Dr Mims and Our Team
All professionals at Smile Institute of Family Dentistry maintain the highest levels of accreditation and pursue ongoing education to stay abreast of the latest trends in the medical field. Read on to learn more about our Dental Professionals' experience and training.
Dr. Airiga Tucker Mims
My goal is for my patients to receive individual attention and care. My desire is to remove the tarnish of past unpleasant dental experiences by creating an experience that is individualized and encompasses patient appreciation and value.
I am a dental patient also. I will never forget visiting the dentist as an adolescent and needing to have dental anesthesia. I was so scared of going to the dentist. One particular visit I recall as if it were yesterday. I was numbed on the roof of my mouth. I gasped for air and held my breath. The needle was excruciatingly painful. I gripped the arm rests of the dental chair and felt my heart beating hard and fast in my chest. I remember as the tears streamed down my face, the dentist and his assistant did nothing to comfort me. I felt like I wasn't a person. I felt like I had no value. This particular experience heightened by dental fear to an even greater level. However, as I studied at Marquette University School of Dentistry, I didn't realize how impactful my past dental experiences would shape my practice philosophy.
I never want any of my patients to feel how I felt going to the dentist. Not only am I committed to delivering the highest quality of care, I am gentle and want my patients to feel comfortable when receiving care. My patient's care begins not just in the dental chair but well before that. Their experience on the phone, how they are greeted at the reception desk and engaged by our team of dental professionals is important and helps shape my patients care and experience. It is very important that all of my patients feel that they are our special guests and that all of our attention is on them.
We offer a comfort menu that includes minimal sedation, complimentary soft comfort blankets and massage chairs, just to name a few.
I have been practicing dentistry since 2003. I received a bacchalaureate degree in Biological Sciences from the prestigious Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. I attended the well-respected and top-ranking Marquette University School of Dentistry where I earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. After completing my dental school education, I held a teaching position at Columbus Technical College in Columbus, Georgia, teaching oral pathology and biochemistry. I have completed numerous continuing education classes and am a student of The Dawson Academy. I am a member of the American Dental Association, Wisconsin Dental Association, Greater Milwaukee Dental Association, Chicago Dental Society and the Academy of General Dentistry.
I am a North Shore native. I enjoy family time, cooking and traveling.
Staci- Guest Services Coordinator
Hello, everyone! I joined the Smile Institute of Family Dentistry in November 2018 as the Guest Services Coordinator. I’ve been working in the dental field since 2007, starting out as a dental assistant in the Air Force. I chose that line of work so I had an opportunity to provide a better dental experience to those serving out country. My time in the Air Force provided me with many opportunities to learn about the different aspects to dentistry. Back in 2013, I traveled to Honduras with the Air Force and Army as part of a humanitarian mission, where we treated people who had no access to any form of dental care. It was such an eye-opening experience, as I was able to get a first-hand look at the disparity affecting those less fortunate. I left humbled and grateful for the chance to help them in some way.
After leaving the Air Force, I remained involved in dentistry, but took a position as an administrator. In my time here at the Smile Institute, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the patients on a professional and personal level. This office, along with Dr. Mims, has a welcoming and calming energy, and that’s exactly where I want to be!
Outside of work, I keep myself busy with my family, boyfriend, and a few hobbies! My favorite sport is baseball, so I’m a huge Milwaukee Brewers fan, and I attend as many games as I can. I’m also a skilled cook, if I do say so myself. I’m always trying new recipes to impress my friends and family. In the spring, I love tending to the flower beds outside my home. I usually grow perennials, but sometimes I throw some wildflower seeds for a little a surprise! All flowers are my favorites. Every night I come to my 3 cats, Lilly, Poppy, and Iris – all rescues.
I look forward to working with you, see you soon.
Paul - Dental Hygienist
It wasn't until I received my training in The Air Force that my understanding and value of dentistry changed. It was my responsibility to keep fellow Airmen and their families "mission-ready." After that experience, I knew dentistry was the career I wanted to follow. My pride comes from working to ensure patients leave our office with wonderful smiles!
