Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD
Ross K. Oates, DMD, ABGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


Get the Most Out of Your Dental Checkup with Hillcrest Dental

Neglecting oral hygiene can deteriorate overall health, making regular dental checkups an essential wellness treatment. Though most dental checkups last only 45 minutes, you should make the most of your brief visit. By following recommended oral health practices at home, coming prepared for your appointment, and being communicative with your provider, you can maximize your experience with a trusted dentist

Residents of Charlottesville, VA, searching for top-notch dental care can turn to Hillcrest Dental. Since 1953, our professionals have provided patients quality dental care that inspires smiles and confidence. Among our general dentistry services, we provide routine check-ups that help you affordably maintain excellent oral hygiene. For more information or to schedule your next appointment, call us at (434) 973-2224 today!

Below, we detail how to optimize your dental checkup:

Oral Care Between Appointments

Checkups are meant to identify and prevent serious issues early on, but are insufficient to maintain oral hygiene without regular cleaning at home. Therefore, you must maintain proper oral hygiene practices between appointments. For an easy, low-stress visit, brush and floss twice daily using the proper techniques. Also, take note of any potential issues to address during your appointment. Such issues may include:

Come Prepared 

Pre-appointment preparation eliminates last-minute scrambling and ensures a time-effective visit. Your dentist likely requires official documents upon your initial visit. So, bring a copy of your dental insurance, ID, and medical records. Additionally, if your prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, or health conditions have changed, write it down and ensure your dentist is aware. 

Ideally, you should schedule routine checkups once every 6 months to a year. Skipping such appointments may result in poor oral health and a more arduous and expensive visit. So, before you leave the dentist, proactively schedule your next appointment.

Be Communicative


By being open and honest with your dentist, you can ensure a personalized and beneficial experience. Make any potential concerns about your health, treatment, or financing clear to your dental professionals. A quality dentist should be eager to listen to questions and provide you with the best treatment for you

Additionally, many people feel anxious about dental visits. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to bring your feelings to light. A fear of the dentist’s office is common, and a trained professional can help minimize your negative feelings and optimize your experience. 

Visit a Trusted Dentist in Charlottesville, VA!

Turning to an experienced dentist can help you achieve and maintain the smile you’ve always desired. At Hillcrest Dental in Charlottesville, VA, we provide comprehensive care that keeps you confident and healthy. With services ranging from general care to cosmetic dentistry, our dedicated team is equipped to handle all your oral hygiene needs. To learn more or request a free smile consultation, call (434) 973-2224 today! 

All the Essential Services Your Local Dentist Can Provide You

Although some people hold an irrational fear of doing so, visiting your local dentist is essential for maintaining your oral health and well-being. Whether you have concerns about your smile, are experiencing tooth pain, or are overdue for a regular check-up, general dentistry services can address your oral health needs. From dental fillings to teeth cleanings, a competent dentist can ensure your teeth and gums are well cared for. 

Hillcrest Dental has provided high-quality dental care to Waynesboro, VA, residents since 1953. Our personalized, patient-centered services range from general and surgical dentistry to cosmetic oral procedures. We can help you feel confident in your smile without breaking your budget. Call (434) 973-2224 or visit our website to receive a free smile consultation today.

Below, we explain the services general dentists provide:

What Is General Dentistry? 

Due to their broad scope of oral health expertise, the healthcare industry regards general dentists as primary dental healthcare providers. Their specialization lies in diagnosing, treating, and preventing a wide range of mild to moderate oral health problems.

In addition to regular services, general dentists provide valuable advice on maintaining oral hygiene. Therefore, schedule regular appointments with your general dentist to ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Essential General Dentistry Services

Reasons to visit a general dentist include routine check-ups, cleanings, X-rays, and treatments for common oral diseases. Moreover, you may require one or more of the following essential dentistry offerings:

  • Teeth Cleanings & Exams: During a dental cleaning, a dental hygienist uses special tools to remove harmful plaque and tartar build-up. Then, during the dental exam, the dentist thoroughly assesses your mouth, teeth, and throat for signs of gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, or oral cancer. Schedule cleanings and examinations every 6 months to ensure a healthy smile and early detection of oral health issues.

