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Candy is a great way to show you care about someone, but even better is when you go a step further.Valentine's candy

Valentine’s Day sweets don’t necessarily show a lot of love for your smile. But there are ways to make taking care of your loved ones’ teeth part of the holiday fun.

Many parents celebrate the holiday by giving their kids Valentine’s candy, and though dental professional stress moderation with sugary treats, most discourage depriving kids of holiday experiences.  Treats shouldn’t be forbidden (that can create a lot of other issues)–kids just need to know that with them comes some responsibility.

So here are some tips for making Valentine candy a sweeter experience for everyone’s teeth.

1.  As you’re picking up candy, also get new toothbrushes along with their favorite tooth paste for everyone.  Brushes should be changed every 3-4 months, and having a new brush reinforces the idea that brushing is an important part of the holiday.  (If you followed the same procedure at Halloween, Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to change brushes again.)

2.  Designate times for treats, followed immediately by brushing.  No one should nosh on candy all day long (or too close to meals or bedtime), so pick times for kids to enjoy their sweets.  Follow up right after with brushing.

3. Remember that quality can be much better than quantity.  So instead of a big bag of candy, smaller supplies of better chocolates can limit the risk of sweets.  In fact, you can impress your sweetheart with a combination of flowers, cards, and just a couple of great sweets, because you’ve obviously put a lot of thought into choosing “just the right mix” of gifts.

Want to know more?  Use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website to get questions answered and to learn other good dental care tips.

Businessman Reading DocumentPart of our ongoing series on careers in dentistry.  Charlotte Dentistry® encourages young people to consider the dental profession, and welcomes any questions you may have.

Dentistry, like any business, continually changes.  New techniques and materials become available, and it’s important for a new dentist to stay up to date on these.  This builds your credibility—and it also puts you in a position to take advantage of new ideas faster than established practices which may have invested heavily in old techniques and are more reluctant to change.

All professions require continuing education, and that should be part of helping keep your practice fresh.  But that’s just meeting the requirements of the law.  To really make sure your practice stays on the leading edge, you typically need to do more.

So it’s good to set aside some time periodically to look at new ideas.  Don’t limit these to dental procedures.  Also look to see if there are better ways to run your business, communicate with your customers, and develop and manage your staff.

In many cases, you may find that a combination of ideas relating to different areas of your practice are what really helps you build your business.

Questions?  Use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website.

Part of our ongoing series on careers in dentistry. Charlotte Dentistry® encourages young people to consider the dental profession, and welcomes any questions you may have.Scheduling

As a professional, you’re selling your time and expertise. How you manage your time is a key factor in your practice success. With this in mind, there has been a lot of study directed toward helping dental practices maximize their scheduling efficiency.

In fact, there are a number of computer programs and consultants that work with practices to counsel them on best practices for efficiency.

But before you can take full advantage of these services and products, you have to have a basic understanding of what makes an efficient practice. Here are some considerations:

1. Break things down. If your year’s goal for your practice is $1 million in revenue, consider what that means for each day’s production. Then consider how different areas within your practice contribute—cleaning and hygiene, for example. Look at your daily goals, your monthly goals, and your yearly goal, and see how you’re shaping up.

2. Time yourself and your staff. Look at how long it takes to do different procedures, and then compare that with industry averages. If you take longer than average to do something, look at why—is it an equipment issue? A staff issue? A personal preference? Use this information to determine your practice’s strengths and weakness, and how they affect scheduling.

3. Review and critique your performance periodically. That goes for everyone in the practice. Seek suggestions on ways to improve—and reach out beyond your practice to look at what other dentists do to make their practices more efficient.

Questions? Use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website.

gogreenAs a part of our ongoing process, Charlotte Dentistry® continues to look for ways to make our business greener and more sustainable. We look for ways to better care for our world, we’re not just caring for our patients’ teeth – we’re caring and preparing for the generations to come.

Many businesses have taken advantage of electronics to reduce the need for as much paper and to speed up operations.  Dentistry is also working toward “chartless” operations.  There are many benefits to this—both for the environment and for patients.

Electronic storage of patient records makes it easier for dental professionals to access key information and determine the best patient treatments.  It also allows for easier record updates and it dramatically reduces the space required for records—a single patient record can contain dozens of pages.

Electronics also speed up information gathering and allow us to treat patients with fewer delays.  Charlotte Dentistry® offers patients the option to schedule appointments online through our website for speed and convenience, and we access their records electronically so everything’s ready when they arrive at the office.  New patients can download forms at home, complete the forms before coming to their appointment —not completely paperless, but it still speeds up the process.  Patients can also email the completed form to the office prior to their arrival.

And for dentists, digital isn’t just about paper.  Digital x-ray technology eliminates the need to process and store x-ray films.  Digital x-rays also expose patients to a fraction of the radiation of old technologies, and, since digital images are easier to understand than film, they make it simpler for patients to choose treatment options as the dentist explains them.  Digital x-ray images can also be transferred immediately to other dental offices in case of a referral—or an emergency.