I graduated from the dental hygiene program at Waukesha County Technical College in 2016. There, I truly sharpened my skills and developed the level of professionalism that would better help our community.
I've often heard patients mention that my best assets are my calm bedside manner and confidence. I can't wait to hear you say the same thing! Knowing that my patients are relxaxed during their visits makes me proud to be part of the Smile Institute of Family Dentistry.
During my time in school, I remember treating a close friend of mine. It had been a while since his last dental visit, and he was pretty nervous the first time I saw him in the clinic. After each visit, he left knowing more about his oral health and felt even better about his smile. He started opening up, smiling more, and bragging about his teeth. We worked together, discussing different treatment options and moving forward as a team. I'm so grateful to represent the Smile Institute, because that is exactly what we do here. It's a partnership!
Remember, time is linear! It moves in one direction, but should never fade, just like your smile. I often hear patients express their regret - wishing they hadn't waited so long, or hadn't let their fears keep them from visiting us. It takes time to heal from unpleasant dental experiences, and that's something we understand, but our ultimate goal is to keep you healthy! Don't let those regrets affect you.
I'm so grateful and excited to work with you and show the world the light of your smile!
Hannah - Dental Hygienist
Fortunately for me, I haven’t had any negative dental experiences, even during my childhood. I grew up in Chicago before moving to the Milwaukee area almost 15 years ago. There, my pediatric dentist, “Dr. V”, cultivated a welcoming and fun environment that reinforced the positive aspects of maintaining oral health. My younger brother and I always left with bags full of goodies and smiles on our faces, even if we just had a cavity filled or were told to improve our brushing habits at home. We were never embarassed about anything. I still appreciate that to this day.
My next most memorable dental experience occurred during my first year of high school, when I had braces placed to correct a few different issues I had with tooth misalignment. Born with a wide gap between my two front teeth and a protruding overbite from a childhood thumb-sucking habit, I felt extremely self-conscious about my smile. Not only were theses problems cosmetic, but I even had trouble eating foods like sandwiches or corn on the cob. My teeth wouldn’t fit together, and it made me very self-conscious.
I turned 14 and was finally fitted for braces – something for which I had been wishing and praying and asking my parents for years. As anyone who has been through an orthodontic treatment knows, the day-to day life with braces definitely wasn’t painless or pretty, but I was extremely thankful for them. About 3 years later, they were removed, and it was definitely the best! It was like I had taken a giant leap on the scale of self-confidence.
Towards the end of high school, I approached my senior year without a decided career path. I had a desire to help others see themselves the way God does, with pride and confidence. I knew my time with braces was definitely a turning point in my life, and I wondered if there was a way I could do the same for someone else. After some research, I decided dental hygiene would be an appropriate choice. I figured I could “get my feet wet” in the world of dentistry and still be in a position to make a positive change in someone’s life.
In the years since I’ve been involved in dentistry, I have personally been involved in guiding patients towards the pinnacle of oral health. I often see dental patients at their first appointment, and work with them as they make progress towards their goals at each appointment. It is so rewarding to have the privilege to get to know these individuals and help them achieve or maintain health. As a parallel to my own personal experiences, I strive to maintain a positive and enriching environment for patients. I’m thankful to work with the Smile Institute, because we encourage our patients each step of the way – regardless of any kind of past dental experiences, bad or good.
“A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face.” Proverbs 15:13
Jenn - Practice Coordinator/Clinical Assistant
I've been a part of the team at the Smile Institute of Family Dentistry since 2014. I'm so blessed to play this role and influence our patients' lives for the better! Time after time, I've seen a patient walk in the door with fear written on his face, and leave laughing with a smile back where it should be.
My personal dental story is a long one, and it's what made me interested in the dental field. Unfortunately, I was born missing a tooth (and a front one, no less)! As I grew older, my teeth shifted and created a massive gap between my teeth. That's when I got braces. From 4th grade to freshman year, I lived my life dealing with brackets and wires and floss threaders. When that treatment finished, I was fitted with a temporary solution - a false tooth. At the right time, I became eligible for an implant! It seemed easy enough, but I needed additional bone support to hold an implant. It was a rough process, but after two bone graft surgeries and months of healing, I ended up with a strong, healthy implant at the age of 21!