  • Dental Sealants & Fillings: Since 1 in 4 adults have at least one cavity, sealants and fillings are the most common dental procedure. Caregivers will apply sealants to the tooth surfaces that are cavity-prone to prevent their formation. If cavities have already caused fissures and damage in teeth, dental professionals will use fillings to repair them. Without these treatments, these damages can lead to persistent pain and infection. 

  • Root Canals: The notorious root canal comes into play when a tooth is significantly infected but can still be saved without an extraction. In this simple yet delicate procedure, dental professionals remove the inflamed pulp inside a tooth and disinfect the area before filling and sealing the tooth. If you fail to address such an infection, it can spread to other healthy teeth. 

  • Extractions: When a cavity, infection, or fracture deeply penetrates a tooth and doesn’t respond to other treatments, a tooth extraction becomes necessary. This procedure protects the surrounding teeth from potential infection by removing the problematic tooth from its socket and replacing it with a titanium or zirconium implant.

  • Teeth Whitening: Teeth can develop a yellowish tint as they age. Yet comprehensive general dentistry services may include aesthetic treatments such as teeth bleaching or whitening. Professional teeth whitening offers superior results to at-home remedies by delivering longer-lasting outcomes. It’s a safe bleaching process that lightens the shade of teeth to a brilliant white. 

Professional General Dentistry Services in Waynesboro, VA!

Your smile is part of your personality, so keep up-to-date on necessary general dentistry services. At Hillcrest Dental, our team leverages the latest dental technology and high-quality care to treat Waynesboro, VA, residents and families. For more information and to schedule your next appointment, call (434) 973-2224 today.

How to Achieve a Perfect Smile with Cosmetic Dentistry Services

As schoolchildren, we learn the importance of brushing our teeth and visiting the dentist: doing so protects our physical health, smiles, and confidence. Yet we may not realize an entire branch of dentistry is geared toward improving teeth’s appearance. Cosmetic dentistry services are treatments—such as whitening, veneers, and enamel-colored fillings—that achieve a dazzling smile. If you’ve ever felt self-conscious about your smile, speak to your dentist about how cosmetic dental options can help.

Waynesboro, VA, residents can turn to Hillcrest Dental for all such needs. Our office provides general, cosmetic, and oral surgery services to individuals and families throughout the region. We always deliver comprehensive treatment options without sacrificing personalized, patient-centered services. To learn more about our legacy of smiles or request a free smile consultation, call (434) 973-2224 or visit our website today!

Below, we explain the goals of cosmetic dentistry and how its procedures can benefit you:

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Just as people exercise and diet to improve their appearance, they use cosmetic dentistry to feel better about their smiles. These procedures and treatments whiten and straighten teeth in particular, whereas general dentistry enhances oral health (including gums) generally. The most popular options include teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry veneers, orthodontics (including invisible braces), and more.

Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment Options

  • Teeth whitening
    Among the best-known cosmetic treatment options, teeth whitening washes stains and plaque from their surface while restoring their enamel color. This process evens their color and brightens their appearance (whereas teeth bleaching polishes them beyond natural coloring). While over-the-counter whiteners are available, professional treatments deliver the best results.


  • Dental veneers
    Cosmetic dentists may suggest veneers for blemishes that teeth whitening cannot counteract. These thin porcelain or resin composite pieces fit atop teeth and cover surface damage. They help create an even, symmetrical appearance by correcting broken, unusually shaped, abnormally small, or otherwise afflicted teeth. Dentists grind and shape veneers before bonding them semi-permanently to teeth.


  • Enamel-colored fillings

Some teeth damage is too deep or painful to correct with a veneer to cover up. In these cases, tooth-colored fillings pull double duty by repairing the damage and mimicking the appearance of natural enamel. Such fillings also protect teeth against further damage.

  • Dental implants
    While fillings can replace gaps and chinks in teeth, they cannot supplant an entire tooth. Dental implants fulfill this role instead. To install one, a dentist first inserts the implant’s body portion in place of the missing tooth’s root. Once that heals, they will add the abutment and artificial tooth atop it. Dental implants thus fill gaps between teeth with material that looks and feels like enamel.


