• 50°

Give kids a smile: dental office partners with schools

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — No one likes a cavity — children least of all.

Cavities can cause pain that turns children into picky eaters and can even affect their education.

“If it’s causing pain, it’s going to be a distraction. They can’t focus,” said Natalie Burns, community relations coordinator with N.C. Pediatric Dentistry.

But the folks at Salisbury Pediatric Dentistry are hoping to intervene before kids get cavities. They want to give kids a smile.

“It’s a really good thing for the children because cavities cause a lot of pain and issues,” Burns said.

This is the third year the local office has participated in the Give Kids a Smile campaign, an initiative that provides free sealants to elementary school students. A sealant is a clear or white protective coating that goes over teeth, covering them to prevent bacteria from becoming trapped in cracks and crevices.

“Sealants go places the toothbrushes can’t get,” Dr. David Thome said. “So we take away the hiding places of the bacteria.”

N.C. Pediatric Dentistry extends the offer of sealants to all area schools — typically targeting students before third and fourth grades. By that age, Burns said, a student’s permanent molars have often grown in.

“So that’s our main goal, is to get those molars sealed,” she said.

This year, six area schools participated with an average of 30 students in either third or fourth grade per school. Burns said the office would have accepted as many as 80 from each school.

For some students, like Savannah Faile, a fourth-grader from Faith Elementary School, it’s their first trip to the dentist.

Savannah, 10, said she was nervous about the appointment. She’s prone to cavities, she said, and was worried that getting her teeth examined and sealed would hurt.

Her parents encouraged her to get the sealant, but she wanted to, as well.

“I know it’s better for my teeth,” she said.

But not every student will get a sealant. Students got through a short examination by a dental hygienist and Thome to make sure their teeth were in good condition. If cavities on found in the teeth, they can’t be sealed.

If everything checks out, Thome and the dental hygienists explain the process to the kids, trying to give them something they can relate to. Thome said sometimes he tells them it’s like putting on nail polish.

So far, the office has worked its way through students from three of the six participating schools. Burns estimates that 256 teeth have been sealed so far.

The process is free for students. Supplies such as mirrors and tongue depressors were donated.

“It’s just a way for us to also give back to the community,” Burns said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

Comments

Education

‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement

News

Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep

Coronavirus

Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many

News

Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106

Business

Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel

Business

From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort

Business

Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion

Coronavirus

Police, sheriff focus on education in addressing mask-wearing complaints

Education

Candidates for East Area school board seat have widely different views on renewal

Kannapolis

Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

Elections

In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump

News

5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Elections

Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota

College

Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic

News

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Coronavirus

Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives

Elections

Local Democrats call to ‘turn the state blue’ during virtual office reopening

Education

Funding flat, enrollment down slightly for Rowan-Salisbury Schools

Education

Catawba gets high marks in U.S. News and World rankings for fifth year

Business

China Grove soap store sets sights on expansion into Kannapolis

News

Charlotte, UNC game canceled after 49ers place players in quarantine

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 18