Charlotte Office
300 Billingsley Rd Ste 202
Charlotte, NC 28211

(704) 347-2557
Matthews Office
1230 Mann Dr Ste 100
Matthews, NC 28105

(704) 845-5538
Mallard Creek Office
1824 East Arbors Dr Ste 380
Charlotte, NC 28262

(704) 697-1190

What questions do you have for the LandMark Dentistry dentists?

How do you become a dentist?

Due to the specific and specialized nature of dentistry, the training and education does require a difficult regimen of pre-requisite courses, the Dental Admissions Exam (DAT), interviews and of course dental school.  Although, not required, it is very rare that a candidate enters a dental program without first receiving a bachelor’s degree.  The completion of the pre-requisites and/or bachelor’s degree will typically take four years.  Dental school itself is an additional four years that includes a rigorous course curriculum, labs, and clinical time with live patients.  Each school varies in their program, but ultimately results in the doctor graduating with either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD).  Licensing to practice requires completion of a series of both written and clinical board examinations, and continuing education is required to renew a dental license each year.

All of the LandMark dentists have completed these requirements and have been awarded their degrees from the following accredited programs:

  • Mark A. Tripp, DDS:  University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Dentistry in London, ON, Canada
  • Andre G. Brun, DMD:  McGill University School of Dentistry in Montreal, QC, Canada
  • Jennifer A. Slaughter, DMD:  Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine in Charleston, SC
  • Armen Balasanyan, DDS:  Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis, IN
  • Samuel Randall, DDS:  Ohio State University College of Dentistry in Columbus, OH
  • Ashley Walsh, DDS:  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill, NC
  • Anait Balasanyan, DDS:  Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis, IN

Dentists also have the option of specializing in a particular area of dentistry.  These specialists are required to complete additional courses and clinical requirements to achieve their specialized degree.  The programs range from two years to six years, depending on the specialty.  Although efficiently trained and highly skilled in all procedures, there may be times throughout your treatment that your general dentist will need to refer you to a specialist.  These specialty fields are pediatrics, orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics and oral surgery.

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Visiting the dentist regularly is one of the most important things you can do for your oral and overall health.  Having a preventive care appointment that includes a thorough exam from your dentist and hygienist is the best way to monitor your tooth and periodontal health, as well as the soft tissues of your mouth.  Often times the last way dental disease presents itself is through pain.  There are many early warning signs that your dentist and hygienist are trained to look for to allow of intervention before you are in pain.  Additionally, almost your entire body is linked to your mouth!  If there is disease in your mouth, there is a risk of that disease spreading to your other body systems.

Here are some of the benefits of seeing your dentist and hygienist on a regular basis:

  • Evaluation of the soft tissues of the head, neck and mouth
    • This is part of the oral disease and cancer screening and allows your doctor to monitor these areas for any signs of suspicious lesions that may need to be treated
  • Evaluation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
    • Jaw pain is very common among patients.  There are indicators that your dentist can look for that will help to diagnose TMJ Disorder.  Some of these indicators/symptoms are:
      • Clicking/popping of the jaw
      • Waking up with headaches or getting a headache throughout the day
      • Muscle tension
      • Tooth wear patterns
  • Periodontal (gum and supportive tissue) examination and diagnosis
    • Depending on your diagnosis your dentist may indicate that you need to be seen for additional therapy before going back to a recall schedule, or that you may need to be seen on a more frequent basis to maintain and monitor your periodontal status.
  • Mechanical removal of plaque and calculus
    • For healthy patients:  the hygienist will stay above the gum line
    • Gingivitis patients:  the hygienist will stay above the gum line, but an additional visit may be indicated
    • Periodontal patients:  additional visits will be necessary for non-surgical therapy; at those visits the hygienist will remove plaque and calculus that is below the gum line on the root surface of your tooth; a 3-4 month recall schedule is indicated with these patients to maintain the current periodontal status and monitor for any signs of progression
  • Early detection of dental tooth disease
    • Cavities often do not present with pain and depending on their location may not be visible to the eye.  With radiographs, your dentist can detect and diagnose treatment for lesions that may be in between your teeth before you know they are there!
    • Other diagnosing factors include
      • Fracture lines
      • Old/broken down fillings that are compromising the tooth
      • Prior root canal therapy without a final restoration
      • Infection around the root of the tooth (only visible on the radiograph) or within the supporting bony structures
  • Indication of other major health issues:  periodontal disease has been linked to the following medical conditions:
    • Hypertension/high blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Liver disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Colon cancer
    • And many more!

Controlling these medical conditions can help to reduce the severity of your periodontal disease and vice versa.  It is incredibly important to treat and maintain periodontal disease to avoid contribution of these bacteria to any other medical issues

How often should I see the dentist?

It is widely known that patients should see their dentists a minimum of every six months for a preventive visit.  This is not only an industry standard, but is the recommendation of the American Dental Association.  However, every patient and every case is different.  Depending on your periodontal diagnosis, rate of calculus formation, and other health factors that may affect your oral health your dentist may recommend seeing you on a more frequent basis.  Some common reasons to see a patient more frequently are:

  • Periodontal Disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Health conditions (i.e. uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension)
  • Patients in orthodontic brackets
  • Patients with Sjogren’s Syndrome or severe dry mouth

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

YES!  It is imperative to maintain a regular recall schedule while in brackets.  It is more difficult to clean around the brackets and wires, which can lead to gingivitis or gingival overgrowth (extra gum tissue) as well as cavities around the brackets and/or in between the teeth.  Many times our patients come in more than twice a year while in active orthodontic treatment (braces) in order to maintain optimal oral health.

