Sandra Micou and Wendy Smith, representatives of the Granville Vance District Health Department, were on Wednesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the recent opening of the health department’s Carolina Fellows Family Dentistry Clinic along with February’s designation as “National Children’s Dental Health Month.”
Located at 115 Hilltop Village in Oxford, the non-profit dentistry clinic serves Granville and Vance County residents of all ages, both the insured – through Medicaid or private insurance – and the uninsured.
A sliding fee scale for services is available for uninsured residents depending on income status and household size.
Dental services are offered to the entire family and include cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants, restorative and emergency services.
With two dentists, two dental assistants, a dental hygienist and a bi-lingual front desk assistant, all from the local area, Smith said a visit here feels like time spent with good friends. “All are from this community; it’s like coming home when you go there. They are friendly and want you to feel comfortable and educated about your oral health.”
This friendly atmosphere is sure to make children, notoriously skittish about visiting the dentist, feel more relaxed.
In honor of “National Children’s Dental Health Month,” Micou reminded listeners that children should have their first dental visit by the time their first tooth emerges, or no later than their first birthday.
First appointments include a check on emerging teeth and their condition as well as an application of “teeth vitamins” otherwise known as fluoride.
Micou said children should be brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, or 30 seconds per quadrant. Dental visits are recommended at least once every six months.
Tips to avoid cavities include limiting children’s intake of sweets, such as candy or juice, and wiping teeth with gauze or a wet rag if the child drinks a bottle before going to sleep for the evening.
While many children get their first baby tooth before their first birthday, Micou said children begin losing their baby teeth around the age of six. This is also the age that children develop their permanent molars.
“As those permanent molars come in, because they are going to be with them the rest of their lives, we suggest getting them into the dentist to have sealants done,” said Micou.
Sealants are a thin coating that sits on top of molars to prevent bacteria and sugar from creating cavities in the grooves. Initial sealant applications last approximately 10 years.
Recognizing the difficulties parents have getting children to dental appointments during the work week, Smith said the health department is looking into setting up a mobile unit that would travel to Granville and Vance County schools to provide dental care. Smith clarified that implementation of such a program is still a year or two away.
In the meantime, the Carolina Fellows Family Dentistry Clinic is conveniently located in Oxford and available to help local children with their dental needs. Clinic hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.; appointments can be made by calling (919) 693-8797.
For more information or to stay updated, please visit the clinic’s newly created Facebook page by clicking here.
To hear the interview with Micou and Smith in its entirety, please click here.
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