Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD
Thomas M. Starkey, DDS (ReTIRED)

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901

434.973.2224

Keeping Your Dental Health in Great Shape as You Age

Over the past several decades, medical care and disease prevention advancements have lifted Americans’ average life expectancy to new heights. Even though the pandemic slightly eroded that appraisal, people live longer now than in centuries past. Yet this trend comes with challenges to dental health and related medical conditions. As individuals age, their incidence of tooth decay and loss, gum disease, oral cancer, and more problems increases. You can protect your oral health and avoid such issues by regularly visiting a professional Monticello, VA, dentist and following their hygiene tips.

Look no further than Hillcrest Dental for all such needs. Our team offers general, cosmetic, and surgical dentistry services to families and individuals throughout the Monticello region. We’ve delivered high-quality care since 1953 and continue a proud legacy of smiles. For more information or to request an appointment, visit our website or call (434) 973-2224.

Below, we offer suggestions to preserve and protect your oral health as you age:

Preventing Tooth Damage and Loss

The bad habits of youth can leave an enduring impact on dental health. For example, years of acidic foods, alcohol, and tobacco consumption weakens tooth enamel, which may crack or break. These ruptures in the outer surface can irritate and infect the interior pulp tissue. Treating an advanced infection may require a root canal or other invasive procedure.

Tooth decay affects virtually all adults ages 65 and over. Areas around the gum line are especially vulnerable due to the natural recession of gum tissue with age, a process that exposes teeth’s soft root tissue. Individuals who lacked access to fluoride or dental sealants in their childhood may find more decay around the edges of fillings.

You can manage—if not outright avoid—such issues by maintaining strong cavity prevention practices, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups. Advances in self-care technology, like electric toothbrushes, deliver better protection than conventional instruments. Likewise, fluoride toothpaste and other innovations can rebuild tooth enamel’s mineral crystals and control plaque growth.

Caring for Gums and Other Sensitive Areas of Your Mouth

You must protect your gums and soft mouth tissue if you want healthy teeth. Seniors face a significant danger of developing periodontal disease, in which the loss of gum tissue leads to loose teeth and deteriorating jawbones. Periodontal disease is a top reason for tooth loss among seniors, and the condition worsens with time.

Some adults may unwittingly carry periodontal disease for years. Nevertheless, special scaling and regular, professional cleanings can combat this issue. Your dentist may recommend antibiotics or, in extreme cases, surgery to remove diseased gum tissue.

Monitoring for Oral Cancer

With age comes an increased risk of certain cancers, including oral cavity cancer. Tobacco users and men face the most trouble (oral cancer appears less often in women). Nevertheless, everyone should keep a close eye for growths on their lips, tongue, and bottom of the mouth. A professional should examine white or red patches that last more than two weeks.

Seniors also have a greater chance than others of suffering conditions that cause sores in the mouth, such as herpes. Although unrelated to oral cancer, these sores can make talking, eating, and swallowing difficult. Regular dental checks can identify potential problems. 

Other Oral Problems that Surface with Age

Many seniors rely on medications to control one or more other medical conditions, and those medications can affect oral health. For example, heart disease medicine and antiseizure drugs can cause gum tissue to swell. This puffy tissue can overwhelm a tooth if left untreated and require surgery to remove it.

Other medications lead to dry mouth, which can cause oral tissue irritation and infection, gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities. Those suffering from persistent dry mouth can chew sugarless gum, suck sugarless candy, or increase their water consumption. By focusing on good oral hygiene, seniors can address the causes and side effects of dry mouth.

Monticello, VA, Dentists Available for New Patients Now!

Daily use may lead us to take them for granted, but teeth require daily care and professional guidance. The comprehensive Monticello, VA, dentists at Hillcrest Dental helps individuals and families maintain robust oral health throughout their lives. Our professionals offer general, cosmetic, and oral surgery services to meet the needs of all patients, regardless of age. For more information on our dentistry options or to schedule an appointment, call (434) 973-2224.

