Tag Archives: Quality Dentistry

Good-bye 2020.  We Will Not Miss You…

Celebrating and Saying “Good-bye 2020”

We decided to really celebrate and say “good-bye 2020” by going all out on a pepper steak dinner.  The picture above is the flambé with cognac step.  We enjoyed every yummy bite and toasted to a better 2021.

It has been a year of challenges and worries.  Our office was closed for 6 weeks from mid-March to the beginning of May.  And we are lucky.  Some businesses are still operating under extreme restrictions even today.  It is our sincere hope that with the advent of vaccines, 2021 will see a return to normalcy, especially for small businesses and restaurants.

Changes That Are Here to Stay

Following the onset of Covid-19, we instituted several changes at the office.  One you have probably noticed is the use of face shields during aerosol creating procedures.  While we used several tools to minimize aerosol spread before, a face shield can provide another level of protection for our staff.

Another change is the way we screen patients.  For the foreseeable future, we will continue to use a Covid Questionnaire and take temperatures of all visitors to the office.  And, whereas before we would sometimes treat patients with cold type symptoms, we will continue to ask those feeling unwell to reschedule appointments.

Due to public health orders mandating the use of Covid Questionnaires, we became overwhelmed with paperwork after reopening the office.  That prompted research into paperless forms – which can be filled out via computer or smart phone.  These forms are saved on a secure cloud server. We receive a notification that a new form is available.  We can then review and download the form(s) into our practice management software, thus skipping the manual entry of data and scanning of forms.  Feedback from patients has been almost uniformly positive (yes, some patients would prefer to never update information…).  The system is easy to use, quicker than filling out paper forms, and can be done at a patient’s convenience prior to an appointment.  This saves both our staff and our patients time in the office.

Other Changes

Many of you already know that long-time hygienist Lee Ann has transitioned to a part time schedule.  She is currently in the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  We were lucky to find new hygienist Stephanie, who has been a welcome addition to the staff.  And, patients will also continue to see hygienists Judy and Jane on their days in the office.  We will take a new group photo of our staff once restrictions on masks and social distancing are lifted.

Things that Never Change

We will always appreciate the professional relationships and friendships we have developed with so many you after years of seeing you in the office.  We will continue to strive for excellence in the dentistry we practice and to provide our patients with the best dental care possible.

Rubber Dam – An Important Dental Tool

Not every dentist uses a rubber dam when performing dental procedures on patients. Not all patients understand what rubber dams are or why they are used. In fact, I had a patient in the office yesterday who recently transferred from another office.  She had no idea what I was doing when I started preparing the rubber dam for placement in her mouth. I hope that by the time you finish reading this blog post, you understand why I think they are an important tool in our office.

Rubber Dam Description

A patient with a rubber dam isolating their teeth

A rubber dam applied over a patient’s mouth

This photo shows a patient with a rubber dam in place. We take a 5×5 or 6×6 sheet of latex or nitrile (non-latex) material and place it over the tooth or teeth to be worked on. Holes are punched in the material.  We then use floss to work the material in between each tooth to be worked on. A clamp is placed on the most rear tooth to hold the material down, and a napkin is then placed between dam and the skin. As you can see in the photo, we then attach the edges of the dam to a metal frame to hold it in place.

Why Don’t All Dentists Use Rubber Dams?

Dentists are trained (not very well I might add) how to use rubber dams in dental school. Like many others, when I first graduated from dental school, I thought they were too cumbersome and time-consuming to use on a regular basis.

When I started participating in my first study club, however, the mentor of our club showed us younger dentists how to properly place a rubber dam.  Finally, I understood that they can be placed efficiently and effectively. From that point, I began using rubber dams consistently with my patients.

Why Should Rubber Dams Be Used?

If I am placing a small filling towards the front of the mouth, I may not use a rubber dam. However, any time I am working on a tooth towards the back of the mouth, I use a rubber dam. I use it to isolate the quadrant of the mouth that I am working on. In my opinion, the main advantages to using a dental dam are:

  • Visibility – I see nothing but the section of the teeth I am working on.
  • It creates a clean, dry field for me to do my work.
  • There is no contamination of the field with saliva. This is particularly important with tooth colored fillings, which are technique sensitive.  Saliva can compromise the bonding process of the composite material to the remaining tooth.
  • The patient does not swallow any old fillings (if we are removing old restorations) or water from the hand pieces.
  • It protects the soft tissue of the tongue and cheeks and keeps them out of the way.
  • When performing root canals, the rubber dam provides protection to the cheeks and tongue from the rinse we use (usually bleach) when cleaning out the tooth canals.
  • Small files are used during root canals. A rubber dams ensures that a dropped file does not enter a patient’s throat.

Rubber dams do require some additional time to place. However, when I look at time spent to do this and weigh it against the increased protection for my patients, patient safety wins.  Furthermore, when I consider the ability it gives me to do better work, it’s pretty clear.  The benefits of using rubber dams far outweigh any disadvantages.


Magnification Glasses Support Quality Dentistry


Dental Hygienists Jane and Lee Ann model magnification glasses

Magnification Glasses and Illumination

Several weeks ago on our Facebook page, we posted this picture of Jane and Lee Ann having a little fun at the office.  On a serious note, the picture also shows them wearing something that helps us to provide quality dental care for our patients, namely, magnification glasses.

As you know if you’ve visited our office, Lee Ann, Jane, Judy (our three hygienists) and I wear magnification glasses when working with patients.  These glasses are custom made for each of us and include the attached light you see in the picture.

In the Beginning

I started using magnification glasses in the early 1990’s.  When I first began using them, it was truly an eye opener (pardon the pun…).  I started with 2.5x magnification and quickly moved up to 4.5x magnification.  Why is magnification important?  Because magnification glasses allow me to better visualize the tooth or quadrant of teeth I am working on.  This ultimately results in, for example, a better filling or a better fitting crown.

Evolution of Magnification Glasses and Illumination

An important evolution in magnification glasses was the addition of an integrated headlamp (illumination).  Long time patients might remember when this started as a bulky incandescent light on a cable, strapped to my head.  This led to nice crease marks in my forehead and hairline by the end of the day!  With technological advancements, however, current glasses have small battery powered LED lights mounted right on the frame of the glasses.  These lights brighten the whole field of operation and are extremely beneficial to me and to our hygienists as it allows us to see in detail every part of the tooth/teeth we are working on.

Of the many technological advances occurring since I started practicing dentistry, and that have impacted and improved the quality of care I am able to provide, I would have to put light and magnification close to the top of the list.

Contact Us

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

(719) 634-8458

Contact Us

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.

7:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.