November 12th REGISTER NOW
November 12th REGISTER NOW

Frequently Asked Questions

Pediatric Dentistry Questions

1. What is a pediatric dental specialist?

A Pediatric Dental Specialist provides comprehensive preventative care and therapeutic oral health care to infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. Pediatric dentists have completed an additional two-year advanced educational program providing them with special skills and knowledge beyond that of a general dentist

2. Why should my child see a pediatric dentist?

Just as your child sees a Pediatrician, it’s just as important that your child see a Pediatric Dentist. Pediatric Dentists just like Pediatricians are doctors who completed additional training to provide care for infants, children, and adolescents. We have a passion for treating children and ensuring that they have a great experience.

In addition, Pediatric Dentists provide a warm, fun and child-friendly environment to help guide your child through their dental experience. We also have-well trained staff that love working with children.

First Visit Questions

1. Do I need to arrive early for my first appointment?

Yes. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to fill out any remaining patient forms.

2. What should I do if my child requires premedication?

Please be sure to request a prescription prior to your appointment, or if you are unsure, contact us and we can help.

3. What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

Please bring the following items with you to your appointment:

  • Dental Insurance Card (if applicable)
  • Identification such as Driver’s License, Military ID or State ID

4. How long will my first appointment last?

It varies, but please plan on 40-60 minutes for the first visit

5. Can I be with my child for their appointment?

ABSOLUTELY. We welcome you to accompany your child during their dental visit. However, studies show that parental anxiety can sometimes transfer to the child. In instances like so, we ask that you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience. We are all highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety. Below are some additional guidelines that we have found to help children master their dental appointment.

  1. We believe that a parent is an integral part of the care that we are able to provide and we welcome you to accompany your child back for most treatments except sedations and general anesthesia. This is because during these appointments extra members of staff are present to assist in the safe management of care for your child and there simply isn’t room for others to be present.
  2. The relationship between parent and child is so strong that for the staff to have the opportunity to build trust and create a positive experience it is imperative that you as the parents are to accompany your child as a SILENT OBSERVER.
  3. Please respect the limited size of the treatment and waiting areas and attempt to present to appointments with as few extra individuals as possible.
  4. Some children do perform better when a parent isn’t present. If this is found to be, we will discuss different methods to help your child master the dental appointment

It is our primary focus to help your child master the dental appointment. If there are any special requests for care or you have questions regarding guidelines for parents please discuss those with us prior to the appointment.

6. When should my child see the dentist?

When the first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday. Pediatric dentists focus on prevention and research shows that children who visit the dentist earlier are less likely to have tooth decay.

Oral Hygiene/Preventative Questions

1. What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

Before children have teeth a wet washcloth is helpful to rub on the gums and remove food and bacteria. When teeth come in any small soft-bristled toothbrush will help remove bacteria that can lead to decay. Preferably one designed specifically for infants with a small head, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

2. When should you use toothpaste, and how much?

As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. For children under 3, you should only use a “smear” or rice grain amount of toothpaste. For children over 3, you can use a “pea” sized amount of toothpaste.

3. How old should my child be before they can brush alone?

Research shows that children do not adequately brush their teeth alone until they reach the age of 6-7. Even at this point they still require supervision.

4. Are primary “Baby Teeth” important?

YES. They are not just for chewing, they are important for speech development, development of the jaws, keeping space for permanent teeth. Decay in baby teeth can be easily prevented or treated, but failing to take care of baby teeth can cause life-threatening infections.

5. Are thumb-sucking and pacifier habits harmful?

Not necessarily. They only become a problem if they last for long periods of time. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends beginning to remove pacifiers at age 2 with complete removal by the 3rd birthday. We can evaluate if any growth changes have occurred because of this habit. If an intervention is needed there are many different ways to correct this habit.

6. How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?

A check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

7. What are Sealants?

Sealants are thin “plastic-like” coverings that go down in the deep grooves of teeth to keep bacteria from living in them. Studies show that 90% of decay on teeth occurs in the grooves that could be protected by sealants.

8. What is Fluoride? What does it do for teeth?

Fluoride is naturally found in the environment. Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth by remineralizing broken down tooth structure and decreasing sensitivity. If you have further questions about fluoride please feel free to talk with our staff.

Questions Regarding Radiographs (X-rays)

1. Should my child have dental x-rays?

New advances in technology utilized by our office can dramatically reduce x-ray exposure. As a pediatric dentist, we strive to reduce radiation exposure for your children. At Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry we do not contract with insurance companies and don’t take x-rays just because they are a covered service. We closely follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines for radiation exposures to decrease x-ray exposure for all our patients. We also use all digital x-rays that allow us to decrease the radiation dose even further

2. What are bitewings?

Bitewings are cavity-detecting x-rays. Bitewings allow us to see cavities in between the teeth, which we could not otherwise see clinically.