  • Orthodontics & Invisible Braces
    Many adults still shudder at the memories of awkward and uncomfortable metal braces. Yet orthodontics has advanced so that clear braces and invisible aligners are now readily available. These products gently push and pull teeth into alignment over several several. Hillcrest offers young- and full grown-adult patients options from 6 Month Smiles, a certified orthodontics provider.


Comprehensive Cosmetic Dentistry Services Available in Waynesboro, VA

You need not cover up your smile any longer: make an appointment at Hillcrest Dental for cosmetic dentistry services! Our team can straighten and whiten your teeth for a flawless look that will make your confidence soar. Hillcrest serves individuals and families throughout Waynesboro, VA, and the surrounding region. Call (434) 973-2224 or visit our website to learn about our dental services and schedule an appointment!

How to Choose the Right Family Dental Plan for Your Family’s Needs

Choosing a family dental plan is a complicated, multifaceted process. Yet making an informed decision on which family dental plans best fit your needs requires you to consider all the different factors, including costs, preventative care options, and customer reviews. Although you may worry that these considerations will overwhelm you with choices, they can aid in your search and help you determine the best options for you and your family. 

Families in Greene County, Virginia, depend on Hillcrest Dental for all their family dental needs. We deliver high-quality care thanks to decades of experience and dedication at a fair price. Our family-oriented dentist, Dr. Ryan Buckwalter, puts his clients and their families first. Families and individuals can rely on Hillcrest for general, cosmetic, and oral surgery services. Also, we can cooperate and assist you in choosing the best plan and provider options for your family. To learn more about your family’s dental plans and care choices, call 434-973-2224 to schedule an appointment today.

Below, we highlight some key factors to consider when choosing the right plan and provider:

Things to Consider When Choosing a Family Dental Plan


  • Preventative Care

Preventative dental services include routine teeth cleanings, exams, fluoride treatments, and X-rays. A plan covering these procedures can save you money and time in the long run. With preventative steps, you lower the risk of developing more serious dental issues and incurring costs.

  • Cost

Your budget is crucial when deciding which plan best suits your dental needs. Before settling on a plan, ask questions about insurance coverage, copays, and overall charges. Also, see if the program offers any discounts, as this could help save you money. In addition, the size of your family and other factors could affect the plan’s cost. Generally, the larger your family, the higher the price.

  • Determine Your Needs

Every family has different needs when it comes to their dental healthcare. It is pertinent you consider these needs when choosing your dental plan. For instance, do you have young children or plan on having children in the future? Do you have an adolescent who may need orthodontic work? Your family dynamics could impact this decision.

  • Comparing plans

Be sure to compare plans and obtain quotes from several providers. Doing so can help determine whether or not a dental plan is appropriate for you and your family.

  • Reviews

Finally, reading honest reviews from previous clients is another tool to help you discern which dental provider/plan is best for your family. When comparing two plans, customer testimonials provide insight into differences in service, price, and overall satisfaction.

Why Hillcrest Dental Can Help With Your Family’s Needs

Enrolling in a family dental plan helps keep you and your family safe and secure in emergencies. Thus, it is critical to determine what requirements your family plan must meet. For instance, is the plan within your budget? Will it safeguard you from future incidents? Will it cover the routine services?

Ultimately, you must choose a plan that fits your family’s needs. As a family-oriented dentist, Hillcrest Dental is there for all of your dental demands. We understand that your family’s care comes first, and we have provided top-notch family dental care for decades. In addition, we work with you to help provide the best options for your dental healthcare plan and future.

Family Dentistry Services Available in Greene County, VA

Hillcrest Dental delivers outstanding dental care and service to Greene County, VA, families. Our staff understands that finding a family dental plan is imperative as your family grows. We work with patients to determine the best dental plans for themselves and their loved ones. To learn more about your family dental plan options, call us at 434-937-2224 or schedule an appointment today!

How to Care for Your Teeth without Dental Insurance

Dental care should be a priority for everyone, even those who cannot afford dental insurance. Without proper maintenance, oral health problems can undermine your overall well-being. The good news is that affordable uninsured dental care options exist and can prevent many problems. Implementing good oral hygiene, adjusting your diet, and finding low-cost dental care can keep your smile shining brightly.

Hillcrest Dental offers Piedmont, VA, residents comprehensive and accessible dental care. We understand the financial obstacles that dental care can present, so we’re happy to discuss options before your appointment. Families and individuals throughout the region rely on our general, cosmetic, and oral surgery services for healthy teeth. To learn more about our work, call (434) 973-2224 or schedule a free smile consultation today. 

