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

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


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:


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. 

When Is a Root Canal Necessary?











Do symptoms like toothaches, a dental injury, or other signs call for a root canal? Perhaps not on their own, but you should also remain alert for pain or sensitivity in one or more teeth as well as swelling, darkening, decay, or tenderness in the gums. Should you experience these symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist or endodontist. They can determine whether you need professional oral surgery services.

Hillcrest Dental—a proud provider of general care, cosmetic services, and surgical dentistry—serves the residents of Waynesboro, VA. Our expert team offers everything from general checkups and cleanings to endodontic treatment. To request an appointment or get more information, contact us at (434) 973-2224.

Below, we discuss how root canals work as well as their reputation, necessity, and price:

How Root Canals Work











The goal of a root canal–an endodontic procedure–is to save your natural tooth or teeth by removing infected or inflamed interior portions. The affected tooth or teeth also receive a cleaning, filling, and sealing. Despite the procedure’s invasiveness, a fully mature tooth can survive without its internal substance. The surrounding tissues sustain the tooth.

A root canal is fairly similar to a conventional filling. Depending on the state of your tooth and oral health, we can complete the procedure in one or two sessions. 

Root Canal Pain

Once the punchline of jokes about painful procedures, modern root canals generally cause little pain because patients receive anesthesia beforehand. Nevertheless, discomfort and numbness afterward are common occurrences. Given the treatment’s use over decades, specialists have refined it for common use and success.

Signs That You Need a Root Canal

The appearance of several signs can signal that you need an endodontic procedure, including:

  • Tooth damage, such as chips or cracks
  • A deep cavity
  • Difficulties from a prior filling
  • Pain when eating or biting
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Swelling, darkening, decay, or tenderness in the gums
  • Pimples on the gums

If you experience any of these symptoms, let your dentist know so they can determine what type of dental treatment you need.

Root Canal Costs

The price of root canals varies based on the complexity of the procedure and which tooth is involved. For example, as a difficult tooth to reach and treat, molars often come at a higher price. Nonetheless, most dental insurance policies cover root canal procedures. You may also qualify for financing options.

Moreover, endodontic treatment and restoration of a natural tooth tend to cost less than tooth removal. A pulled tooth must be replaced with an implant or bridge to restore function and prevent neighboring teeth from moving.

Hillcrest Dental: Excellent Oral Surgery Services in Waynesboro, VA

For root canals or other personalized oral surgery services, visit Hillcrest Dental in Waynesboro, VA. We’ve been providing our patients with outstanding, patient-first dental care since 1953. Visit Hillcrest Dental and find out why our patients love us. To schedule an appointment, call us today at (434) 973-2224.

6 Reasons to Visit the Dentist Besides Teeth Cleaning










When you go for a dental check-up, your dentist may spend the majority of the time cleaning your teeth. However, several other motives should spur your visits, even if your dentist does not mention them. See a dental professional so they can check for cavities and gum disease, review oral hygiene habits, protect your overall health, and more. If you haven’t received a check-up in a while, turn to Hillcrest Dental for professional general dentistry services.

Hillcrest offers excellent care and top-of-the-line treatments to folks throughout Piedmont, VA. We provide general, cosmetic, and oral surgery services to support our patients and their smiles. Moreover, our family-friendly atmosphere and flexible scheduling options make visiting our office a breeze. To learn more or to request an appointment, visit our website today!

Below, we list several reasons to visit the dentist besides teeth cleaning:

1. Check for Cavities, Tooth Decay, and Gum Disease

During teeth cleaning, your dentist has the opportunity to check for cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. While these issues often signal their presence with visible signs and/or pain, they don’t start that way. Dental professionals know the indicators that these issues create when developing and can stop them in their tracks.

In this way, routine dental appointments help to preserve long-term oral health. Moreover, visits allow your dentist to check for various types of dental trauma, which may not always be obvious.

2. Detect Early-Stage Oral Cancer

Regular dentist visits can also help catch serious diseases—such as oral cancer—and conditions in early stages. Such checks are especially important if you consume alcohol or tobacco, as doing so puts you at greater risk for cancer. Treatment of such conditions in their initial stages can neutralize their danger.

3. Examine Fillings

Dental fillings—one of the most common forms of cosmetic dentistry—require professional oversight and management. People tend to forget about the problems that fillings alleviated, but the problems still exist. A dental professional can check your fillings and note whether they need replacement, even if the fillings appear fine to you.