Fluoride-Free Toothpaste vs. Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride occurs naturally in Earth’s crust; therefore, most drinkable water is fluoridated to some degree. Yet fluoride can also be added to drinking water manually, and some local officials choose to do so. This substance can prevent tooth decay and, in small doses, strengthen tooth enamel to prevent cavities. Fluoride is also found in most toothpaste brands on the market today. However, there is a growing demand for fluoride-free toothpaste. This trend has resulted in cosmetic dentists experiencing increased rates of teeth whitening requests. Nevertheless, Hillcrest Dental professionals believe the effects of toothpaste with and without fluoride are worth exploring.

Hillcrest Dental has served the residents of Piedmont, VA, for over 60 years with professional dental services. Our hardworking staff handles all dental care our patients need, and we can ensure everyone gets the care they deserve. In addition to cosmetic dentistry, we also offer general services and oral surgery. Call us at 434.973.2224 or contact us online for your free smile consultation

Below, we list the pros and cons of fluoride toothpaste vs. fluoride-free toothpaste:

Fluoride Prevents Cavities

Brushing and flossing alone cannot keep the cavities away. Cavities form in tiny cracks in your tooth enamel and—if left untreated— will grow to eat away at your teeth and cause significant pain. Brushing with fluoride-free toothpaste leaves you at risk of developing cavities, no matter how diligent you are with your dental hygiene. Using fluoride toothpaste helps reverse the cavities formation and contributes to your teeth whitening

If fluoride whitening toothpaste isn’t cleaning the stains off of your teeth, opting for cosmetic teeth whitening may be helpful. At Hillcrest Dental, we have found that clients with whiter teeth practice better oral care habits and have more confidence. Schedule a teeth whitening appointment to reinvigorate your smile and maintain your dental health. 

Fluoride Prevents Tooth Decay

When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth—known as plaque—dissolve the sugars and produce an acid that damages the enamel on your teeth. This process is tooth decay, one of the primary causes of cavities and other oral health issues. Using fluoride toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water can help combat this decay and make your teeth more resistant to sugary acids and staining.

Meanwhile, fluoride-free toothpaste can expose you to the damaging consequences of eating foods with high amounts of sugar. You may suffer significant dental problems later in life. Simply drinking water with optimal amounts of fluoride can help prevent such outcomes.

Fluoride Exposure May be Overkill

Despite fluoride’s oral health benefits, consuming an excess may work against your body’s needs. Indeed, too much may cancel out its teeth-whitening effects and cause permanent discoloration of your teeth. This result, called dental fluorosis, can speed up tooth decay, especially in young children. Dental fluorosis usually manifests as a noticeable and permanent change in the color of your teeth. 

Nevertheless, a professional cosmetic dentist can treat it with teeth whitening. This short and simple treatment may change your life by bringing back your beautiful smile, even if you are suffering from dental fluorosis.

Receive Cosmetic Dental Care in Piedmont, VA

The debate on fluoride and fluoride-free toothpaste has raged for some time now. So, talk to our experienced cosmetic dentists at Hillcrest Dental for all your tooth care questions in Piedmont, VA. We work to make your smile and your confidence brighter. Call us at (434) 973-2224 or contact us online for your free smile consultation.

The Holidays Are Coming: 4 Dental Hygiene Tips

The season of endless sweets and treats is upon us, during which many people neglect to care for their teeth. Yet everyone’s teeth are at risk of cavities and weak enamel due to the number of sugary foods and drinks available. Still, preventative measures can be put in place to promote oral health: a vigorous oral health routine, avoidance of hard or sticky candies, and more. Additionally, seek professional general dentistry services from a qualified provider. 

Hillcrest Dental has kept the smiles of Monticello, VA, residents healthy and happy for years. Our team of professionals provides thorough examinations, general dental care, cosmetic dentistry, and oral surgery services. We want to keep all patients well-equipped with the necessary tools to maintain their oral health, especially during this time of year. If you are interested in an ideal dental care routine, contact our professionals or call us at (434) 973-2224.

Here, we offer 4 dental hygiene tips that will protect your oral health this holiday season: 

Keep Up with Your Oral Health Routine

Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are daily procedures for many people, but they may be overlooked during the holidays. Given the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year, it can be easy to forget parts of your routine. 

A new toothbrush, dental floss, and effective whitening toothpaste are crucial components for your oral hygiene kit, and having high-quality products will encourage a healthy routine. A soft-bristled toothbrush can prevent damage to your teeth and gums, whereas hard bristles can wear away tooth enamel. Moreover, soft bristles can reach into corners and gaps. 

