Tag Archives: Staff

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.

Welcome Dental Hygienist Stephanie!

Welcome Stephanie, our New Dental Hygienist

We are excited to welcome a new dental hygienist, Stephanie, to the practice! Stephanie will be working three days a week and is looking forward to getting to know our patients.

Long time patients know we have very little turnover with our staff. This allows our office to develop relationships with patients over many years. For the last several years, Lee Ann, our full-time hygienist, as well as Jane, Judy B. and Judy A have comprised our hygiene team. Lee Ann has been at our office for 22 years, and Jane first worked with Dr. Albers (and assistant Susan) at his first dental position, back in 1987. Judy B and Judy A are more recent additions, both bringing significant experience to the office. Between Lee Ann’s schedule, the regular days worked by Jane and Judy B, and Judy A’s several days per month, we were averaging a little over 6 days of hygiene during our 4 day work week.

Staffing Changes

Earlier this year, Lee Ann indicated that after 43 years as a full time hygienist, she was ready to think about cutting back her schedule. And Judy A, whose husband recently retired, indicated that she wanted to move to a position of filling in when she’s needed and available rather than scheduling set days each month. While the COVID shutdowns sent many plans into a pause for 6 weeks, our hygiene staff was reaching out to fellow hygienists about someone who might be a good fit for our office. Through the grapevine, staff members who knew a former dental hygiene school classmate of Stephanie’s learned she was interested in making a change. After discussions and observing Stephanie in the office, we knew she would be a great addition.

New Hygiene Lineup

Having Stephanie on staff, working three days a week, will allow Lee Ann to cut back to two days per week. Jane and Judy B will continue to work their regular Tuesday/Thursday schedules. Altogether, this gives us an extra day of hygiene each week (7 instead of 6).  Considering all the hygiene appointments cancelled during the shutdown,  this will help us move more quickly through the backlog of cleaning appointments.

We appreciate all of our patients, and appreciate that you trust us with your dental care. We are looking forward to introducing you to Stephanie so that you can see for yourself what a great addition she is to our team!

Reopening After Covid-19

Reopening After COVID-19 – Slowly But Surely

It hasn’t been a smooth process, partly due to conflicting information coming from the state.  However, we are open with all staff members now scheduling to see patients.

First Delay in Reopening After Covid-19

We were initially notified by the state that dental offices could reopen on April 27, hence, the title of our last blog post.  Unfortunately, in the middle of a meeting at the office on Friday, April 24 to review new procedures and protocols, DORA notified dental providers that they could not open pending further guidance from the governor.  That finally arrived on the evening of April 28, but the guidance was so confusing, a modified Public Health Order had to be issued a week or so later.  We are now in the newest phase of reopening, with yet more confusing guidance in an updated PHO issued at the end of May.

New Procedures

In our last blog post, we described what to expect when you come to the office.  A big concern is that with offices reopening, we’ll see a spike in new COVID-19 cases.  To guard against this, we currently pre-screen all scheduled patients prior to their arrival at our office.  And, we take everyone’s temperate when they first arrive.

We have really appreciated the patience of our patients!  From taking time out of busy days to answer screening questions prior to coming to the office, to not being able to see our staffs’ smiling faces behind facemask, everyone has been very accommodating.  In fact, we have noted a real relief among patients that they are finally able to get out and attend to everyday tasks – such as routine dental care.

Newest CDC information

Several of us watched a webinar from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviewing their interim guidance for dental offices.  Importantly, CDC experts relayed that to date, there have been no documented cases of COVID-19 transmission in a dental setting.  Some dental office employees have contracted the virus.  However, CDC investigations have shown that none of these cases are associated with work in the dental office.  It is suspected that the virus was circulating prior to shutdowns.  This suggests that routine infection control processes followed by dentists – even before enhanced procedures were implemented – makes it difficult for the virus to be transmitted during dental care.

Community Support

One difficulty for non-front-line health care providers has been getting adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).  PPE includes things like masks and gloves.  Following the outbreak, state and national associations started recommending the use of face shields during dental procedures.  With equipment being diverted to those areas experiencing significant outbreaks, a lot of PPE has been on back order.  Local businesses stepped up to the plate to help, including a local plastics company.  They gave health care providers 10-packs of face shields.  The picture above shows Susan modeling one.  We really appreciate businesses and individuals who reached out to help others in the community.

Office Reopening April 27, 2020

Office to Reopen Monday, April 27, 2020

On March 18th we closed our office, except for emergency dental care, due to the COVID 19 coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, April 20, Governor Polis announced that Colorado’s stay-at-home order would not be extended past April 26. He further endorsed a gradual reopening of businesses, including dental offices. Our office will reopen on Monday, April 27, 2020.