The dental industry is continually changing, and Charlotte Dentistry has always been a leader in bringing in new technologies that offer benefits to our patients.  Learn more on our website—you can even use the “Ask the Expert” feature to get specific details if you’d like.

trayTaquana “Tabby” Sears, a Charlotte Dentistry® patient, has agreed to share her Invisalign® experience with us on a regular basis. For the last several months, she’s given us reports on how she’s doing with Invisalign® invisible braces, including ups and downs. Below is her latest blog entry.

During my last visit, I picked up trays 7-9 out of a set of 12. Looks like I’m back on the home stretch. This time, I’m almost confident this is the final stage. My stubborn canine has really made some progress.

I was informed that canines can have extremely long roots. This explains why this journey has been extended just for this one tooth. However, it’s now on the move! My perfect smile is right around the corner!

One of the things I’ve learned is that you can become too relaxed when having to wear Invisalign for so long. My 18 month Invisalign ride has now been extended to a little over 24 months because of a couple of unexpected issues, so I must remain disciplined.

It is important to wear each tray for at least 20 hours per day. It is also important to carry toothpaste and toothbrush everywhere you go. This way your teeth and trays can be cleaned when needed.  As you start getting close to finishing, it’s tempting to relax a little, but I stay focused on my goal:  a fantastic smile.  And thanks to Invisalign, I’m getting very close.

My ride still continues, but it’s coming to an end very soon! Please continue to follow my Invisalign ride. I will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

You can also get questions about Invisalign answered by using the “Ask The Expert” feature on our website, or by calling               Charlotte Dentistry at 704-376-6470.  We are delighted to help!

Your big day is coming up, and you want your smile to be as white as your dress. Wedding “smile makeovers” are becoming more and more common, for brides AND often whole wedding parties.newlywed couple standing with their parents

Even if you’re down to the last minute, there are a number of things that can still be done to make your smile brighter. Charlotte Dentistry® offers both in-office and at-home whitening systems.

The Zoom! in-office whitening method is one of the most efficient ways to get a bright, white smile. Zoom! works in 60 minutes and last longer than at home whitening treatments, depending on your eating or drinking habits. Zoom! has been proven to whiten teeth as much as 6-8 shades with just one treatment.

If you’d prefer a whitening treatment you can do at home, then we offer Sheer White. Sheer White uses thin, flexible films that apply easily and mold to your teeth, staying in place. This film molds tightly and applies the whitening agent directly to the surface of the tooth, unlike over-the-counter treatments that can wash out or leak.  Both systems are fast, painless, and a great way to get good results!

If you’d like to make bigger changes to your smile, here are some other options:
Veneers can be used to give you a white smile AND fix significant imperfections and gaps. For smaller issues, cosmetic contouring can reshape teeth and update your smile. And if you’ve got a longer timeframe before the wedding, some brides have even opted for braces to make permanent improvements that they can enjoy anniversary after anniversary.

So it might be a good idea to include a smile makeover on your wedding checklist, to make your day even more special. For advice on what are the best options for you, call for an appointment or use the “Contact Us” feature on our website to schedule an appointment.

Taquana “Tabby” Sears, a Charlotte Dentistry® patient, has agreed to share her Invisalign® experience with us on a regular basis. For the last several months, she’s given us reports on how Jumping for Joyshe’s doing with Invisalign® invisible braces, including ups and downs. Below is her latest blog entry.

Last week I picked up trays 4-6 of a set of 12. During my visit, it has been confirmed that my stubborn canine is on the move! That’s exciting! This means, this may be my last set of revisions. So now, I really am in the home stretch of treatment.

During my treatment, I have definitely had some ups and downs. However, it has all been worth it. I am definitely more confident. I used to cover my mouth when I smiled to hide my teeth. Now, I smile wide and often! I am so pleased with the results so far.

I would be content if my treatment ended today. Knowing I have 3 more months is exciting because if I’m pleased with the results today, imagine how excited I will be when it’s all over!

Invisalign has definitely changed my life for the better. I look forward to seeing the end result. Thank you for continuing to follow my Invisalign journey. I will be glad to answer any questions you may have. AND IF you’re making your Christmas list, add Invisalign from Charlotte Dentistry to the TOP.

For those of you who may not know, Charlotte Dentistry and Dr. Thomas Armstrong were the FIRST Charlotte area dentists to achieve TOP honors for Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® orthodontics. Having treated more 2000 patients with Invisalign, Dr. Armstrong is the most experienced Invisalign Elite Preferred Provider in North Carolina and ranks in the TOP 1% of Invisalign providers in the nation!