Below, we discuss ways to protect your oral health even without dental insurance: 

Establish a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

Practicing oral hygiene at home is the easiest way to protect your teeth and avoid costly dentist visits. Keeping your teeth healthy requires daily effort, but the following steps can help you achieve just that: 

  • Brushing teeth twice daily using fluoride toothpaste
  • Gently brushing your tongue to remove bacteria
  • Flossing at least once daily to remove food particles
  • Using mouthwash regularly 

Following an oral hygiene routine can prevent the build-up of bacteria, which cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Moreover, caring for your teeth helps to inhibit many dental issues and their hefty price tags. 

Be Mindful of Your Diet

Taking care of your teeth also means maintaining a healthy diet. The food you eat between brushings sits on your teeth, and some foods are more harmful than others. To start, reduce the amount of sugary food and drinks you have. Excessive sugar can break down enamel and cause tooth decay.

Replace those sugary foods with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that will strengthen enamel. Moreover, switching sugary drinks for water also helps wash away food particles in your mouth and keeps you hydrated. You need not cut out all sugary food, but moderation is critical to keeping your teeth shining.

Find Low-Cost Dental Care Options

Low-cost dental coverage options are available. Depending on your income, you may qualify for public insurance programs such as Medicaid and CHIP, but these programs vary by state. Check online for specific details and ask dentistry offices whether they accept such coverage.

Additionally, you can discuss coverage options with your dentist. Some offices offer dental benefits plans or other options to save money on routine services. Exploring these routes can help you find the dental coverage you need.

Budget for Check-Ups

Even without insurance, it may be worth budgeting for the occasional dentist visit. Annual checkups catch potential tooth problems early and treat them before they worsen. Moreover, speaking honestly with your dentist can help determine which issues need immediate care. By delaying dental work that isn’t urgent, you can focus your budget on more important concerns. 

Affordable Uninsured Dental Care Services in Piedmont, VA!

Finding uninsured dental care doesn’t need to be a challenge. Piedmont, VA, residents need look no further than Hillcrest Dental for affordable tooth care. Since 1953, our team has committed to delivering personalized, patient-centered care for all budgets. Call (434) 973-2224 to learn more about our financing options and schedule an appointment!

When is Dental Bleaching Necessary?

More than 50% of Americans have anxiety over their teeth’s appearance. Chipped, missing, or yellowing teeth can give us feelings of shame and insecurity about our smiles’ appearance, tanking our confidence. Thankfully, dentists offer many treatments for just such issues. Dental bleaching, for example, is a low-maintenance option that whitens teeth to create a dazzling smile. Schedule a cosmetic dentist appointment for dental bleaching services to revive your confidence and eliminate years of stains.

Hillcrest Dental’s cosmetic dental services are some of the best in Monticello, VA. You can soon start flashing your smile by connecting with our expert team of cosmetic dentists. We specialize in cosmetic braces, veneers, bleaching, and more for people of all ages. To get started with a free consultation, call our office at (434) 973-2224.

Below, we explain what dental bleaching entails and when it’s necessary:

What is Dental Bleaching?

Dental bleaching involves dentists using chemicals, like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, to bleach one’s teeth beyond their natural color. Bleaching differs from teeth whitening in that the latter restores the teeth’s natural color by removing surface stains. However, people often use these terms interchangeably. 

Receiving dental bleaching from a dentist’s office provides the highest-quality and safest whitening possible. Although the treatment costs more at an office than at-home products and methods, professional teeth whitening lasts longer than doing it yourself. Moreover, you can expect the best results from professionals with years of experience!

The team at Hillcrest Dental provides dental bleaching and more within their cosmetic dental services. We consider the best options and techniques for each individual and their needs.

When is it Necessary?

Tooth Discoloration

  • Tooth discoloration can result from numerous causes, including:
  • Smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Drinking tea, coffee, red wine, or soda
  • A buildup of plaque or tartar
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Genetics
  • Certain medications

Tooth discoloration can make individuals feel self-conscious about their smile and even prevent them from socializing. Yet dental bleaching combats tooth discoloration to ensure your smile is all porcelain white! 

