Dr. Ambrose with female patient

Your Child's First Teeth

Your child’s first teeth begin to appear usually between six and nine months, though there are some cases when this happens as early as three months or as late as twelve months. The first of the 20 teeth to appear are the two lower front teeth followed by the two upper teeth. Typically, the first molars are next followed by the canines (eyeteeth). You can help teething discomfort by wiping your child’s gums and newly erupting teeth with a water-soaked gauze pad or damp washcloth.

Primary teeth guide the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. For about the first six years, primary teeth help with biting, chewing and speaking. Until around age 12, your child will have a mix of primary and permanent teeth. You will want to make sure those teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally — when it's time.

Pediatric Smile Care

Our pediatric dentist in Columbia believes in a conservative approach to dentistry with a strong emphasis on prevention. One of her favorite quotes is “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” because it can be translated to so many aspects of life, even dentistry! She believes in working as a team to develop a care plan that is both feasible and effective for your family’s needs. We love our patients and want to establish great oral health habits that will protect them for a lifetime.

curious child at Terrific Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

Preventative Care

Topical Fluoride

While most toothpastes and some drinking water contain small amounts of fluoride, which is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, Dr. Ambrose can apply a higher concentration of fluoride to provide maximum protection from tooth decay.

Dental Sealants

We can apply a tooth-colored coating that seals the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth, providing years of protection against dental caries.

Dental Cleanings (Prophylaxis)

We perform a gentle, yet thorough cleaning to help prevent cavities; usually done about every six months during a child’s regular appointment.

Daily Brushing Routine

Around age 2, we recommend using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush with a smear of fluoridated toothpaste. You will need to help your child with this important task until about age 6.

Dr. Ambrose playing with child

Non-Invasive Dentistry

We understand some of our patients require a little extra TLC when it comes to dentistry. We offer alternatives to treat dental cavities that do not require surgical intervention, meaning no numbing, no drilling, and minimal discomfort. Dr. Terri Ambrose can discuss the options we offer in the office including:

Silver Diamine Fluoride · Hall Crowns · Atraumatic Restorative Technique

Dr. Ambrose posing for a photo with two female patients

Dental Emergency Services

Toothaches, chipped or broken teeth, knocked out teeth, and lost fillings or crowns are all dental emergencies. If you are unsure if your child is experiencing a dental emergency, please call us right away – we are the area’s leading dental professionals in caring for pediatric dental emergencies.

female patient walking in the office with her child

Orthodontic Evaluation

Having straight teeth is important for a dazzling smile but good alignment is also essential to bite, chew, and speak properly. As your child grows, we continually assess the alignment of their teeth and recommend orthodontics for children as needed.

Dr. Ambrose showing child hes teeth with a mirror

Restorative Dentistry

Restorative Treatment

If your child has lost or damaged a tooth, our team of dental professionals can perform pediatric restorative dentistry to help improve the appearance, function, and overall health of your child’s smile.

Tooth-colored Fillings

When cavities do develop, we fill them using composite fillings with a tooth-colored resin, keeping the tooth looking natural.


We use tooth-colored bonding materials to repair chips and minor fractures of a child’s front teeth.

Dental Crowns

We offer both stainless steel crowns (silver crowns) and zirconia crowns (white crowns).

Root Canal Treatment

Often thought of as a procedure only for adults, some children need root canals to save a severely decayed or injured tooth.

Tooth Extractions

We remove teeth as a last resort when tooth decay, disease, over retention/orthodontic need, or trauma may interfere with normal oral development.

Space Maintenance

When primary teeth are lost prematurely, a space maintainer may be recommended to prevent space loss and future orthodontic problems.

Special Needs Dentistry

We provide quality care to our special needs patients. Our patients deserve compassionate care tailored to their individual needs. We offer aids like weighted blankets, noise canceling headphones, and private rooms to ensure our patients' safety and comfort during their appointments.

little design board set in window at Terrific Smiles Pediatric Dentistry


Fear and anxiety are common at the dentist office. We believe dentistry can be enjoyable and offer services like nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation and general anesthesia for our patients who require it. We work with our families to determine the safest option for your child’s care.

young boy patient playing with tools

Other Pediatric Services

ProFESSIONAL Teeth whitening for teens

Our teenage patients who are conscious about their smile may benefit from professional teeth whitening.

Habit Cessation Techniques and Habit Appliances

Mouth Guards

Sports and night guards protect your child’s teeth from wear or fracture.


Call (443) 393-2181 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.