Unlike traditional metal braces that everyone can see, Invisalign is completely invisible and undetectable. Plus, Invisalign will not hold you back because you can completely remove your aligners to eat, drink, brush and floss. You will also enjoy the comfort of not feeling irritation to your gums and cheeks because unlike metal braces, Invisalign has smooth edges.

Charlotte Dentistry also regularly has special offers on Invisalign, and these can save you money.  To learn more, simply visit our Invisalign page by clicking HERE

Part of our ongoing series on careers in dentistry.  Charlotte Dentistry® encourages young people to consider the dental profession, and welcomes any questions you may have.

Many dental students, as they start looking at their careers and how they want to develop them, begin weighing whether or not it would be better to have a general dentistry practice or to concentrate on a specialty.Dentist

There are advantages to each.

The demand for general dentistry continues to grow, and many new dentists will find that they can be successful in general dentistry from the moment they leave school.  Developing a practice in general dentistry is aided by the fact that virtually everyone needs general dental care, and even in cities with established dentists, there are locations where a new dentist can do well.  General dentistry requires less training than a specialty, and graduates can get through school faster and begin earning to pay off school loans more quickly.

Specialties, however, are more lucrative in the long run.  Currently, the American Dental Association recognizes nine specialty areas of practice:   Dental Public Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Pediatric Dentistry, Peridontics, Prosthodontics, and Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

There is more training involved with specialties, both in dental school and in keeping abreast of new procedures and technologies after graduation, but specialists typically have patient loads that compensation for the extra investment.  Many of their patients are referred by general dentistry practices.

Many practices may ultimately combine both, as Charlotte Dentistry® does with general dentistry, where our general practice dentists have successfully completed extensive specialized training in Orthodontics, Prosthodontics and Endodontics.  This has allowed us to continue building our practice, and given us opportunities to better serve patients who need specialized care at one familiar location.

To learn more, use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website.  We’re glad to answer questions from people interested in dentistry as a career.

Taquana “Tabby” Sears, a Charlotte Dentistry® patient, has agreed to share her Invisalign® experience with us on a regular basis. For the last several months, she’s given us reports on how she’s doing with Invisalign® invisible braces, including ups and downs. Below is her latest blog entry.

Dr. Armstrong has stated from the very beginning, that canines can be very stubborn. Well, he was right! My canine (tooth #11), is definitely taking its time!

This week, I picked up trays 1-3 out of a set of 12. That’s right—no typo—12 new trays.  I have a new set of 12 for this one stubborn tooth. So, it looks like we have another 6 months to go. The ride continues. It looks like my 18-month Invisalign ride has been extended to 2 years.

No complaints here though! I am willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

My sister completed her Invisalign treatment earlier this year. Her orthodontist gave her all her trays up front. I couldn’t understand why Dr. Armstrong and Charlotte Dentistry only gave me 3 trays at a time. But now I know why.

Having all the trays up front can make it tempting to change the trays sooner than every 2 weeks to get faster results. If your teeth move too fast, it can cause root damage. I don’t want root damage, so have followed—and continue to follow—the doctor’s orders and wear each tray for the full 2 weeks.

During this ride, I have become much more disciplined in my oral health. I am very diligent about flossing and brushing after every meal. I also brush my trays before I put them back in my mouth. Keeping a clean, healthy mouth is very important especially when wearing Invisalign. Invisalign fits your teeth like a glove. So, if your teeth are not clean, it is easier for bacteria to grow, which can create cavities (not to mention bad breath.)

So the road to my beautiful smile just got a little longer. However, I’m so excited to see the end result!

I hope you all continue to follow my ongoing Invisalign ride! I would be glad to answer any questions you may have.

As a part of our ongoing process, Charlotte Dentistry® continues to look for ways to make our business greener and more sustainable. We look for ways to better care for our world, we’re not just caring for our patients’ teeth – we’re caring and preparing for the generations to come.Go Green

In looking for ways to better care for our patients’ and our staff, we find new “greener” technology to help us along the way.

Here’s an example:  We put procedures in place to protect our patients from germs and bacteria by using steam heat to clean dental instruments.  This process has been around for years but businesses were not readily using the process due to the expense.  We purchased a huge autoclave to ensure that instruments were thoroughly clean for the next patient.

The instruments for most prevalent dental procedures are placed in individual cassettes and cleaned in the giant autoclave. The cassettes also contain gauze and other materials that might be needed for the procedure so everything is sterilized together.  Each cassette is wrapped in paper and sterilized for the next use. The steam cleaning is much more economical and efficient for cleaning the instruments as well as much better for the environment. This process also does not expose our staff or patients’ to harmful chemicals.

When your dental hygienist or dental assistant provides the wrapped cassette of instruments for your next dental procedure, you can be assured that it has been prepared especially for you!

Charlotte Dentistry is always looking for ways to make our business, greener, more sustainable and more efficient for our patients’ and our staff.  We invite you to follow our “green” journey in the next few blogs.  If you have questions or suggestions, visit us at “Ask the Expert”.

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