Drink a Lot of Water

Hydrating is a good habit, and its benefits include supporting oral health. Water restores the pH level in your mouth and washes away the harmful bacteria that can erode your teeth and cause cavities. Drinking water also thins the natural acids your mouth produces and filters out the unwanted sugars left behind by other drinks and food, promoting fresh and clean breath. 

In addition to rinsing the mouth, water also strengthens teeth. When paired with fluoride—found in most tap water—water is a powerful cavity fighter. Indeed, fluoride prevents cavities and tooth fillings, toothaches and discomfort, and tooth decay.

Whether you eat one sweet or a dozen this season, chasing down sugary snacks with a glass of water could save you an unwanted trip to the dentist. 

Avoid Hard or Sticky Candies

Everyone loves to treat themselves to sweet treats during the holiday season, but what happens to your teeth while you’re snacking? While a bite of caramel chocolate or the occasional candy cane might seem harmless, these sugary snacks can speed up tooth decay and create painful cavities. Caramel and taffy can stick to your teeth, facilitate plaque build-up, and even pull out new tooth fillings.

Practicing caution around hard foods and candies is also a smart practice for Christmas this year. Biting down on a candy cane or a mint can create small cracks in teeth, where bacteria may enter. Though it’s not a problem to treat yourself to a few candies here and there, opting for healthier snacking alternatives, like cheese and fresh fruits, helps to protect your teeth.

Don’t Use Your Teeth to Open Presents

Teeth are adapted to chewing and talking, but using them to rip away at a pesky box or bottle cap can lead to severe damage. Chipping, cracking, and even breaking your teeth are possible consequences of using them as tools, which can lead to some pretty expensive dentist visits.

If you chip or break one of your teeth, consider speaking to an oral surgeon about preventing further damage to your smile.

Monticello, VA, Residents Can Book Post-Holiday General Dentistry Services with Hillcrest Dental Today

It’s easy to forget to keep up with your teeth during the festivities at this time of year, and even the most diligent person can overlook flossing here and there. Scheduling an appointment with us for professional general dentistry services will ensure your smile stays healthy and cavity-free. Request your free smile consultation on our website or call us at (434) 973-2224 today.

7 Reasons You Need a Mouth Guard

Although your teeth must last a lifetime, many people begin to experience dental problems after a couple of decades. Up to 3 out of 10 people clench or grind their teeth while sleeping. This tendency—bruxism—can be insidious, as its symptoms develop gradually and often go unnoticed. Over time, clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth can cause wear on and even crack the enamel. Traumatic accidents can also result in these effects, or worse, in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, a mouth guard offers powerful protection for your teeth. Often, using one is essential, even for those who opt for uninsured dental care services.

Hillcrest Dental offers custom night guard and athletic guard services to all its patients in Charlottesville, VA. Bruxism is an ailment we can both work to repair and prevent. With our help, your teeth can withstand stress and trauma, and you’ll be smiling in no time. For more information, contact us today at (434) 973-2224.

Below, we go over 7 benefits of wearing a mouth guard:

1. Mitigating Stress Headaches

All that clenching and grinding creates significant muscle work, usually leaving a patient with soreness and headaches from a poor night of sleep. A mouth guard eliminates the strain, which helps reduce or eliminate headaches.

2. Getting Bettering Sleep

With less stress, headaches, and general discomfort, people sleep better. In other words, people can attain and retain a deep sleep, otherwise known as rapid eye movement—or REM—sleep. The body achieves its best healing and recovery during the REM stages of sleep.

3. Smiling More

How likely are you to smile during the day if your teeth are sensitive and your mouth is sore from the night? With a night guard, a patient is far more relaxed in the morning and thus more likely to smile that day. Moreover, smiling improves your disposition, appearance, and social interactions. 

4. Avoiding Costly Dental Repairs

A significant problem with teeth grinding is that it becomes a pattern. Folks diagnosed with bruxism tend to continue until they proactively stop. A night guard can help in patients’ pursuits. Moreover, a mouth guard can go a long way in preventing far more expensive dental work that might result from chronic jaw-clenching.