Special Occasions or Job Interviews

Attending a special occasion or a job interview can be exciting as long as you feel confident. Yet meeting friends, family, or a potential employer with stains on your teeth can undermine your confidence. Therefore, dental bleaching is perfect for special occasions or job interview preparation! Boost your confidence to improve your focus on conversations with others.

Aging Effects

The older we get, the more our bodies change—that’s a given! But did you know those changes include your teeth? As we age, tooth enamel wears down and leads to teeth discoloration. 

Additionally, receding gums increase the likelihood of cavities developing, while dry mouths promote bacteria buildup and result in tooth decay. Seniors who want to combat the effects of aging on their teeth can use dental bleaching and achieve a brand-new smile, regaining the confidence of their youth.

Cosmetic Dentists Specializing in Dental Bleaching in Monticello, VA

Hillcrest Dental offers comprehensive dental services, including cosmetic dentistry, oral surgery, and general dental care. Our cosmetic options can repair tooth defects, relieve discomfort, and promote oral health. So, turn to the experts that have served Monticello, VA, residents since 1953. Call (434) 973-2224 to learn more about our dental bleaching services and more.

What to Do If You Dislodge Your Tooth

Among the most critical parts of every tooth is something you cannot see: the dental or tooth pulp. This living tissue resides in the root canals of teeth and contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Yet like any other part of teeth, the dental pulp can suffer trauma. Individuals with broken, knocked-out, or dislodged teeth must locate the damaged portion, keep it clean, and see oral surgeons as soon as possible. They have the training and tools to address such problems.

Greene County, VA, residents can receive such care at Hillcrest Dental. Our oral surgery team can address severe toothaches, dental implants, dental accidents, and other scenarios. We also offer general dental care services—including cleanings, fillings, root canals, and more—for families and individuals across the region. Hillcrest has proudly served the area since 1953, and we look forward to continuing our legacy of smiles with you and your loved ones. Call (434) 973-2224 or visit our website to schedule your appointment!

Below, we describe the science and treatment of dislodged and damaged teeth:

Endodontic Treatment: Saving Dislodged and Damaged Teeth

Caring for teeth’s pulp and nerves is called endodontic or root canal treatment. The procedure includes broken tooth treatment, dislodged teeth corrections, and knocked-out teeth procedures. All these services directly affect the dental pulp, encased by the dentin—the tooth “body” and crown—and the enamel. This resilient exterior protects the soft tooth pulp.

The exact treatment details and steps you should take for endodontic injuries depend on the damage inflicted.

Damaged Teeth Scenarios & Treatments

Dislodged teeth
Also referred to as luxated, dislodged teeth are those pushed sideways, out of, or further into their socket due to trauma. Dentists treat adult dislodged teeth by repositioning and possibly splinting them, though root canal treatment is a more permanent solution. Children between 7 and 12 may not need a root canal because their permanent teeth are still developing. The best thing you can do after dislodging a tooth is visit your dentist ASAP.

Fractured or chipped teeth
Many fractured or chipped teeth break at the crown, which—though uncomfortable—can be fixed by simple reattachment or capping. However, breaks that expose or damage dental pulp often require a root canal. Split teeth, the most significant fracture-type injury, may need outright extraction.

If you notice a tooth fracture and locate the broken piece, wash it in cold water and take it to the dentist immediately. They may be able to reattach it. Also, show extreme caution with breaks that involve dental pulp—bite on clean, moist gauze or cloth to relieve pain rather than apply topical oral medication. Aspirin can also ease discomfort.

Knocked-out teeth
Also called avulsed, knocked-out teeth present the most extreme pulp trauma. Nevertheless, they can be saved and returned to their place! Doing so requires quick action: visit your dentist immediately so they can analyze the damage. They may install a splint to hold the tooth in place and allow the socket to heal around that tooth.

If you have a tooth knocked out of your mouth, handle it carefully. Avoid touching the root surface and wash off any dirt or foreign substances in cold water (without soap or a brush). If you can, place the tooth back in its socket ASAP—if not, put it in cool milk to prevent it from drying out. Do not transport the tooth in water or a towel, which can kill the root surface cells. The sooner a dentist can reset the tooth in the socket, the better the chance that the tooth will survive.

