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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.

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.

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.

Smiling Business Team at ComputerPart 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 your dental practice begins to grow, you start reaching limitations based primarily on your time—after all; you can only perform so many examinations and procedures.  You can add some growth by improving the efficiency of your operations—having dental assistants or hygienists handle more basic tasks, and having office staff take on more management duties.  But at some point, you will max out your ability to do more work.

That’s where the idea of taking on partners or associates comes in.  You increase the available-to-sell time for dental procedures, and you share office and staffing expenses.  There are, however, a few challenges to finding the right professionals to fit into your mix.

First is the fact that there are more dentists retiring than there are entering practice, so finding new dentists willing to join your practice can be a challenge.  Since they’re in demand, you may find that you have to offer more incentives or money to get good people on board.  This can still be more than worthwhile, but it’s important to understand market conditions as your start your search—you may find it more difficult than you imagined.

The second key issue to consider is whether you’re willing to have an actual partner versus an associate or associates.  Partnership means sharing management decisions (and responsibilities) and sharing the profits of the practice.  If you take on associates, you keep most of the management control and ultimately control of the practice finances, but you may find that you’re spending more time on the business and less with patients.

A number of consulting and recruiting firms have been created to help dentists as they expand.  And if you have specific questions, use the “Ask the Expert” feature of 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.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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