Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


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.

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.

  • "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.