Knocked-Out and Dislodged Teeth Care for Greene County, VA, Residents!

With quick action and proper care, damaged or dislodged teeth can survive the trauma and continue supporting your oral health. Greene County, VA, families and individuals who need such services can rely on Hillcrest Dental. Our team of professionals offers outstanding care and comprehensive options for those who want to protect and improve their smiles. Reach out today at (434) 973-2224 or visit our website to learn about all our services and schedule an appointment!

When You May Need a Root Canal & How to Prevent Such Problems

Among the possible treatments for dental problems, root canals hold a place of notoriety. They entail significant time and several tools, and many patients erroneously believe the process is painful. Yet a root canal treatment is necessary to treat dental cavities that receive no care over long periods. Therefore, you can avoid the need for one by brushing and flossing daily as well as routinely using general dentistry services.

Individuals and families in Ruckersville, VA, can rely on Hillcrest Dental to tend to their smiles and oral health. In addition to general dental care, our team provides cosmetic and oral surgery services. We leverage proven methodologies and cutting-edge techniques to deliver outstanding outcomes for all patients. To learn more or request a free smile consultation today, call (434) 973-2224 or visit our website.

What Is a Root Canal?

Root canal treatments remove infected or abscessed dental matter from a patient’s mouth. This process is necessary to save a tooth after bacteria enters and infects its pulp. A dentist extracts the afflicted pulp and cleans the tooth’s surface, then installs a filling to seal the spot. Depending on the infection’s severity, this process can last 30 to 60 minutes and extend up to 2 visits. Patients receive local anesthesia before the procedure.

Despite many people’s trepidation over the procedure, more than 15 million Americans receive root canals annually. Therefore, dentists are well-prepared and experienced in the process. Anyone scheduled for one should follow treatment preparations to the letter: take any medications the doctor orders, avoid smoking, and eat a healthy meal a few hours before your procedure.

The Issues That Require Root Canal Treatments

Again, dentists use root canals to treat teeth affected by long-standing cavities. Yet a tooth cracked or chipped due to trauma may also suffer an infection and require such a procedure. Furthermore, tooth decay can also lead to the same problem.

The symptoms that indicate a need for a root canal are numerous. They include:

  • Persistent tooth pain, particularly from inside a tooth, that radiates into the jaw or adjacent teeth
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold—such as hot coffee or iced drinks—that lingers for several seconds after exposure
  • Swollen and tender gums, which can indicate an accumulation of pus due to infection
  • Swollen jaw, a result of pus failing to drain from the gums or the surrounding area
  • Tooth discoloration, as pulp infections can cut off blood supply to the afflicted tooth and darken it
  • Pain from contact, such as from chewing or light pressure on the tooth

How to Prevent the Issues that Require Root Canals

As with almost all dental problems, regular brushing and flossing can fight cavities, the bacteria they bring, and—by extension—infected pulp. Of course, routine dental visits provide in-depth cleaning and services that help fight cavities too. But we also have more specific tips to help protect your oral health.

First, stay extra attentive about your dental health during holidays. People often indulge in sweets during Halloween and Christmas, so moderate your habits. Drink plenty of water, maintain your oral health routine, and don’t use your teeth to open presents.

Additionally, speak to your dentist about dental health as you age. Daily use wears on teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities and bacteria. It’s critical to care for gums and other areas of your mouth to ensure your oral health remains intact.

Ruckersville, VA, Residents Can Schedule General Dentistry Services Now

Although root canals may seem intimidating and extreme, they can protect your oral health and relieve significant toothaches. Moreover, daily care and regular general dentistry services from Hillcrest Dental can help prevent the need for root canals entirely. Our team treats families and individuals from Ruckersville, VA, and the surrounding region with comprehensive treatments and high-quality care options. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (434) 973-2224 or visit our website!

When is Sleep Apnea Treatment Necessary?

person sleeping with mask on

Humans are asleep for one-third of their lives. Therefore, an individual who lives to 80 spends approximately 26 years just resting! Yet that sleep must be restful and relaxing before you can enjoy its rejuvenating benefits. But sleep apnea can get in the way of a good night’s rest. Characterized by persistent snoring, insomnia, and exhaustion during the day, sleep apnea can interrupt your daily well-being. So, turn to a general dentistry service to get your sleep apnea under control.

