Posts for category: Pediatric Dental Health Tips

By Annelise Hardin, DDS
February 21, 2020

Children with special needs are often prone to developing periodontal disease and cavities because brushing and flossing might be an acutely difficult task. Here at Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry in Chapel Hill, NC, Dr. Annelise Hardin and Dr. Shauna Woody understand that each patient is different, and provides an environment that is safe, fun, and educational for all patients. If your child needs extra care during their dental appointment, we offer special needs pediatric dentistry services to protect and improve the quality of their oral health.

What is Special Needs Pediatric Dentistry?

Also referred to as special care dentistry, these preventive, cosmetic, and restorative services put a primary focus on the unique needs of children with intellectual, developmental, physical, or sensory impairments. These obstacles can make it difficult for them to maintain teeth and gums on their own throughout their lifetime, and some patients require additional consideration and accommodation to lay a substantial foundation for oral health. At Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry, we always ensure that your child is comfortable every step of the way, keeping them as informed as possible so that there are no surprises.

Preparing Your Child for the Appointment

For children with special needs, unfamiliar faces, unsettling smells, and strange tastes all can present some challenges during a dental appointment. However, visiting the dentist doesn't have to be scary when you have the help of a little preparation and encouragement beforehand. Before introducing your child to our Chapel Hill, NC, office, try playing a game of "dentist" at home with some of the tools you use to keep your teeth healthy. Have them hold the equipment so that they become comfortable and recognize the device when they sit in our dental chair. We also encourage parents and patients to take a virtual office tour on our website, so they know what to expect.

Time for a Checkup? Give Us a Call

If you're seeking a pediatric dentist equipped and experienced to maintain the unique needs of your child, Dr. Annelise Hardin and Dr. Shauna Woody provide compassion, undivided attention, and gentle care during each visit. Both have advanced training and are devoted to making special needs pediatric dentistry a top priority at our Chapel Hill, NC, practice.

To schedule an appointment at Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry, please call (919) 967-2773.

Instill these helpful habits in your child’s oral routine early on in life.

Just as you want to protect your child from scrapes, broken bones and illnesses you also want to protect their smiles from decay, gum disease and injury. The best way to do that is to educate parents on healthy dental habits so that they can teach these habits to their children. Our Chapel Hill, NC, pediatric dentists Dr. Annelise Hardin and Dr. Shauna Woody believe in the importance of preventive pediatric care to keep dental problems from happening in the first place.

Here are some habits to adopt to help your child maintain a healthy, problem-free smile,

Brush and floss teeth

Many kids learn by seeing, so the best way to educate your child on brushing is to brush their teeth for them. Most kids can start brushing their own teeth by the age of 10. In the meantime, you can explain how you are cleaning their teeth and show them so that when it comes time for them to do it themselves they will have the knowledge to be able to clean their teeth thoroughly.

Use fluoridated toothpaste

Fluoride is a mineral found in drinking water and in certain toothpastes and can prevent cavities from forming by re-mineralizing tooth enamel; therefore, using fluoridated toothpaste to brush you and your child’s teeth is crucial. Your child’s age will also dictate how much toothpaste to use. During your child’s first dental checkup (at around the age of 1 year old) don’t hesitate to ask our Chapel Hill, NC, children’s dentist about which toothpaste to use and how much is enough to clean your child’s teeth.

Eat a healthy diet

What your child eats can also impact their oral health. If they eat junk foods, processed foods or foods and drinks with a lot of sugar this can greatly increase their chances of cavities. Make sure that your child is getting three balanced meals a day and no more than two healthy snacks (think cheese, fruits and nuts rather than chips or cookies).

Care for teeth together as a family

You can make brushing and flossing a family activity that everyone in the household gets involved in. Not only does this ensure that everyone brushes their teeth twice a day and flosses daily but it also provides some quality time with the family.

Is it time to schedule your child’s first dental checkup? Have questions about keeping your childs teeth clean? Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry in Chapel Hill, NC, can certainly help answer your questions and provide your child with comprehensive dental care throughout their childhood. Call our office today at (919) 967-2773.

By Annelise Hardin, DDS
April 24, 2017
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Making Your Child's First Dentist Visit Easy

Few things can cause as much stress and anxiety for both a small child and mother as going to visit the doctor, and a dentist visit is no different. Fortunately, your child’s first visit to the dentist doesn’t need to cause you anxiety or stress! Like many things in life, being prepared can smooth over most of the potential problems before they even begin, and this is especially true when preparing your child for their first dentist visit.

When to Take Your Child for Their First Visit to the Dentist

An often-asked question is “when should I take my child for their first dentist visit?” Good question! Your child’s first visit should occur within six months of their first tooth erupting or within 6 months of their first birthday, but even if your child is older than this now, it’s never too late to bring them in. A well-trained pediatric dentist will be able to check and identify any potential problems with your child’s soft palate and jaw development. This early identification can help you keep your child’s mouth healthy for years to come.

If you’ve noticed that your child’s teeth have started to erupt you can start your child’s dental health habits early, even before you take them for their first dental visit. Start brushing your child’s new teeth with a baby-safe toothbrush and plain water – be consistent and habitually brush their teeth every day. This will help your child lay the foundation of life-long oral health.

Take the Mystery Out of the Dentist’s Office

A big part of what causes dentist fears for small children is the unknown: where’s it going to be, what’s going to happen, is it going to hurt, and who are these people looking in my mouth? An excellent way to stop that fear in its tracks is to take away the fear of the unknown, by making it known: talk to your pediatric dentist about what will happen during the visit and explain it to your child.

Taking the mystery out of the visit also entails talking and preparing your child at home before the appointment. Show them Youtube videos about dentist visits, explain the Tooth Fairy and how she only comes for healthy teeth, and get them excited about doing healthy things for their teeth. When your child is excited to visit the dentist, there will be no stress or anxiety.

Here are great books  we recommend to read to your child that can help prepare them for their first dental visit:

Stay Prepared on the Day

Remember to do what you can to make your child feel at home during the first visit. Bring their favorite stuffed animal or game to the appointment and plan a fun activity for after to make sure they’re confident and excited about the day.

Remember your own attitude and behavior – your child will look to you to know how to act and feel. If you remember to stay calm and excited, your child will react accordingly. Staying by your child as they have their procedure done will also help to keep them calm and soothed when they’re being examined for the first time. A smile and a held hand can go a long way to helping your child stay happy and having fun at the dentist’s office.

Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Visit Today

To make sure that your child’s first dentist visit is fun, comfortable, and educational contact Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry today for an appointment. Call us at 919-967-2773 or request an appointment via our form.