4. Review Oral Hygiene

Virtually everyone receives a basic education in oral hygiene during primary school. Nevertheless, in addition to the “best practices” taught in health classes nationwide, some personalized tips can help you care for your oral health. 

If you suffer from TMJ pain or use custom cosmetic braces, your hygiene habits require fine-tuning. Ask your dentist how to protect your teeth and treat underlying problems. They can recommend specific methods that general information leaves unmentioned.

5. Protect Your Overall Health

It’s easy to fixate on the health of teeth, but their condition affects the rest of your body. Bad teeth can make a balanced diet difficult to maintain or interfere with your sleep schedule. Thus, oral health directly factors into overall health.

Further links exist: for instance, research links gum disease to heart disease and diabetes. Moreover, poor dental health can lead to sleep apnea, in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. Your dentist can provide solutions to such problems.

6. Protect Your Family’s Oral Health

Finally, your regular dental visits benefit others. Specifically, they help to protect the oral health of your family members, as your good habits rub off on them. Indeed, we recommend that families schedule their visits together, ensuring that all receive the critical care that they need. 

General Dentistry Services Available Now to Piedmont, VA, Residents!










You can enjoy all the perks of strong oral care by reaching out to Hillcrest Dental for general dentistry services. Our practice has served the Piedmont, VA, region for several decades, and we look forward to continuing our legacy of smiles. Schedule your routine dental visit today and help maintain your health as well as your family’s wellbeing. Call us today at (434) 973-2224 or visit our website and request an appointment.

The Amazing Results of Cosmetic Dental Treatments












Crowns, veneers, braces, whitening, bridges—these are the tools of cosmetic dentistry. While teeth may grow in crooked (or suffer damage from an accident), a professional cosmetic dentist can mend them into a perfect smile. Dentists’ treatments close gaps, correct teeth’s appearance, and allow everyone to enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile. Best of all, these services are available to folks in and around Crozet, VA, through Hillcrest Dental.

Reach out to Hillcrest for your general and cosmetic dental needs. We’ve offered excellent dental services since 1953, distinguishing our practice through personalized and attentive care. Whether you need an annual check-up or a complex dental surgery, you can rely on Hillcrest’s team. We’re a family-friendly practice that serves people of all ages. Visit our website and request a free consultation today!

Below, we describe the wonderful outcomes of effective cosmetic dental treatments:

Correct Teeth Gaps and Chips with Dental Bonding

Without years of study and daily practice, you must consult a professional to determine which cosmetic dental treatments you need. One option we may suggest is dental bonding, also known as teeth bonding. During this procedure, a dentist applies a tooth-colored resin material to the affected area that, when dry, bonds to the tooth. Cosmetic dentists use dental bonding to repair cracked and chipped teeth as well as close the gaps between teeth.

Adjust Teeth Color and Shape with Veneers

A more substantial, but still conservative, approach to broken teeth is to apply veneers. Thin, tooth-colored shells made of porcelain or resin, veneers attach to the front of teeth to improve their shape and/or color. Although considered less invasive than crowns, veneers are still a semi-permanent solution that remain in place for years.

Correct Appearance with Crowns

A more aggressive approach to correcting decayed teeth, dental crowns are “caps” applied on top of the affected tooth. Crowns are made from metal, porcelain, resin, or ceramic. They last between 5 and 15 years and require no special treatment beyond ordinary dental hygiene. To make space for one, a dentist must file down to the original tooth. But once in place, a tooth-colored crown cannot be distinguished from its natural counterparts.

Align Crooked Teeth with Invisible Braces/Orthodontics

Hillcrest’s cosmetic dentists can adjust misaligned teeth and bites with our invisible braces partner, Six Month Smiles. Whereas traditional metal braces are conspicuous and awkward, invisible braces cannot be seen on teeth. These transparent molds gradually adjust the position of teeth over time, each new set moving teeth closer to their optimal position. Even if you grew up with misaligned teeth, you can get a straight smile with invisible braces!

Refresh Teeth with Whitening Treatment

Even if you brush and floss daily, you may still worry that your teeth aren’t quite as bright and shining as they once were. Nevertheless, professional teeth whitening—or bleaching—can restore your teeth’s luster. Many over-the-counter products claim to whiten teeth, but only professionals can deliver excellent results.

