At Maniscalco Cosmetic & General Dentistry in Birmingham, AL, your smile is our reason for existing. Because a healthy smile is usually a beautiful one, and vice versa, we offer a full range of general dentistry procedures in addition to our cosmetic treatments. The purpose is to find, in their early stages, any dental issues that might be present before they have the chance to get worse. Visiting us regularly can prevent the need for costly, complex treatments later on. Once your overall dental health is ensured, we can consider cosmetic treatments if you like.
When seeing new patients, we always begin with a dental exam, and then we ask that you come and see us twice a year for examinations. This is because a dental exam is the best way to catch decay in its early stages. Tooth decay can take hold and spread quickly, and no matter how careful you are with your oral health, chances are you may not notice a cavity. With modern dental technology though, Dr. Maniscalco can find cavities that are not even apparent to the naked eye.
During your exam, Dr. Maniscalco will also check for cracks and compromised fillings, and examine your gums to determine if you have, or are at risk for, periodontal disease. Once the exam has been completed, he will either give you a clean bill of health and send you on your way, or recommend a course of treatment for any issues he may have identified.
Dental x-rays are a fact of life, and they used to be a rather unpleasant fact. In the past, having a dental x-ray meant having a large metal plate inserted into your mouth, having to sit still for what seemed like an eternity, and then wait another eternity to have your films developed. And of course if they came out blurry on the first attempt, you had to undergo the process a second time.
With modern dental x-rays, the discomfort and waiting are all but eliminated. Everything is done digitally, with a tiny camera that takes images of your teeth and the underlying structure and then delivers those images to a computer, where your dentist can see your mouth in great detail and even magnify the images up to 25x. Diagnosing dental issues is faster and more precise, and even environmentally friendly, since there is no longer a need to process films using chemical baths.
At Maniscalco Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we use digital x-ray technology. Not only is it gentler, it’s faster. You no longer have to wait for films to be developed, and it is very seldom that your dentist will have to re-do an x-ray. Digital x-rays are also more environmentally friendly, since no chemicals are used – images are delivered directly to a computer, and the dentist can see in great detail exactly what is going on in your mouth.
People used to dread dental cleanings almost as much as they did having fillings or extractions, and not entirely without reason. It was not all that long ago that having a professional cleaning meant sitting in a dentist chair for a long time, while the dental hygienist scraped away at your teeth using a sharp dental instrument. Today, much of your cleaning, if not all of it, is done using an ultrasound that delivers super-fast vibrations to your teeth to destroy tartar and plaque with absolutely no pain.
Now, if your teeth have been neglected for a while, there is a possibility that some manual scaling will be required, but it will be considerably less than you would have had to contend with in the days before ultrasound cleanings. You can have a professional cleaning that will make your teeth look and feel better, and you can have it done quickly and with a minimum of scraping.
Dental hygiene is simply the way you take care of your teeth, with regular brushing and flossing. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Many people, do not know the right way to brush and floss – and yes, there is a right way and a wrong way.
When you come to visit us at Maniscalco Cosmetic & General Dentistry for your twice-annual cleaning, your dental hygienist will be happy to show you the correct techniques for brushing and flossing. The hygienist can also offer tips that will aid you in maintaining proper oral health. You want to get it right, because if you do not, you could be jeopardizing not just your teeth, but your general health. We know now that poor oral health is linked to other problems, like poor circulation and a higher risk of heart disease or stroke. So make sure to use a good toothpaste like SuperSmile with fluoride, clean around your gums with an electric orthodontic instrument (we recommend Rotodent), and finish off your routine with an antibacterial mouthwash – BreathRX is one that is very effective. And of course see us every six months for a professional cleaning.
At Maniscalco Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we do not use metal fillings – only composite (tooth colored) fillings. This is because they look completely natural, and bond far more effectively to your teeth than metal fillings composite fillings. Also, they do not present the health hazards that go hand-in-hand with metal fillings, which contain mercury.
Perhaps you still have some metal fillings. It is probably a given that you are less than happy with the way they look, and you may be wondering if it is possible to have them replaced. It is possible. Dr. Maniscalco can remove your old metal fillings, prepare the cavity, and install new, tooth colored fillings. He can also check out the rest of your teeth at the same time to see if you have any developing cavities that should be treated. In a tooth with little decay, tooth colored fillings can often be done without the need for preparation or even local anesthesia. To learn more about composite fillings, read our other pages and blogs: Composite Fillings Overview, Benefits of Dental Fillings.
Root Canals (Endodontics)
Root canals have a terrible, undeserved reputation for causing pain. Root canals do not cause pain; they relieve it. At Maniscalco Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we do not do root canals, but we can refer you to a specialist who can ease the pain of your infected tooth by performing a root canal.
Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with gum health. If your gums are not healthy, your teeth can end up becoming loose, and could even fall out. Additionally, the bone in your jaw can be compromised. Gum disease, to one degree or other, affects most people by the time they reach age 45, but it is very preventable. Your best line of defense is always to make sure you have regular dental exams and cleanings. Occasionally, you may need a deep cleaning.
With modern dental technology, periodontic treatments do not have to be painful. Lasers can be used to get down into the gum tissue where bacteria grow and proliferate. In advanced cases, root planing and scaling in order to get deep into the pockets under the gum line may be needed, but this is not often the case, and much of the time periodontics can be avoided with twice-annual checkups and professional cleanings.
Modern periodontics are not painful. You will not usually have to worry about having your gums invaded with pointed instruments. At Impression Dental Care, we use lasers to get deep under your gums, into the pockets where bacteria flourish. If your condition has progressed significantly, you may need root planing and scaling, but generally speaking, this can be kept to a minimum. With regular checkups, we can tell if you need a deep cleaning, so make sure that you come to see us twice a year.
To arrange an examination, or to book general dentistry treatments, contact us at Maniscalco Cosmetic & General Dentistry. Our dentist office is located at 3419 Colonnade Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35243. You can reach us by phone at 205-967-9100, or use the form on our Contact Us page to book an appointment. We look forward to helping ensure your good dental health with the many benefits of general dentistry.