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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.

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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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Men's healthWe’ve discussed women’s special dental health requirements, and while men don’t have the same hormone-based issues as women, they do need to know some important things about their dental health.

The first is simple: Most men need to go to their dentists more often.

Men are much more likely to neglect their teeth and gums than women, often avoiding going to the dentist for years, and ONLY going when they have a problem they can’t attempt to solve themselves. On average most men will lost 5.4 teeth by the time they’re 72. If they’re smokers, the average is 12 teeth.

And it’s not just teeth to be concerned about. Inflammation of the gums from tartar and plaque can lead to gingivitis and other periodontal health issues. Even more serious is the evidence that suggests that oral inflammation may even be a contributor to heart disease.

So, if you’re a male and you’re coming to the realization that maybe you should take better care of your teeth, here’s what you should do:

  1. Schedule a checkup, even if you haven’t gone to the dentist in years. Your dentist knows the statistics and probably won’t give you a lecture. He or she will just be glad to see you.
  2. Brush. And floss. Or think about spending a little more time on them.
  3. Don’t wait until that funny feeling in your tooth feels more like a jackhammer that’s on fire. We know you’re tough. We’d just prefer you be tough with teeth.

Call Charlotte Dentistry® today to schedule a checkup, or you can do it online at www.charlottedentistry.com. You can also use the “Ask The Expert” feature on our website to get answers to your questions.

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