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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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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.

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.

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

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.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.

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.

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