Technology advances by leaps and bounds. Do you remember when all you could do with a cell phone was make a phone call, and maybe take a picture? Today, we live on our smartphones. We used to have to buy or rent DVDs to watch movies or TV shows, and now we just binge-watch on Netflix.
Dental technology is no different – at Maniscalco Cosmetic and General Dentistry, we are constantly striving to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing technology. We do that because we care about our patients, and want them to benefit from the very best technological advances. The following are some of the procedures we offer.
In the past, in order for your dentist to get a picture of what was going on in your mouth, they had to rely on visual examinations and dental x-rays. X-rays were done using unwieldy equipment that often delivered blurry images, and as to a visual exam, it was only as good as your dentist’s eyesight.
Today, we make use of intra-oral cameras to identify cameras. You will never hear Dr. Maniscalco say “I think I see a cavity.” Simply stated, he will know, beyond any doubt, when a cavity is present. With intra-oral cameras, it is now possible to see cavities long before they can take hold. And if your insurance company needs proof, the images can simply be attached to an email and sent off to the company. Guesswork is completely eliminated, and that means that you get the treatment you need, long before the issue gets to the point where you need more complex, costlier treatment.
DIAGNOdent® Laser Cavity Detection
Another way of identifying tooth decay in its very early stages is the DIAGNODENT Laser Cavity Detection System. Tooth decay can happen so very rapidly – perhaps you just think you feel a tiny indentation in one of your teeth, and then in just a week or two, you know for sure because you can feel it with your tongue. Tooth decay can begin in a single tooth, and then spread like wildfire to adjacent teeth. Next thing you know, you need to have a lot of dental work done, spend a lot of time in the dentist chair and also spend a lot of money.
DIAGNOdent can find cavities that will not even appear on x-rays, and that means that you can have them treated early, before you end up needing a filling, a large reconstruction, or worse, an extraction. DIAGNOdent is another powerful weapon in your dentist’s repertoire of high-tech solutions that were not possible in the past.
In the past, dental x-rays were extremely time-intensive, and also fairly uncomfortable. You had to sit in the dentist chair, have your jaws forced open and a big metal plate inserted. It was bad enough if you were just being checked for cavities, and could be excruciating if the dentist thought TMD might be the problem. Then, the films had to be processed, and if the images were not satisfactory, you had to go through the whole process again. Sometimes, patients would just give up and say “Do what looks right, but no more x-rays.” That did not lead to the best possible treatment.
Now, x-rays are done digitally, using a small, relatively comfortable camera. Your dentist gets a good picture of your mouth that is then delivered to a computer screen, and can be magnified to show any issues in great detail. And best of all, the procedure hardly ever has to be repeated.
Soft/hard Tissue laser
A tissue laser is one of the most advanced, and yet one of the simplest technologies that your dentist can offer. It consists of a digital camera and a laser that work together to find cavities, and then to make treating them far less uncomfortable. First, the laser finds the cavities using a special light. Then, once the cavities are pinpointed, the laser desensitizes the areas that need to be treated, resulting in faster, more comfortable healing.
Lasers are also very useful when it comes to treating gum disease. It searches out bacteria where they hide in pockets under the gum line. Then it removes the bacteria along with the inflamed tissue. There is very little bleeding. This type of treatment will not always eliminate the need for root planing and scaling, which can be required with serious cases of gum disease, but it is another way that Maniscalco Cosmetic & General Dentistry uses technology to deliver the most comfortable dental experience possible.
If you were to take a poll of, say, a hundred dental patients, and asked them what they feared most about a visit to the dentist, they would probably be equally divided between the needle and the drill. Realistically, no one in their right mind is absolutely thrilled about the idea of having someone drive a needle into their gums or palate. For some patients, though, the fear of the needle is so great that they put off having dental treatments, only to experience serious pain later on, and need costly treatments that are going to require the use of the needle anyway.
For those patients, we offer DentalVibe. It is simply a tool that delivers high-speed vibrations to the injection site, relaxing the tissue and making the injection far less painful. Dental injections are not usually all that painful in any case, but DentalVibe makes what is not all that bad to begin with even less so for apprehensive patients.
ARES™ Sleep Study
If you think you may have sleep apnea (waking frequently during the night, waking feeling as though you cannot breathe, feeling exhausted in the morning, plaguing others in your household with raucous snoring), the first step toward relief is a proper diagnosis.
At Maniscalco Cosmetic & General Dentistry in Birmingham, AL, we offer the FDA-approved ARES sleep study system to our patients. It consists of a device that you wear on your forehead that collects and stores data while you sleep. It measures your airflow, pulse rate, head position and movement, and can even tell how loudly you are snoring. Essentially, it tells us whether you have sleep apnea, and if you do, how severe it is.
Once we know for sure if you have sleep apnea, we can recommend treatments to correct the problem. So if you have been suffering from disrupted sleep, there is help available. You do not have to suffer.