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

One of the first lessons a new dentist learns is that he or she can’t survive alone.  To be successful, a dentist has to have a good staff.staff2

Charlotte Dentistry® is blessed with having many of the best dental professionals in our region on our staff.  They are a big reason why we have continued to grow for more than 30 years, and they are vital to our future success.

A new dentist starting out has to be money-conscious, but one area where it never pays to scrimp is on key staff members.  Good staffers not only free up more of the dentist’s time so that he or she can concentrate on patients, but they make sure that everything runs properly so the dentist doesn’t have to spend hours after work trying to figure out insurance, billing, overhead, OSHA compliance, HR compliance, facility upgrades/renovations to name a few.

Typically, the first hires for a new dentist are an office manager, a hygienist and a dental assistant. These members should be considered key members of the team, and communications among team members is vital. When everyone communicates properly, people can help each other out, and more gets done.  The more that gets done, the more income the practice generates.

So a key question that a new dentist needs to ask about a new hire is: Can I work with this person.  Personality compatibility is important, but not as critical as honest communication.  An office manager that interrupts because a problem must be dealt with immediately is a better choice than one that lets trouble build because of protocol. Good managers tend to hire people who counteract weaknesses they may have.  As legendary adman David Ogilvy once said, “hire people bigger than you, and you become a company of giants.”

Professional credentials are important for new hires, but remember that in a new practice, people are going to be asked to do things outside their professional skill set, as part of the building process.  People who can do that will make the practice successful faster. Staff members who are willing to be flexible, versatile and exhibit self-drive and initiative are invaluable to the growth of the practice.

Are you a new dentist or considering a career in dentistry? Visit the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website to get questions answered.

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.

Hurray! You’ve started your new dental practice, and your shiny new office is open for business. You’re starting at a fairly empty appointment book.

It’s time to make sure your community knows you’re there and accepting NEW patients.

Actually, you should start thinking about this well before you open the doors to your practice. And it will take some significant effort on your part to make sure that people around your new business know about and what you do. It will also take some investment.

Every day, the average consumer is exposed to about 10,000 messages—ads, news reports, texts, phone calls, conversations, billboards, mailings, websites, etc.  On the average, we remember six.

Six.

So with all this clutter, it’s no wonder that you have to work to make sure peoples know about something new. Here are some ways to do that.

  • Get out and meet people. Go to chamber of commerce meetings, local business group lunches and other community events. Carry a stack of business cards, and let people know you’re starting a new practice. You’ll get people wishing you luck—and a few asking about how you might could help them.
  • Offer services for free to get started. This may include volunteering at community health fairs, or going to a large local employer and offering to help employees better understanding their dental insurance. You’ll get back more than you give.
  • Use low cost tools like public relations and social media. It doesn’t cost a lot to write a news release about your new practice for the local paper and to start a Facebook Page or blog. But it does make sure a lot of people know about you.
  • Be smart with signage; if your practice is on a busy street make sure you take advantage of it with professional attractive signage. People don’t think about a dentist every day; they usually only pay attention if they have a problem or it’s time for a checkup. Being visible when their awareness goes up is a good way to get a call for an appointment.
  • Make sure your website reflects the quality of your business.  More than 70% of initial meaningful contacts between a business and a new customer now come thru a website.
  • Invest in smart advertising.  It’s much easier to target advertising today, especially with online services and direct mail. Work with professionals to target key demographics for your practice.  You’ll save money while building business.

Are you a new dentist or considering a career in dentistry? Are you looking for sound business suggestions? Use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website to get questions answered.

Oral rinses, or mouthwashes, have a variety of purposes. Some are cosmetic in nature and offer only a fresh breath. Others are used to whiten teeth. Many others are used therapeutically, to fight gum disease, kill bacteria, control plaque and tartar, and to prevent cavities.  Your doctor or dentist may also prescribe special oral rinses to deal with specific issue such as thrush or to promote healing after surgery.

The effectiveness of oral rinses is a subject of significant debate, although research shows that most have benefits.  But it’s important to remember that oral rinses by themselves are not a substitute for other oral hygiene.  It’s still important to brush and floss—in fact, these are still typically more important than using oral rinses.

And remember that most effects of oral rinses are temporary—they can mask bad breath, for example, but typically only for a few hours.  If you have persistent bad breath, it may be caused by infection or other condition, and you should promptly consult your dentist or a physician.