What to Expect When We Reopen

We are utilizing information from state health resources and also the Colorado and American Dental Associations. Suffice it to say that things will look different when you return to the office. In the reception room, reading materials and our mission trip photo albums have been removed.  This will help prevent inadvertent transfer of the virus. Some patients may choose to remain in their cars in the parking lot until notified to come in. We will request that you observe social distance seating in the reception area.

We are also working to identify patients with potential risk factors and discuss whether treatment should be postponed until we understand the virus better. High risk patients include, for example, those 65 or older, those with chronic conditions such as obesity, lung disease, respiratory conditions, or who live in nursing homes. There are additional conditions that might push someone into a high-risk category and we will want to discuss this with you in more detail.

The biggest change you will notice is the coronavirus screening questionnaire all patients will be required to fill out and sign before being treated. The screening form will ask questions related to your exposure/possible exposure to COVID 19, as well as symptoms associated with the virus such as a fever over 100.5 degrees, dry cough, loss of smell or taste, etc. We will also be taking patient temperatures before we treat patients and will likely not treat you if your temperature is elevated.

We have always adhered to rigorous sterilization and disinfection protocols, but we will be even more vigilant in keeping our office safe for patients and staff. During the initial relaxation of the stay-at-home order, we will be wearing masks during the entirety of your appointment. Staff will be taking their own temperatures several times per day.

We will also minimize contact during appointment checkout.  For example, we may ask patients to insert their credit cards into our credit card machine. When the virus first appeared, we started disinfecting pens in between use, and will continue this practice.

Reduced Staff

We have several staff members in a higher risk category or who have family members  at high risk. For that reason, you will not be seeing some of those familiar friendly faces when we initially reopen. We hope that scientists will quickly identify the best ways to detect and treat the virus.  We look forward to the day when everyone is back at the office providing the wonderful care our patients have come to appreciate.

Wear Your Masks Into Our Office

While the stay-at-home order has been lifted, Colorado is moving to a “Safer at Home” phase per the governor’s office.  People are encourage to wear masks when away from home.  We would encourage our patients to wear their masks when they come into our office so as to help contain spread of the virus.

Going Forward

We are in new territory as we return to work with this virus still circulating. Patient and staff safety is very important to us.  Dr. Albers is closely monitoring all new developments and will modify office protocols as best practices evolve.
Our entire staff values the relationships and friendships we have developed with many of you over many years. We are excited to reopen and look forward to seeing you in the office in the very near future.

2020 Rocky Mountain Dental Convention

It’s January, which means it’s time for the 2020 Rocky Mountain Dental Convention (RMDC). This is an annual trip for the staff and me. Last year, I was a little jet-lagged as Carla and I had just returned from a dental mission trip in Fiji and Tarawa Atoll. This year, I was well rested until I caught that bad cold…. The good news is that everyone except Judy A (hygienist) was able to make the trip.

Why We Attend the RMDC

First and foremost, the conference allows us to attend lectures on issues relevant to how we practice dentistry. For example, I was able to attend a lecture on cracked teeth and another on composite fillings. The way we approach these classes is to know that while some information we already know, there’s almost always a nugget of information that makes it worth our time to attend. Staff members attended classes on dry mouth, nutrition, and other valuable topics. Michele spent time on classes that will help her more efficiently manage the front desk. All in all, another valuable conference.

The Dangers of Sugar

Several of us attended the class on nutrition. One key take-away is the growing body of evidence as to the negative health affects of sugar. As dental professionals, we have understood for a long time that sugar is not good for teeth. Our 2018 blog post Limit Sugar in your Diet highlights how sugar can impact dental health. What we are seeing more of, though, is research showing that sugar can have a negative affect on more than just dental health. Our lecturer suggested that the only sweetener he would recommend is Stevia, something Carla and I switched to last year.

New Equipment?

Another important aspect of the RMDC is the chance to see the latest in dental products and equipment. Vendors have information and products for us to see. It’s very possible that you will be seeing a new dental chair or two the next time you visit our office! And, over the next month, we will be switching to a VOIP phone system that integrates with our practice management software. We think this new system will allow us to be even more productive at the front desk.

Our Staff is the Best!

Carla and I have attended conferences in the past where we’ve seen and overheard employees “skipping” classes. I appreciate that our staff is genuinely interested in continuing dental education and they happily attend lectures, anxious to see what new information/technology/techniques can be brought back to the office. This dedication to excellence by everyone in our office directly impacts our ability to provide patients the best dental care possible.  The Rocky Mountain Dental Convention is an important event in our ability to continue to meet the needs of our patients.

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.