The Hillcrest Dental team provides general care, cosmetic services, and surgical dentistry for people of all ages in Waynesboro, VA. Since 1953, we’ve treated patients with personalized dental care. To learn more about our general dentistry services, call us at (434) 973-2224 or visit our website.

Below, we discuss sleep apnea, its symptoms, and when treatment becomes necessary:

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts. These pauses in respiration occur when the upper airway muscles relax during sleep, pinching off the free passage of air. Breathing may stop for 10 seconds or more until the body’s reflexes kick in and normal breathing returns. 

The 2 kinds of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive: The most common sleep-related breathing disorder, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when air cannot flow into or out of the nose or mouth, despite efforts to breathe. It’s caused by your throat muscles when they relax and block your airway.
  • Central: A failure of the brain to send the correct signals to muscles to enable breathing is called central sleep apnea. Thankfully, this type is the less common of the pair.

What Are the Signs?

Contrary to popular belief, sleep apnea is not the same as snoring. Snoring is simply the vibration sound created by airway resistance, and sleep apnea can occur without it (though the 2 often coexist).

Common signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia

The partners of sleep apnea sufferers often notice the condition before the sufferers themselves. Call your local general dentistry service if you or your partner are worried about sleep apnea. Professionals can determine if you need an oral apnea appliance and help you reclaim a healthy sleep cycle.

What Are the Treatment Options?

breathing machine

The preferred method of treating sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure therapy or a CPAP machine. It delivers constant and steady air pressure through a hose connected to a mask or nosepiece so you can breathe as you sleep. Moreover, it reduces blood pressure and improves wakefulness during the day. Indeed, sleep apnea patients who use a CPAP machine at night report better quality of life.

If you’re unsure whether or not a CPAP machine would suit you, a qualified general dental practitioner can recommend other oral appliances for your sleep apnea.

When is Treatment Necessary?

Sleep apnea treatment is necessary when the condition interrupts well-being. It typically goes hand-in-hand with other health issues like obesity and high blood pressure. Moreover, the health of your teeth and mouth can affect the rest of your body and threaten restful sleep, a balanced diet, and more. If you struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or stay awake during the day, seek treatment immediately.

General Dentistry Services for Sleep Apnea in Waynesboro, VA

A general dentistry service can help you determine what kind of dental treatment you need for your sleep apnea symptoms. The team at Hillcrest Dental offers Waynesboro, VA, residents the full range of dental treatments so they can walk out of our door with a brighter smile. From cosmetic services to oral surgery services, we guarantee you’ll love your results. To learn more about our approach to sleep apnea, call our office at (434) 973-2224 today.

5 Reasons You May Be Experiencing Toothaches

More than 40% of adults experience mouth pain annually. Yet toothaches, in particular, may range from mild discomfort to severe, stabbing pain, interrupting individuals’ daily lives. Toothaches may spring from tooth decay, a broken tooth, or wisdom teeth lacking room to grow. To prevent their discomfort from worsening or spreading to other parts of the face, toothache sufferers must visit a dentist. Schedule an appointment with your local oral surgeon to diagnose the root of your pain!

Hillcrest Dental specializes in oral surgery for broken teeth, accidents and trauma, dental implants, and more. We provide the latest in digital x-rays and imaging, laser dentistry, air abrasion, and more for Charlottesville, VA, residents. Also, we prioritize customer satisfaction and want them to enjoy long-lasting results. To schedule an appointment with a certified oral surgeon, call (434) 973-2224.

Below, we discuss 5 reasons you may experience toothaches:

What Is a Toothache?

Toothaches involve any sort of pain in one or more teeth. Caused by anything from food stuck between teeth to tooth decay, toothaches need treatment by a dental professional.

Toothache symptoms include sharp, throbbing, or constant pain, swelling around a tooth, fever or headache, foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth, or a foul odor from the mouth. If you have trouble breathing or swallowing, contact a dentist immediately.

Common Toothache Causes

1. Tooth Decay

Also known as cavities, tooth decay refers to holes in teeth that form when acid erodes their enamel. More than 80% of Americans have at least one cavity by their mid-30s. If left untreated, they can cause toothaches and infections. They can also result in tooth extractions. 