However, when used in conjunction with proper brushing and flossing, or if prescribed by your dentist or doctor for a specific condition, oral rinses can be a very important tool for helping you have a healthy mouth and a bright smile.

Have a question?  Use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our website, or give us a call.

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.

Tooth whitening techniques have given millions of people bright, gleaming, “movie star” smiles. Smiling Woman

But are these teeth really healthy?

If you’re just making sure your teeth are white, but aren’t doing other things for good dental hygiene like regular professional cleanings and checkups, you could be asking for trouble.

Whitening systems may keep your teeth sparkling, but they may also be masking plaque and tartar buildup, which can cause gum inflammation and lead to both tooth and gum problems.

Many people think that since their smile is still bright, they can postpone a dental visit for a cleaning until their teeth start to dim.  But teeth still should be professionally cleaned (preferably every six months) not just to help keep them bright, but to remove deposits that cause problems.

So if you’re proud of your smile, but haven’t been for a checkup in a while, it’s a good thing to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Because you want to keep your smile not just white, but also healthy.

To learn more about how to make your smile as bright and healthy as possible, visit our website, and use the “Ask the Expert” feature to get your questions answered.

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”.

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.Doctor talking with patient

Starting a dental practice is an exciting—and scary—time, as we remember when Charlotte Dentistry was founded some 35 years ago.  Building a practice takes an investment in time, in people, in business resources, and, especially today, in technology.

People are the first key to success.  For a new dentist to be successful, he or she first must find skilled, professional people who also build the practice by providing the proper support, patient relations, and effective office skills.  Many talented dentists fail in their own practices simply because they don’t have the support they need for the business side of the operations.  Charlotte Dentistry has been blessed with dedicated professionals on the business side of our practice (many of whom have been with us for many years).  They make it possible for our dental professionals to concentrate on giving patients the best possible care.

Investing back into the practice is the next key to success.  It’s tempting for a young dentist, who may be just getting married, starting a family, and establishing a home to take home many of the profits from the business.  But the dental professionals who succeed are the ones who put money back into their businesses to make sure they have the right equipment and people to keep the practice moving forward.  It’s an ongoing process:  Charlotte Dentistry continues to invest back into the practice, because we know our business is continually changing, and we have to keep up.

And a third—and perhaps most important—key is investing back into the patients’ and community you serve.  A new dental practice can advertise and promote (and it must), but it must also build trust with patients and people who may someday become patients.  Word of mouth for a good dental reputation is the best advertising your practice can “buy”.

You do that one person at a time. So build trusting relationships with everyone you come in contact with and your practice will grow quickly!

That’s why we still make sure we take time to answer every question that a patient may ask.  That’s why we sponsor community events, and why our staff participate in scores of different community organizations.  The people we serve have been very good to us.  We feel a responsibility to give back.  And by giving back, we make our practice that much stronger.

To any new dentist out there who’s just starting out:  We wish you the best of luck.  It’s a great way to make a living and a great way to help a lot of people.

Questions? Or just need a sounding board, contact us at “Ask The Expert”.

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.

Congratulations!  You’ve completed your dental degree and passed your licensing exam.Grand Opening

What do you do now?

Starting a dental practice is a daunting task, because you face the challenge of building a patient base, acquiring equipment, working with staff, and learning about the business aspects of a practice.

Many brand-new dentists choose to join an established practice while learning more about the business and building a base of satisfied patients.  Over the years, Charlotte Dentistry has helped many fine professionals begin their careers this way.  Some have even chosen to say to continue to contribute to our organization’s growth.  The big advantage of this is that you’re not having to invest in a whole new office (especially on top of dental school loans), and you get the benefit of being mentored by experienced dentists who have been in practice for many years.

But some young dentists may choose to build their own dental office from day one.  There are resources that can help; states or cities may provide incentives to work in remote locations where dentists haven’t been available so that residents have access to care.  In some cases, new dentists can work off student loan debt or get equipment by agreeing to work in these communities for a certain period of time.

Other organizations, such as the military and the Veterans Administration, may also provide incentives—and a starting point—for a dentist fresh out of school.

There are numerous ways to build a practice, and for good professionals, following good business models will lead to success and a rewarding career.

Need to bounce your thoughts off a successful professional, visit “Ask The Expert” to receive sound business management suggestions.

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