5. Preventing Dental Shifts

Believe it or not, even adult teeth can begin to shift under pressure. While they have long roots to anchor them in place, constant pressure from grinding and clenching can change the shape of an adult’s mouth. Again, a night guard breaks this pattern and path. This benefit is particularly significant for older patients, who would are prone to losing teeth after too much grinding.

6. Protecting from Accidents

A mouthguard is essential for any physical sport: football, rugby, martial arts, and more. Without athletic mouth protectors, getting hit in the mouth presents a serious disaster. Yet oral trauma is entirely preventable: custom mouth protectors are tailored to the wearer’s teeth and provide ample protection during gameplay. Just about all high-quality sports mouth protectors work as custom athletic guards.

7. Caring for Your Teeth

Even young kids can care for their dental mouth guard when instructed in the procedure. Not to mention, regular mouth guard maintenance avoids all common myths and complaints regarding taste. Just keep the guard clean every morning, and it’s good to go for the next night or game day. Protecting your teeth is easier than you might think.

Receive Uninsured Dental Care in Charlottesville, VA

When a dentist recommends a mouth guard, it’s usually because they can already see the signs of wear on a patient’s teeth from grinding and clenching. Don’t let your teeth succumb to stress or trauma. Talk to the dentists at Hillcrest Dental about our options for insured and uninsured dental care patients in Charlottesville, VA. We work with our patients on financing options to ensure everyone gets the treatment they deserve. To request an appointment, contact us online or call (434) 973-2224.

Everything You Should Know About Dental Implants

Receiving dental implants can have a profound impact on your life. Usually applied to replace teeth, these implants offer aesthetic and functional benefits for appropriate patients. Although a few risks come with their installation, dental professionals work hard to mitigate them and deliver on these devices’ benefits. If you wish to have dental implants installed, speak with an experienced oral surgeon at Hillcrest Dental about the procedure.

Our team specializes in oral surgery services for residents of Charlottesville, VA. We offer cutting-edge dental solutions with the latest x-ray, imaging, and laser dentistry technology to deliver a comfortable customer experience and high-quality results. Contact us at (434) 973-2224 to learn more about dental implant benefits today!

Below, we detail everything you should know about dental implants:

What are Dental Implants?

The cosmetic device known as dental implants replaces missing teeth in a patient’s mouth. Their installation is straightforward: a dental professional will first insert the implant’s body to replace the missing tooth’s root. Once it has had several months to heal, the professional will add the abutment and artificial tooth—the “screw” portions. These attach to the gum, holding the implant’s crown above the gumline.

Are Dental Implants Right for You?

Dental implants fill the gaps created by missing teeth, serving lingual, mechanical, and cosmetic purposes. Moreover, they mitigate bone loss and changes in chewing patterns. If you have a missing tooth or teeth, your solution may lie in dental implants.

Candidates must be in good overall health, as dental implant procedures require several months of healing and recovery. Individuals must also be able to refrain from smoking during the recovery process, which can disrupt proper healing. Finally, candidates should have healthy oral tissues and a fully developed jaw.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

Dental implants can improve your life, enhance your smile, and boost your confidence. They also stabilize nearby teeth by preserving the life of surrounding gums. Moreover, they protect jawbone health by preventing it from shrinking.

Furthermore, manufacturers test these devices’ biocompatibility—the effects implants’ constituent materials have on patients. Most companies use zirconium dioxide or titanium, common materials with approved safety profiles. While producers occasionally use other materials for implants, they test all models before releasing them. Additionally, manufacturers must receive FDA approval, which indicates their devices are safe and effective.

The Risks Associated with Dental Implants

Certain risks are associated with dental implants. Specifically, their installation procedure can cause damage to nerves, gums, and surrounding teeth. It can also lead to sinus perforation or jaw damage. To prevent such issues, Hillcrest rigorously examines all surgical staff. We ensure each remains in optimal condition to perform these procedures.

Prolonged risks include inadequate function, such as bite misalignment or implant body failure. The implant can loosen due to delayed healing, local infection of the bone and gums, and systemic infection (most common in patients with severe diabetes). Individuals may also experience the phantom sensation of loose or twisting teeth in the gums.