At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?

At LandMark Dentistry we typically see children starting around age 3.  However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) does recommend a child seeing a dental professional by 6 months of age, or when their first tooth comes into the mouth.  This helps the child to get used to the dental office, as well as instilling in them the need for dental care as early as possible.  

Primary teeth are incredibly important to the growing child and should be cleaned and treated for disease if necessary in order to maintain the teeth until the proper time for exfoliation (when the teeth fall out) to make room for the permanent teeth to erupt.  Think of the primary teeth as a placeholder for the permanent teeth; they are big enough for the child’s small jaw and keep the spacing of the teeth as the child grows.  Around age 6 the primary teeth will start to exfoliate and this will continue until about age 12.  Because of this large span of time, it is very important to ensure that your children are receiving excellent dental care at a young age.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

Using a soft bristle tooth brush and a pea size amount of fluoridated toothpaste, you should be brushing a minimum of twice a day for two minutes each time.  Flossing with an unwaxed floss should be done a minimum of once a day, but ideally flossing every time you brush will help keep your mouth at its best!

  • Brushing and flossing in the morning removes any acid that was produced during the night by the bacteria in your mouth.  It also freshens your breath for the day!  Brushing after breakfast is preferable to remove any debris from your morning meal before starting your day!
  • Brushing and flossing at night removes all the plaque from the day and gives your mouth a clean slate before bed.  Due to a reduced saliva flow, the lack of tongue movement, and sleeping with our mouths open the bacteria in your mouth go crazy if they are given the opportunity to feed on any unremoved plaque at night.  Brushing and flossing should be the very last thing you do before bed.

“Brush your teeth at night to keep your teeth.  Brush your teeth in the morning to keep your friends!”

What kind of brush and floss should I be using?

When choosing a brush and floss you can easily become overwhelmed with the dental hygiene aisle.  The thing you want to look for in the brush, regardless of the brand or shape of the brush, is a brush with extra-soft or soft bristles only!  Medium and hard bristle brushes can erode your gums and are very rough to the enamel of your teeth.  We want to be effective in removing plaque from our teeth, but not at the expense of our dental health!

An electric brush will be more effective in plaque removal than a manual brush.  It is doing a lot of the work for you!  However, there are a lot of electric brushes on the market now as well.  The Sonicare electric brush has a gentle up and down vibration that is extremely effective at removing plaque and debris on the teeth and at the gumline.  All of the dentists at LandMark Dentistry use and recommend the Sonicare if you are looking to switch to an electric brush.

When it comes to floss, the options are just as overwhelming as choosing a brush.  For effective interproximal (in between the teeth) plaque removal an unwaxed floss is recommended.  The fibers of the floss should grip plaque and debris from under the gum and pull it out of the pocket.  If you are using a waxed floss, it has a coating that prevents the floss fibers from effectively grabbing and removing the plaque.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

It is recommended that you change your toothbrush or brush head a minimum of every three months.  You can of course change it more frequently, but after three months the bristles of your brush become less effective as they are worn out from all that brushing you have been doing!  If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, consider changing your brush every six to eight weeks in order to keep the spread of periodontal bacteria to a minimum.  You should also change your brush any time you are sick to prevent reinfection.

What are the most important things I should be doing between dental visits?

  • Brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, make sure to get all tooth surfaces and the gumline
  • Floss one to two times a day.  If you are flossing once a day, make sure to do so at night.
  • We recommend using a toothpaste that has fluoride in the formulation.  Most commercial toothpaste brands have fluoride in the formulation, but it will always be listed on the packaging if you are unsure.
  • Brush your tongue!
    • So many patients miss this very important part of our mouths.  If not brushed, the tongue can hold bacteria and other debris, a coating can form on the tongue, and your breath will begin to have a noticeable odor.
  • Avoid:
    • Foods with a lot of sugar
    • Snacking throughout the day without brushing
    • Sipping on drinks throughout the day, other than water (tea, soda, coffee, juice, etc.)
    • Food and drink that can stain your teeth
    • Tobacco products
  • Make sure to schedule your next preventive visit ahead of time so you can stay on your recommended schedule.  Your hygienist should schedule this visit for you before your visit is completed.

What should I look for when choosing the right dentist for me?

We understand coming to the dentist is very stressful for a lot of patients.  It is our goal to make your visits as comfortable and easy for you as possible.  The LandMark dentists are all committed to providing you the very best treatment, while working with you to ensure you are comfortable in our offices.  Please take some time to read each of the doctor’s biographies on the meet the doctor page.  We encourage you to select the doctor with whom you are most comfortable, and our team will do their best to accommodate that request at every single visit.  When making that decision we recommend you consider the following:

  • Have any of the doctors been recommended to you?
  • Is the office location convenient to your work or home?
  • Were you able to schedule an appointment in a reasonable amount of time with the doctor you have requested?
  • Was the doctor welcoming?
  • Did the doctor review your medical history?
  • Did the doctor review all findings and treatment options and did they answer your questions?
  • What is your gut telling you?

We encourage every patient to make the decision on which doctor to see based on what is best for themselves and their family.  We sincerely hope you will choose one of our doctors for your dental care and are looking forward to working with you!

How do I schedule my visit with LandMark Dentistry?

You may call any of our offices directly and speak with one of our business team members.  If more convenient for you, please select the Request An Appointment option and fill out the form.  These requests will be emailed to your indicated office and a member of our team will be in contact as soon as possible to schedule your appointment.