Happy Teeth
Parents turn to Pediatric Dental Associates for exceptional care of their children’s oral health
by Molly Yun


The most common childhood ailment might surprise some parents. It is not chicken pox, the flu or some other life-altering virus. It is, in fact, tooth decay. The good news is that it’s 98 percent preventable.


Although neglecting children’s oral health can surely set them up for a lifetime of major aches and pains, preventing tooth decay can be as simple as regular dental checkups, daily brushings and a healthy diet, according to Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, a partner in Pediatric Dental Associates (PDA), who has been practicing pediatric dentistry for nearly three decades.


“The biggest myth I hear is that they’re just ‘baby teeth,’ and children will lose them anyway,” he says. “But children’s teeth require the same care as an adult’s.”


Dr. Kim Thomas, another partner at PDA, reinforces her colleague’s sentiment, saying, “Sure, they are only baby teeth, but it’s not like they are only there for a few years. The back teeth stay in the mouth until a child is 10 or 12. If you have an abscess or pain, it’s hard to be happy and healthy, much less productive and learning well at school. In addition, it can be difficult for children to speak and eat properly or smile with confidence if they have pain in their teeth or gums.”


The team at PDA knows this fact all too well. Collectively, they provide care for tens of thousands of children each year, while coaching parents through the ins and outs of good oral hygiene. Over time PDA has created lasting bonds with many of their patients’ families. All the doctors are parents themselves and, quite simply, they love working with children. As much as they put children at ease, they also make parents comfortable with a no-judgment attitude.


“We don’t want you to feel guilty if your child has cavities,” says PDA partner Dr. Sharon Hamilton. “You’re not a bad or neglectful parent. No child is immune to tooth and gum disease.”


Likewise, Dr. Thomas agrees that any parent could have a child with tooth decay—and, in fact, she is one of them. “I have a son who got cavities,” she says. “Even though I do all the right things, which I know from my years of training, he still got cavities—and your child may, too. The thing is that, when necessary, we can comfortably restore them.”


Even though they are dentists, none of these pediatric dentists expect parents to be perfect or for their children to have spotless teeth.


“I get it; everyday life happens,” Dr. Hamilton says. “Some children get a mouthful of cavities even though they do the right things.”  


As a mother of two daughters, Dr. Hamilton knows that children don’t necessarily always do as they are told, especially when it comes to oral hygiene. “Sometimes it comes down to double checking,” she says. “After a child goes to bed and they claim to have brushed their teeth and the toothbrush is still dry, make them get out of bed and brush.”


According to Dr. Paul Bahn, one of the newer partners, PDA offers a variety of care options for children from age 1, when a child gets their first teeth and should see the dentist for their first visit, to age 15, when they are typically referred to a family dentist. Whether a child requires routine dental care or complex procedures, this state-of-the-art practice is more than capable of serving every patient’s needs.


Each of the practice’s dentists excels at putting children at ease. According to Dr. Bahn, for those children who suffer from mild to excessive dental anxiety, a variety of techniques are available to help the child through his or her dental visit. Those start with the basic “tell, show, do” along with constant positive reinforcement. When appropriate they offer nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. 


“It’s very safe, and it makes the child feel mellow, pleasant and happy during their dental experience,” says Dr. Alegria D’Agostino, another partner at PDA. “An additional benefit is that it wears off within a few minutes so that the child leaves the office the same as when they entered.”


For those children who are excessively anxious and/or young, the doctors offer conscious sedation. Here, they give the child a liquid sedative medication, wait about 30 minutes and then typically perform all necessary work in one office visit. PDA is one of the few children’s dental specialists who offer this option to parents, in comparison to the alternative of having to place the child in an operating room under general anesthesia. If your child requires general anesthesia for their dental treatment, PDA doctors have staff privileges at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and other local hospitals.


This variety of procedures allows parents to choose what’s best for their children, and having a team of doctors to choose from is an advantage for parents and children alike. It’s also an advantage for the dentists, because they continually learn from one another and hone their skills to offer the best treatment possible.


One of the most unique aspects of PDA came about in 1995, when the practice created a two-year dental residency program to teach dentists to become specialists in the field of children’s dentistry. The program is now one of the largest in the country and is part of the Temple University Health System. All of the doctors at PDA are part-time instructors, and Dr. Rosenbaum is program director of the residency.


“As a consequence of all our doctors being involved in teaching, we are constantly challenged by our residents and each other,” he says. “This forces us to maintain the most current and highest standards of our specialty. When you’re working with so many professionals, everyone is evaluating and critiquing each other’s work, and that improves us all.” 


The dentists at PDA have a special affinity for children with special needs. They possess the expertise and experience in dealing with the unique challenges associated with children who require more specialized care. After years of treating these children and recognizing that there was a lack of access to care as they moved into adulthood, PDA founded a nationally recognized facility known as Special Smiles. This office deals primarily with adult patients who have special needs.


In addition to dental care, there are two other areas that PDA is quite proud of: education and advocacy. According to Dr. Noah Quinn, the newest partner at PDA, “We place a high priority on education, both for our patients and the community we serve.” PDA will provide, upon request, oral-health-education programs for children in classrooms, daycare centers, Head Start programs, etc. They have a team of educators who will teach both parents and children the ABCs of good oral health. They even have a puppet show for the younger children.


Becoming advocates for improving children’s oral health is typically not something that private practices make a major commitment to do. Drs. Mark Goldstein and Philip Siegel, the founders of PDA, lobby to local, state and federal legislators for increasing access and quality of care for all children. They both serve the state on committees and boards associated with supporting health care for Pennsylvania’s residents. In addition, they serve on the boards of numerous nonprofit children’s advocacy organizations. Their goal: to assure that all children have the right and access to a healthy, happy smile.


In other words, the group of highly committed dentists at PDA has the experience, commitment, credentials and expertise to provide all children, regardless of their needs, with the highest-quality dental care. Learn more about PDA by calling 877-PDA-KIDS or visit the practice’s website, www.teethforkids.com.


Molly Yun is a freelance writer based in the Philadelphia area.


Area Locations:

Montgomery County:

Whitemarsh Corporate Center

7 East Skippack Pike, Suite 100

Ambler, PA 19002

Phone: 215-653-0420


Bucks County:

928 Jaymor Road, Suite 130A

Southampton, PA 18966

Phone: 215-942-7300


Philadelphia Counties:

Northeast Philadelphia

6404 Roosevelt Blvd.

Philadelphia, PA 19149

Phone: 215-743-3700



100 East Lehigh Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19125

Phone: 215-707-1030


North Philadelphia

3509 N. Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19140

Phone: 215-707-6411