Hillcrest Dental: An Experienced Oral Surgeon in Charlottesville, VA

Reach out to Hillcrest Dental for a reliable and experienced oral surgeon in Charlottesville, VA. We provide general dental care, cosmetic dentistry, and advanced dental surgeries, such as dental implant procedures. Our expert team also offers an in-office savings plan to provide the lowest dental implant costs and make general dentistry accessible to everyone. To request a dental appointment, visit our website or call (434) 973-2224.

Dental Veneers: Do You Need Them?

If you’re insecure about your teeth or are afraid to smile, you’re not alone. Over one-third of Americans are unhappy with their smile. Nevertheless, several options—besides general dentistry services—exist that can improve the appearance of your teeth, one of which is dental veneers. A dentist can discuss this prospect with you once you’ve learned what they are, whether you need them, and which type could suit you.

Hillcrest Dental offers such services to residents of Albemarle County, VA. With almost 70 years of experience, you can trust our office to take great care of your smile. We pride ourselves on personalized, patient-centered care, with services ranging from general dental care to cosmetic dentistry and oral surgery. Call Hillcrest for your next dentist visit at (434) 973-2224.

Below, we discuss all things veneers:

What Are Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin, white shells that dental professionals bond semi-permanently to teeth to enhance their appearance. Porcelain or resin composite materials often compose veneers.

The typical installation procedure entails grinding teeth for proper placement, an irreversible process that requires a local anesthetic. Nonetheless, this procedure depends on your dental concerns, the number of teeth involved, and your preferred type of veneers. For instance, no-prep veneers require minimal tooth preparation, whereas traditional porcelain veneers necessitate grinding, molding, and cementing.

How to Know if You Need Veneers

The typical candidates for dental veneers will display one or several of the following symptoms:

Some patients may get just one veneer to remedy a broken or chipped tooth. However, most receive 6 to 8 on their top front teeth to create an even, symmetrical smile.

Choosing Between the Different Types of Veneers

The two main veneer types are traditional porcelain veneers and composite resin veneers. Determining which is best for you involves several factors, including:

  • Cost: Traditional porcelain veneers cost about $925 to $2,500 per tooth, whereas composite resin veneers cost around $250 to $1500 per tooth.
  • Longevity: Porcelain veneers are stronger and last around 10 to 15 years, in contrast to composite veneers’ lifespan of about 5 to 7 years. It’s up to you to determine whether a long-term or short-term investment makes sense to you.
  • Appearance: Porcelain veneers are less likely to stain or get damaged. Although composite resin veneers are easier to damage, they are easier to fix.
  • Installation: Porcelain veneers are more invasive and may require temporary veneers and a few visits to the dentist. Composite veneers, on the other hand, can often be applied in a single visit to the dentist since less tooth structure needs removal.

There is also the option of no-prep veneers—a specific type of porcelain veneers that are quicker and less invasive to apply. Among the above considerations, listen to your dentist’s recommendations as well. They may offer additional information or personal opinion that may influence your decision.

Professional General Dentistry Services in Albemarle County, VA

Hillcrest Dental offers cosmetic and general dentistry services, including veneer application, to our patients in Albemarle County, VA. Our dentists and dental professionals can refresh your look, close gaps, eliminate misalignments, and remove stains. Boost your self-esteem and spread happiness to others with a bright, balanced smile from Hillcrest Dental. For more information and to schedule your next appointment, contact us at (434) 973-2224.

How to Handle Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies present a significant risk for everyone. Indeed, in 2018, over 2 million emergency room visits were dental-related. For that reason, you should know how to handle a dental emergency if one arises. From toothaches to knocked-out teeth, learn the proper steps to manage any emergency dental situation. Most important of all, should an accident cause dental trauma to occur, visit an emergency dentistry specialist as soon as possible.

Hillcrest Dental offers dentistry and oral surgeries to residents of Charlottesville, VA. Whether you require routine dental care or complex oral rehabilitation, our professional team can take care of it. Moreover, we’ll deliver top-quality dental work, professionalism, and smiling faces. To schedule an appointment, contact us at (434) 973-2224.

