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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.

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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.

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!

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.

As a new dentist growing your practice, communications tools are vital. And one of the most important is a website loaded withstaying connected useful information about you and proper dental care.

Research shows that more than 70% of initial meaningful contacts between a business and a customer now come through a business website, so your website is, in many ways, your most important communications project. There are a number of reasons for this. Websites are convenient—people can access them at any time, and, with the expansion of smart phones, from anywhere. They’re anonymous—a potential customer can evaluate you without having to talk to a salesperson, which is important for someone who wants to investigate without making any type of commitment. And they typically contain the most current information about the business (or at least they should).

Fortunately, new web building platforms make it easy for people who don’t know much about web programming to build a useful, active web presence. Platforms like WordPress let you add content as easily as using a word processor, and have many available add-ons and widgets to enhance functionality. There are even website services that specialize in helping dental practices create custom websites.
NOTE: Even if you plan on managing your site yourself, it’s a good idea to seek professional help with the initial design. A professionally-planned and designed website helps you make a good first impression (very important), and makes it easy for you to continue to add content on your own later.

And keep in mind that it’s very important not just to include information about your practice, but about good dental care in general. This helps build confidence among prospective patients that you’re focused on their well-being, not just your business.

To learn more, use our “Ask The Expert” feature on 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.Dental Chair

One big challenge of starting a new dental practice is choosing equipment. And like with many other aspects of practice startup, you need to look at needs down the road, as well as what you have to have immediately.

When deciding upon equipment, the first step is typically to consider office workflow—how many patients will you be treating at a given time, and how many staff members will be working simultaneously? Look for potential bottlenecks caused by equipment—or the lack of it. You may discover that smarter equipment purchases revolve around eliminating situations where some staffers must waste billable time while waiting for equipment to become available.

There’s also the question of purchasing new versus used equipment. Thanks to the internet, it’s now possible to locate a number of resources that can offer both new and used goods. Used equipment suppliers often inspect and refurbish equipment before offering it for resale, so a new practice can save money.

But remember—you still get what you pay for, so check out any online source before buying, and keep in mind that the useful life of used equipment (even if it is in good shape) may not be as long as new merchandise. Also consider what happens should a piece of equipment require maintenance or repair—will it being offline shut down your ability to work? Choose function over style, especially as you’re starting out.

To learn more, use the “Ask The Expert” feature of our website.

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.

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.

So you’re headed off to college, and you’re considering the idea of becoming a dentist.  What do you study?students thinking

There is no formal undergraduate major required for students who want to go to dental school.  But most dental schools have well-defined requirements for science courses, including chemistry, physics, math, and biology.  Many students considering dental school choose a science major for their undergraduate work, which prepares them for a postgraduate dental program.

However, this is not the only path to dental school.  A number of colleges offer pre-dental programs, which can accelerate the student’s course of study.  In some cases, instead of completing a bachelor’s degree, the pre-dental program allows the student to move through undergraduate studies faster and begin graduate work at a dental school level.  Such programs may allow a student to complete a dental school degree in fewer years by including courses such as organic chemistry and microbiology required by dental schools.

A pre-dental program also helps students prepared for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) required for admission into dental school.

Either approach to undergraduate study can provide the right preparation for dental school.  It depends on your personal preferences, schools you prefer to attend, and—in some cases—program cost.

Need to know more?  High school guidance counselors can also provide information. In some communities, the Boy Scouts offer an Explorer program that features dentistry as a career.  The American Dental Association website has a special section devoted to education, just click here.

And you can always use the “Ask The Expert” feature of our website to get answers.  We’re glad to help.

Invisalign Elite TOP 1%Taquana “Tabby” Sears: My Invisalign® Ride: And The Ride Goes On. . .

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.

At last weeks visit, I picked up trays 7-9. HOPEFULLY these are the last trays to complete my Invisalign journey. The one stubborn tooth has finally begun to move and make some real progress! I can definitely see the positioning of this tooth improving.

This has been an incredible ride. People who don’t know I have been wearing Invisalign still can’t tell. I constantly get compliments on my smile!
People always ask, “Who IS your dentist?” I proudly say with my new smile beaming – “Dr. Armstrong at Charlotte Dentistry is MY dentist and I love what he and Invisalign have accomplished with my smile!”

Since I’m an adult working in the Charlotte corporate scene, I know Invisalign was definitely the right choice for me as opposed to non-removable braces. I can conduct meetings without my braces being a distraction. Also, Invisalign doesn’t cut or scrap lips, gum and inside of your cheeks as wire braces tend to do.
This entire journey has been with almost NO discomfort. Yes, in the beginning, there were times when I experienced a good amount of tightness. This was typically on the first day I changed out to a new tray. However, the next day, all was fine again. The tightness would decrease and I was totally fine! No complaints from me. I am thoroughly pleased with the results I have today. Looking forward to continuing life with my new beautiful smile!

Thinking about getting Invisalign? Drop me line. I would be glad to answer any questions you may have.
You can also get answers on Invisalign by using the “Ask The Expert” feature on the Charlotte Dentistry website. Click here.

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®, including ups and downs. Below is her latest blog entry.

I hoped on this visit that I would be completely finished with my Invisalign treatment.  But I’m not quite there yet.

I learned that one of my upper teeth—number 11—is being very stubborn. New upper trays are needed to move this tooth into proper alignment. AlignerMy bottom teeth are perfect, so I’m very happy about that.
In the past, to get new trays, the dentist would have to take messy, putty like impressions of my teeth (that sometime make you gag). But time it was different—and really cool!

Charlotte Dentistry has a great new piece of equipment, the iTero Digital Impression machine. It takes 3-D images of my teeth. As the pictures are taken, they appear on a computer screen and even tell the operator if the tooth or area needs to be re-scanned.  It built a 3D model of my teeth right before my eyes!

VERY high-tech.

And the accuracy of the models made from these 3-D images is better than regular impressions. The new trays should arrive in 4 weeks. So the Invisalign ride goes on…..

Dr. Armstrong did some smoothing and shaping of a few teeth and also provided bleaching solution and instructions on how to use it. Now I will have a BRIGHT white, straight smile!

The Charlotte Dentistry team and Dr. Armstrong have made my Invisalign journey a wonderful experience. I’m so pleased with the result so far. I can hardly wait to see the finished product – MY beautiful smile!

I’m always glad to share my experience so if you’re considering orthodontics, drop me a line!

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