Dental Exam

A comprehensive oral exam will be performed by Dr. Zimmerman or Dr. Mead at your first visit.  This allows us to gather all the necessary information and properly coordinate the treatment an individual patient may need.  Routine hygiene exams are performed from then on.

X-ray exam: When appropriate, different types of x-rays are taken to aid us in diagnosing, decay, periodontal disease, infection, orthodontic need, as well as oral pathologies.

Oral cancer screening:  At every visit your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums will be checked for any signs of oral cancer.  Additionally, we perform annual.  Velscope oral cancer screenings, which allows us to see more than just a visual exam can reveal.

Periodontal (gum) disease evaluation: Periodontal pocket measurements are taken at the initial visit and then every year to assess for presence of gum disease, which leads to gum, bone and eventually tooth loss.  Since almost 50% of people over the age of 30 have periodontal disease, according to a 2012 study by the CDC, there is a good chance you require more than a standard cleaning!

Visual Exam of existing restorations and teeth: X-rays only tell part of the story.  Your doctor will carefully check each tooth and any previous dental work that you have had done to make sure everything is exactly how it should be.

Dental Cleanings

One our three Registered Dental Hygienists will oversee your cleanings and gum car under the supervision of Dr. Zimmerman or Dr. Mead.  Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:

Hand Scaling

Ultrasonic Scaling


Plaque build-up is a mixture of biofilm, bacteria, and food debris.  The first reaction of the gums to inadequate removal of plaque is inflammation.  This is called gingivitis.  As gingivitis progresses, periodontal disease ensues.  Periodontal disease is inflammation with the loss of gum and bone attachment to the teeth. 

Tartar, or calculus, is when plaque becomes mineralized, or hardens, and can then only be removed by a hygienist.  No amount of brushing and flossing will remove tartar.

So you can see, different methods of scaling and then a fine polishing of the teeth at least every 6 months is vital in combatting plaque, tartar, gingivitis and periodontal disease.