.S.
2155 Hollowbrook Drive
Suite 20
Colorado Springs, CO
80918

(719) 634-8458

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To schedule an appointment, call:
(719) 634-8458

General Hours: Labor Day through Memorial Day

Monday – Thursday:
8:00a.m. – 1:00p.m., 2:00p.m. – 5:00p.m.

Summer Hours: Memorial Day through Labor Day

Monday – Wednesday
7:30a.m. – 12:30p.m., 1:30p.m. – 4:30p.m.

Thursday
7:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.