3. At what age should my child have x-rays?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) doesn’t have set guidelines on age for dental x-rays. The Guideline on Prescribing Dental Radiographs for Infants, Children, Adolescents, and Persons with Special Health Care Needs states that diagnostic studies should be based on each patient’s needs, not on age alone.

Questions Regarding Insurance

1. What insurances does your office accept?

We accept all major PPO insurances. We currently do not accept HMO, DHMO, Medicaid, Public Aid or All Kids Dental Plans. As a courtesy to our insured patients, we submit claims to your insurance company free of charge. We will help you to receive your maximum allowable benefits. In order to do this, we need your insurance card and/or insurance policy with you on your first visit.

2. Does your office accept HMO plans?

NO, we currently do not accept HMO dental plans

3. Does your office accept Medicaid?

NO, we currently do not accept Medicaid, Public or All Kids Dental Plans.

4. What does it mean to be an out of network provider?

An out-of-network provider is one, which has not contracted with your insurance company for reimbursement at a negotiated rate. Insurance companies usually still cover preventative dental services at 100% even for patients that are not in network.

Questions regarding Dental Trauma (Emergencies)

1. What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out?

Contact our office as soon as possible.

2. What should I do if my child’s permanent tooth is knocked out?

Rinse the knocked-out tooth in cool water. Do not scrub the tooth. If possible, replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze. If you can’t put the tooth back into the socket, place the tooth in a container of milk. Come to our office immediately. Feel free to call our emergency number if it is after hours. The tooth has a better chance of being saved if you act immediately.

3. What should I do if my child’s tooth is fractured or chipped?

Contact our office as soon as possible. Time is of the essence! Our goal is to save the tooth and prevent infection. Rinse the mouth out with water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. It’s possible that if you can find the broken tooth fragment, it can be bonded back to the tooth.

4. What do I do if my child has a toothache?

Call our office immediately to schedule an appointment.

5. How can we prevent dental injuries?

Sport related dental injuries can be reduced or prevented by wearing mouth guards. Childproofing your home can also help reduce injuries at home. In addition, regular dental check-ups will contribute to preventative care



377 Google Reviews
(4.8)Average Rating
Crystal Loggins
Crystal Loggins
Beautiful office and so welcoming for children. Games and kids shows playing in the waiting room. My daughter had an extraction and crown done so the tv on the ceiling playing cartoons as they worked on her was the perfect distraction! The staff was very kind and accommodating. Dr. McDonald was great! This is the perfect place for little ones to have all their dental work done. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.
Jan 04, 2023
Saheed Olalekan
Saheed Olalekan
Joyful Smiles is my families favorite dental office for our boys. The team of dentists and hygienist all have one desire; get you kids smiling with a bright healthy smile. It’s always wonderful to go for appointments. They are patient, kind, professional, and intensely caring and incredibly understanding. They always go above and beyound to care for not just the teeth’s but the whole child. My wife and I highly recommend them.
Mar 09, 2023
Marli Hall
Marli Hall
Dr. McDonald is simply the best. She is patient, kind and loving. My son had his 1st tooth pulled by Dr. McDonald and she was very discreet with needle and quickly pulled the tooth. My son needed a 2nd tooth pulled and he was fearful. Dr. McDonald’s patients with him is tried and true. She was able to get him calm and get that painful tooth out of there. She showed compassion for us parents who can’t stand to see our little one cry. The staff is very friendly and helpful. I definitely recommend this Dentist. I would give 10 stars ⭐️ if I could
Dec 12, 2022
Valerie Pace
Valerie Pace
As a parent of a first time patient, it was a great experience from the beginning to the end of the appt. Warm, friendly atmosphere. Awesome staff! Dominique was great with keeping my child calm through the entire process. Glad I found Joyful Smiles!
Sep 16, 2022
Dr. Mays
Dr. Mays
From the front desk staff, the dental hygienist, to Dr. McDonald I really can’t stay thank you enough during our visits for your attentiveness, kindness, and professionalism. Since our first visit, we’ve been recommending Dr. McDonald to any parent seeking a pediatric dentist. Zoey loves the new location especially the kids lounge.
Dec 15, 2022

Welcome to Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is accepting new patients - infants, toddlers and adolescents all welcome! Dr. Yaa McDonald and team offer a complete suite of services including customized smile makeovers. Call us today to schedule an appointment.