Below, we review several types of dental emergencies and how to handle them:

Toothaches

Treat toothaches and sensitive teeth by giving your mouth a thorough rinse with warm water. Remove food particles lodged between teeth with dental floss. Use a cold compress on the cheek or outside of your mouth to reduce any swelling. Feel free to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, and visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Chipped, Broken, or Dislodged Teeth

If a tooth breaks or chips, save any loose fragments and rinse them—as well as your mouth—with warm water. Apply gauze to the affected area for about 10 minutes or until bleeding stops. To reduce swelling and ease discomfort, place a cool compress on the exterior of the mouth near the chipped or broken tooth. Visit the dentist right away.

If a tooth partially dislodges, apply a cold compress to the cheek and take an over-the-counter painkiller if necessary. Visit the dentist immediately. They can take a digital x-ray to determine whether your tooth can be bonded or extraction and dental implants are needed.

Knocked-Out Teeth

Locate the tooth, hold it by the crown, and rinse off any dirt. Don’t scrub it or take off any connected tissue pieces. Try to reposition the tooth in the mouth if possible. Ensure it’s positioned correctly, though you should not force it into the socket.

If you cannot replace the tooth in the socket, place it in a container with a cell growth medium, such as milk or Save-a-Tooth. If necessary, you can even hold the tooth in your mouth. Try to reach a dentist within an hour of dislodging the tooth to give it the best chance of survival.

Lost Fillings or Crowns

If you’ve lost a tooth filling, place a piece of sugarless gum or over-the-counter dental cement into the cavity and then visit the dentist as soon as you can.

If your tooth’s crown falls off, take it to the dentist immediately for reapplication. If you can’t get there right away, apply some clove oil to any painful areas with a cotton swab. Coat the inner surface of the crown with toothpaste, denture adhesive, or over-the-counter dental cement—not glue! Then, put the crown back over the tooth, if you can.

Soft-Tissue Injuries or Abscesses

Bleeding may occur if you injure your tongue, cheeks, gums, or lips. To treat such injuries, rinse your mouth with a gentle saltwater solution. Then, apply pressure to the bleeding area with a tea bag or wet gauze.

For 15 to 20 minutes, apply a cold compress to the cheek or outside of the mouth. Visit the dentist or emergency room right away if the bleeding doesn’t stop. Keep applying pressure to the area with gauze until you can receive treatment.

Tooth abscesses are infections that develop between the gums and teeth. If left untreated, they may harm or infect nearby teeth and surrounding tissue. If you have an abscess, you should rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day to ease discomfort and draw the pus to the surface.

Emergency Dentistry Service in Charlottesville, VA

Hillcrest Dental’s emergency dentistry specialists are equipped to handle your oral emergency. Since 1953, we’ve provided dental services to our Charlottesville, VA, clients when they needed it most. With almost 70 years of experience offering personalized, patient-centered care, our team is equipped to treat any emergency dental situation. Call (434) 973-2224 to schedule a general or emergency appointment.

5 Signs You Need Professional Teeth Whitening

5 Signs You Need Professional Teeth Whitening

A simple and accessible cosmetic dentistry service, teeth whitening can improve virtually any smile. This treatment fights teeth-staining, a naturally occurring process that affects us all as we age. Keep an eye out for the signs of staining—such as teeth discoloration, difficulty with oral health, and more—and contact your dental practitioner for help preserving your smile.

Turn to Hillcrest Dental for your and your family’s dentistry needs. Our office delivers top-notch treatments to residents of Ruckersville, VA, and the surrounding region. We offer general dental care and oral surgery services along with cosmetic dentistry. You can schedule a free smile consultation with us by visiting our website or calling us at (434) 973-2224 today!

Below, we describe teeth whitening’s particulars and then outline the causes as well as the signs of staining:

What is Teeth Whitening?

To begin, note that teeth whitening and teeth bleaching differ in important ways. Whitening treatments restore teeth’s natural, unblemished color by removing the stains and debris from their surface (so technically, even toothpaste is a kind of whitening treatment). Bleaching procedures whiten teeth beyond their natural color through the use of bleach-containing products.

That said, professionals and laypeople use “whitening” and “bleaching” interchangeably. If you want to know the solution your dentist offers for teeth whitening, speak to them about it. Moreover, while over-the-counter whitening options exist, professional teeth whitening offers better value and better results.