Professional dentistry is required to treat tooth decay because it is a persistent, chronic issue. However, regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups can prevent tooth decay.

2. Abscessed Tooth

A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus from an oral bacterial infection. It can appear on and affect teeth, surrounding bones, and gums. There are three types:

  • Gingival: An infection that develops in the gums yet does not affect a tooth or surrounding structures. Like all abscesses, it arises from a bacterial infection due to tooth decay, rough brushing, broken teeth, food stuck in the gum line, or bleeding gums.
  • Periapical: An infection that forms at the tip of the tooth’s root. Bacteria can spread to the inside of a tooth and affect the pulp—the innermost part, which contains nerves and blood vessels—through a fracture or cavity. From there, the bacteria spread to the tip of the tooth’s root and cause bone infection and then an abscess.
  • Periodontal: This infection starts in the bone and tissues that support a tooth and results from periodontitis or gum disease. It’s more common in adults than children.

An untreated bacterial infection can spread to your jawbone, the tissues of your face and neck, and more. A local dentist can provide immediate and professional emergency dental care.

3. Broken Tooth

A broken tooth or tooth fracture could involve a crack appearing in your tooth or a part of your tooth going missing. You might notice pain, sensitivity, and swelling. Depending on the fracture’s location and severity, your dentist has several treatment options.

Teeth consist of two parts: the crown, visible above your gums, and the root, below your gums. Both the crown and the root consist of several layers:

  • Enamel – The hard, white outer surface
  • Dentin – The middle layer of calcified, living tissue
  • Pulp – The softer inner tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves

Tooth fractures can affect some or all of these layers. Moreover, a broken tooth can result in a toothache. Seek treatment as soon as possible to increase the chances of repair.

4. Damaged Filling

If you’ve ever had a dental filling and detected increased tooth sensitivity and pain in the treated tooth—as well as visible cracks, fissures, or shifts in the way the tooth feels—the filling might have damage. Strange as it may seem, a damaged filling can create a toothache.

Fillings suffer damage from hard or sticky foods, using teeth as tools to open items, poor oral hygiene, and bruxism (teeth grinding). A dental filling can last 10 years or more—but you should contact your dentist if you notice one has become damaged.

5. Eruption of Wisdom Teeth

Tooth eruption is the movement of one or more developing teeth from their non-functional position in the alveolar bone to their functional one in the oral cavity. Essentially, it’s the process wherein teeth become visible. This process can result in aches and pain as the new tooth finds its place in your mouth.

Wisdom teeth, in particular, can cause soreness, sensitivity, or aching in the back of the mouth behind the last molar. This scenario results from impacted wisdom teeth—when your wisdom teeth fail to break through the gum line. Have your situation addressed immediately by a professional oral surgeon.

Find a Reliable Oral Surgeon for Your Toothache in Charlottesville, VA

If you’re suffering from a toothache and require immediate help, look no further than Hillcrest Dental. Residents in and around Charlottesville, VA, can turn to our team to help with their toothache, general dental care, and more. Hillcrest provides a comfortable, patient-friendly approach to personalized and modern surgical dentistry. To learn more about our oral surgeon team and extensive services, contact (434) 973-2224 or visit our website for more information.

  • "I am very pleased with how my appointment went yesterday. Everyone was really friendly. They explained everything to me about the procedure and stayed late to assure I was comfortable with the work I had done. Dr Ryan Buckwalter and his assistants were awesome. I highly recommend them for any dental work. Thank you."

    Donnette M.

  • "I was having toothache pain in my lower jaw. I called the next day to make an appointment and was given an appointment time for the very next day. I saw Dr. Ryan, who is knowledgeable, caring and has great people skills with his patients. I made another appointment to come back and have the work done."

    Denise K.

  • “Dr. Buckwalter and his assistant did a wonderful job with our 8 year old today. While they were busy talking teeth, my 3 year old was enjoying his new lip balm and balloon! Finished up with a treat from Starbucks with our gift card. So glad our kiddos don’t fear the dentist. More like they want to keep stopping in."

    Logan D.

  • “Unbelievable experience with Dr. Ryan Buckwalter. Night and Day difference from my last dental experience with another dentist. I no longer fear the dentist!”

    David S.