A child’s first visit to Franklin Street Pediatric Dentistry should be enjoyable. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. Dr. Hardin and our team make a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our Chapel Hill dental office.

We recommend a child's first visit to Franklin Street Pediatric Dentistry occur at the eruption of their first tooth or by age one. This initial visit establishes a positive relationship between Dr. Hardin, your child, and you as a parent. Visits at this stage can also help us stay ahead of any potential problems before they progress into larger ones.

Your Child’s Teeth

Your child’s first primary, or “baby,” teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six to 12 months, and will continue to erupt until about age three. During this time, your child’s gums may feel tender and sore. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring. Wiping the teeth with a wet washcloth or finger brush is acceptable as well at this early stage.

Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth begin erupting at age six, and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (32, teeth including wisdom teeth).

Adopting Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in your mouth that turn into an acid, which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Brushing your child’s teeth can help prevent cavities that can cause issues with baby teeth, as well as problems with permanent teeth. Starting early also helps your child remain comfortable with you and the dentist being in the child’s mouth.

  • Home Health Monitoring: As your child’s teeth erupt, be sure to examine them every two weeks, looking for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes his or her teeth after feeding or eating.
  • Brushing: We recommend brushing two times a day for optimal oral hygiene. Children can start using a small smear of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush starting at the eruption of the first tooth. Prior to this, we recommend training toothpaste to teach your child how to spit in preparation for fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing: Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits. Dr. Hardin will discuss with you the right time to start flossing your child’s teeth. If you notice signs of decay, contact our office immediately.
  • Professional Cleanings: Your child should visit our Chapel Hill pediatric dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups.
  • Preventive Treatments: We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your child’s regular checkups.

Choosing a Pediatric Dentist

As a board-certified pediatric dentist, Dr. Hardin has two or three years of additional training in oral growth and development beyond dental school and has passed a written and oral exam in front of other pediatric dentists.

As a specialist, she is uniquely able to provide comprehensive dental care to children, teens, and those with special needs.

We offer cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, tooth colored fillings, laser dentistry, stainless steel crowns, tooth colored crowns, space maintenance, nitrous oxide, oral sedation, frenectomies to help with tongue tie and feeding issues in infants, and work with a dental anesthesiologist to provide general anesthesia as needed.

Dr. Hardin and our team enjoy getting to know our patients over the years and helping them have the best oral health possible.