Causes of Teeth Staining

Stains accumulate on everyone’s teeth. However, those stains appear both on and within teeth—that is, teeth’s surfaces and interiors stain. The former kind arises from contact with food and everyday use. We all fight them by brushing our teeth every day, yet a professional whitening treatment can knock out tough, persistent stains.

Interior stains arise from materials within teeth as they age or experience trauma. Despite their deep-set nature, such stains may respond to professional cleaning and whitening. If you believe your teeth have this kind of staining, schedule an appointment with Hillcrest so you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile.

Signs that You Need Teeth Whitening

  • You notice your teeth’s discoloration
    Again, everyone’s teeth undergo discoloration and staining. Some folks pay no heed to this process, but you can refresh your teeth with a professional treatment! Nevertheless, preserving white teeth requires daily oral care and avoidance of sugary foods. You may need another whitening treatment at some point as well.
  • You reach your 30s-40s without a whitening treatment
    Brushing your teeth cannot undo the effects of daily wear and tear. Returning your teeth to their natural white luster will require a whitening treatment, especially if you are well into adulthood and have not received such treatment yet.
  • You struggle with oral health
    If you neglect to brush and floss (twice!) every day or suffer from frequent oral health issues, teeth whitening can help. Although such treatments cannot replace daily care, whitening does improve dental hygiene. It may provide the supplement you need to maintain your pearly whites.
  • You smoke or drink a lot of coffee/wine
    Experts have established the oral health effects of smoking. Yet coffee, wine, and other popular substances can also damage teeth as well. Dentists recommend consuming these substances in moderation and seeking professional teeth whitening to counteract their effects.
  • You feel self-conscious about your teeth
    If you hold back your smile in public because you worry about your teeth’s appearance, rest assured that you need whitening treatment. Dentists’ services exist so we can all share smiles. Why shouldn’t you leverage those options for your benefit?

Receive Outstanding Cosmetic Dentistry Services in Ruckersville, VA!

Although you can find at-home whitening treatments on the market, they cannot match the value of professional cosmetic dentistry services at Hillcrest Dental. We provide affordable oral care to families and individuals throughout the Ruckersville, VA, area. Our team aims to deliver high-quality treatments and excellent customer service for all our patients. If you’ve not used our services before, give us a call at (434) 973-2224 or schedule an appointment with us today!

Gum Disease Symptoms & Prevention Tips

Almost half of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of gum disease, increasing their risk for tooth loss, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory problems, and more. Symptoms include red, swollen, or receding gums as well as bad breath, loose teeth, and more. Fortunately, a professional family dentist can detect these symptoms and prevent long-term damage from destroying your smile.

Hillcrest Dental has provided families in Albemarle County with excellent dental care since 1953. We provide general and cosmetic services as well as surgical dentistry. That said, our professionally trained dentists and dental specialists are prepared to take on all your dental needs. For more information, contact us at (434) 973-2224.

Below, we discuss gum disease as well as its symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and treatment:

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease—also known as gingivitis, periodontitis, or periodontal disease—is a condition caused by the accumulation of plaque, bacteria, and saliva on and in between your teeth. These inflame the gums around your teeth. If left untreated, this condition worsens over time. So, start thinking about prevention before symptoms even begin!

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Common periodontal disease symptoms include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, and tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth

 

Risk Factors for Developing Gum Disease

Oral hygiene experts have linked a range of factors to an increased risk of gum disease. These factors include:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Family history with gum disease
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Poor nutrition and vitamin C deficiency
  • Medications that cause dry mouth or other oral effects
  • Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer
  • Hormonal changes within the body, such as menopause or pregnancy

 

How to Prevent and Treat Gum Disease

The best ways to prevent gum disease are to brush and floss daily. We recommend brushing at least twice a day and flossing once, especially before bedtime. Our dental care experts also suggest you rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash to help prevent bacteria from spreading across your teeth and gums. 

Additionally, avoid foods with high sugar content—especially sweets that get stuck in between teeth—and quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Regular checkups with a dentist can stop problems before they become serious issues. If have been diagnosed with gum disease already, we recommend visiting your dentist frequently for treatment and follow-up care.