It was a long, hard, and expensive journey, but my smile and oral health was worth it. I recieved so much encouragement from my referring doctors and their teams - it was almost like a snapshot of my future in the dental field. They made the biggest impact, and they're the reason why I'm working with you at the Smile Institute!
In fact, I remember seeing a young patient scheduled for a restorative appointment. He had never seen us for anything other than a cleaning, and I could tell he was terrified! I walked him through each step of the procedure, and showed him all of our cool instruments before getting started. It didn't take long before his fears disappeared, and he finished his appointment sitting back watching his favorite cartoon. Now, he comes in ready for his dental visits, loving every moment. That's exactly what I wish to see for all my patients - I want them to know that we're not scary! We love seeing you grow.
Thank you for choosing the Smile Institute. I can't wait to see you in our chair!
Shavon - Clinical Assistant
I began working at the Smile Institute of Family Dentistry back in 2016. I wear many hats, serving patients as a clinical assistant and personal assistant to Dr. Mims. I also have experience working administratively. You could call me a “jack of all trades!”
My work here has not only been life-changing, but career-altering as well. It all began as a temporary position and evolved into more than I ever thought. When I first started at the Smile Institute, I was a junior pre-med student at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. I had been working 3rd shift in three different emergency rooms, a miserable dread-inducing job for me. Work at the dental office soon became a relief. The Smile Institute grew to be my happy place.
After three months of working here, I knew the field of dentistry had chosen me, and I made the decision to switch my career path to dentistry. What attracted me most was the fact that I could still enjoy everything I loved about medicine, but have it in a work environment that suited me well. Here, the patient interaction isn’t rushed, the chair-side manner is much more intimate, and I will be able to maintain the perfect work-life balance. I also realized that as a dentist, I can be so much more than doctor – I can be an artist, engineer, and health advocate!
My passion for dentistry continued to develop in such a way that I decided to volunteer at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Dental Clinic until I graduated with my biology degree. I was able to connect with the community and gain insight on the importance of establishing dental health at an early age.
My own most memorable dental experience involved my wisdom tooth removal. I find sharing my story with patients rewarding because I can help patients overcome any uncertainty and fear they may be encountering. Dental assisting was a huge learning curve for me and I’m proud to say that I’ve worked extremely hard to be the best advocate for my patients. In the beginning, I came to work early and stayed late to fully prepare for the day’s, and patients’, needs. I’m confident in my ability to relieve anxiety and keep my patients educated.
I’m so grateful for the daily opportunity to work with my second family as we make a difference in our community.
Morelia - Clinical Assistant
I was born and raised in Peru. At the age of eight, I came to the US and lived most of my childhood in Michigan. My interest in dentistry started at a young age. While living in Peru I did not have access to dental care. With the guidance of my dentist, I learned of the cavities that needed to be restored, the importance of proper oral care and preventative care. It was during that point in my life that I realized the importance of oral hygiene. During high school, I shadowed a general dentist, oral surgeon and periodontist. I enjoyed learning more about the dental field and my experiences inspired me to continue a career in dentistry.
While attending college, I kept shadowing my dentist and began volunteering at free dental clinics, a local soup kitchen and a hospital. I earned my Bachelor’s in Chemistry at Eastern Michigan University in 2017. Upon graduating college, my boyfriend and I moved to Wisconsin. In Madison, I worked as a dental assistant and dental receptionist. Earlier this year I moved to Milwaukee, where I gratefully found the Smile Institute of Family Dentistry! Overall, this practice is amazing – from the environment to the patients and the team! The personalized care and the calming, friendly, kind atmosphere each patient experiences is what I have always pictured of an ideal dental practice.
Outside of work, I enjoy going on road trips, taking my dog, Bella, to the park, binge watching Netflix and volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at a local dental clinic.
It is my privilege and honor to serve each and one of you! I am looking forward to meeting you!