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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.

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!

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.

It’s too easy, especially when we’re younger, to take our teeth for granted. After all, teeth are supposed to last a lifetime, right?Smiling Female Basketball Player

But, unfortunately, many people discover—often too late—that tooth and gum problems have gotten out of control, and that they’re faced with the real possibility of losing their teeth.

How do you avoid this? The answer is simpler than you think: Brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups.

Dental technology continues to advance, and create new ways to keep your teeth healthy and to help you recover from dental problems. But it’s still the basics—brushing, flossing, and regular checkups—that make the most difference. And they’re the least expensive.

There are even studies that show flossing can add as much as 6.4 years to your life. Research at Emory University suggests that flossing helps keep your immune system younger. The bacteria that cause gum disease trigger an inflammation response that can cause arteries to swell, triggering cardiovascular disease.

So good dental hygiene may not only help you keep your teeth for life, but it may also make your life significantly longer.

Visit CharlotteDentistry.com to get answers about your dental health or to schedule a cleaning.

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.

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.

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