Treatment for gum disease depends on the severity of your case and its progression. The options range from medicated mouthwash to scaling and root planing or, in extreme cases, oral surgery.

The Bottom Line on Gum Disease

Untreated gum disease only worsens and leads to expensive dental care costs. You may not even notice its early symptoms, so always ask your dentist about your risk of developing gum disease. Feel free to talk to your dentist about gum disease costs and the best prevention plan for you.

Hillcrest Dental is Your Family Dentist Practice in Albemarle County, VA

Hillcrest Dental is a patient-centered, family dentist practice in Albemarle County. We’re prepared to provide expert prevention strategies and dental care treatment for gum disease and other oral ailments. No matter your treatment, we strive to treat patients with unmatched attentive, personalized care. For more information on how Hillcrest can help with gum disease and more, call us at (434) 973-2224 or visit our website.

Benefits of Straighter Teeth

Given the costs of orthodontic and cosmetic dentistry, you may hesitate to invest in these teeth-straightening treatments. But what are the benefits of having straight teeth beside a better-looking smile? Professional cosmetic dentistry services can improve your oral health, reduce dental wear and tear, save you money over the long term, and give you clearer speech. 

The Hillcrest Dental team is happy to provide residents of Albemarle County, VA, with excellent dental work! Our cosmetic services—including braces, veneers, and bleaching—have allowed us to serve up smiles since 1953. Learn more about how Hillcrest can help you smile. To receive a free consultation, call us today at (434) 973-2224. 

Below, we discuss the benefits of straightened teeth: 

Improved Oral Health 

Crowded teeth can make brushing and flossing difficult tasks. Often, this condition not only leads to poor teeth cleaning but also negligence of dental hygiene. Additionally, food stuck between your teeth can cause plaque and raises your risk for cavities and tooth decay.  

Crooked teeth can also cause wounds, sores, and infections by pressing on soft tissues in the mouth. Gapped and crowded teeth can lead to red or swollen gums, while loss of teeth and bone can cause gum disease 

Straight teeth are easy for toothbrushes and floss to navigate, and effective cleaning decreases your risk of cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and many other ailments. Gums also fit around straight teeth better, which reduces the risk of gum disease and tooth loss. 

Reduced Wear & Tear 

Crooked teeth also endure more wear and tear than straight ones. Every time you bite down, your teeth sustain pressure. If they are aligned improperly, they wear down quicker. Gum recession, insufficient root support, and loose teeth can all arise from crooked teeth. They may also lead to headaches, neck pain, and shoulder discomfort due to the jaw stress they cause. 

Poor dental hygiene can contribute to such health conditions as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Furthermore, misaligned bites have caused digestion issues, as improper chewing can upset nutrition intake and cause indigestion and flatulence.  

Saves Money in the Long Term 

Of course, straight teeth mean fewer dental problems, and fewer dental problems mean fewer visits to the dentist. While braces or other alignment services will have a price tag upfront, they’ll save you money in the long run. Straight teeth help avoid recovery procedures for cavities, decay, tooth loss, and other issues.  

Moreover, straight teeth are less prone to accidents. A protruding tooth is much more likely to get damaged, knocked out, or cause damage to surrounding tissue in an accident. Even sports-related mouthguards may offer no help, as they may fit improperly on misaligned teeth. 

Clearer Speech & More Smiling 

Another benefit of straight teeth is clear speech. Crooked teeth can cause speech impediments, undermining a person’s self-esteem and other aspects of their life. While corrective braces and aligners may cause a bit of a lisp, their results more than justify this inconvenience. 

Finally, a person with straight teeth is more likely to smile, which stimulates nerves in the face and makes people feel happier! A great smile also increases self-esteem, easing social situations. 

Hillcrest Dental: Expert Cosmetic Dentistry Services in Albemarle County

Hillcrest Dental offers professional cosmetic dentistry services to those in and around Albemarle County. We offer teeth straightening with clear braces and clear aligners via our invisible braces partner, 6 Month Smiles. Moreover, we use photography, x-rays, models, and other methods to generate cosmetic imaging that allows you to preview your new smile. Sign up for a free consultation or speak with one of our staff at (434) 973-2224 today. 

  • "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.