Replace Teeth with Implants, Dentures, or Bridges

Several factors—including dental trauma, decay, gum disease, and more—cause people to lose teeth every year. Once gone, those teeth cannot grow back. But cosmetic dentists can replace lost teeth with implants, dentures, or bridges. 

Implants replace the lost tooth roots with titanium, the foundation for an artificial one. Complete and partial dentures replace teeth and the tissue that surrounds them. Finally, bridges replace teeth using crowns on either side of the gap.

Professional Cosmetic Dentist Available Now for Crozet, VA, Residents!








You should enjoy showing off your smile. If you currently feel unsure or uncomfortable doing so because of your teeth’s condition, reach out to Hillcrest Dental and ask to speak with our professional cosmetic dentist. Our team’s expertise and support can give you a smile and dental support that you need. Hillcrest offers dental services to families and individuals in Crozet, VA, and the surrounding area. To learn more about our options, call us at (434) 973-2224 or visit our website and schedule an appointment today!

Dental Health & Sleep Apnea











Losing sleep is frustrating, but it becomes more so when you cannot find the cause. If you’re losing sleep, you should be aware that dental health can cause some sleep disorders by disrupting breathing patterns. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common dental-related form of sleep apnea. Nevertheless, advanced general dentistry services in Charlottesville, VA, offer solutions for those afflicted with such sleep apnea.

Hillcrest Dental is a family dentistry practice that offers general care, cosmetic services, and surgical dentistry for children and adults. We practice empathetic care with skilled expertise. It is our mission to help you feel confident about your smile so you can enjoy a lifetime of dental health. Our team provides a range of dental care options, including root canals, dentures, gum disease, night guards, and sleep apnea appliances. Contact us today to learn more!

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Apnea is an interruption in breathing during sleep. Not all forms of sleep apnea are related to oral health, but some are. Oral health-related apneas arise from weak muscle airways, which impede normal breathing.

The most common sleep apnea symptoms are insomnia and snoring. Insomnia occurs in these cases because the body awakens itself when it senses a lack of oxygen. Snoring arises due to an obstruction to an airway, which causes relaxed throat muscles to vibrate.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder in which a narrow or collapsed airway restricts respiratory airflow during sleep. The condition is caused by oral and craniofacial abnormalities, like enlarged tongue or tonsils, or anthropometric features, like obesity. OSA is most common among men and older adults. 

To treat OSA, dentists sometimes collaborate with physicians and sleep specialists. OSA can be treated with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, which widens the airway with increased air pressure. However, this treatment requires a noisy machine and an inconvenient mask. 

A less invasive option, which Hillcrest Dental offers, is an oral apnea appliance. The most common kind is a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD), which consists of a mouth guard that goes in a user’s mouth to hold the jaw in a forward position while they sleep. It is small, convenient, and less obtrusive than a PAP machine. 

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) occurs when relaxed soft tissue or the tongue falls back into the throat during sleep and obstructs airflow. Although not classified as sleep apnea, UARS can inhibit sleep quality. However, it does not spring from obesity like OSA. 

This condition’s symptoms include snoring, fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, and disturbed sleep. To treat it, your doctor may perform a polysomnogram and study your sleep patterns. Your dentist can treat UARS with an oral apnea appliance similar to those for OSA.

Hillcrest Dental: Practiced Family Dentistry in Charlottesville, VA

dental check up










Turn to Hillcrest Dental for general dentistry services in Charlottesville, VA. Whether you need a regular check-up or have a dental emergency, we will care for your dental needs. Our professional team provides fulfilling services and values long-term relationships with our patients. Contact us at (434)-973-2224 to request an appointment. 

6 Types of Dental Trauma

Dental trauma occurs in many forms—chipped enamel, a loose tooth, or a displaced tooth. When you or your loved one receives a traumatic dental injury, it is vital that you work with a  a top dental professional. If addressed in a timely manner, they’ll be able to mend the injury and restore your teeth to perfect condition.

Hillcrest Dental provides quality dental care to patients throughout Charlottesville, VA. Our dentist, Dr. Buckwalter is readily trained in a variety of dental procedures in general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and oral surgery services that can accurately restore a patient’s dental health. Furthermore, our staff makes Hillcrest a friendly and welcoming practice where patients feel like family.

Below, we list several types of dental trauma, as well as their symptoms and possible ways your dentist may treat them:

What is Dental Trauma?

It is any physical injury that occurs to the teeth, gums, lips, and tongue, as well as to the alveolar bone—the area of bone along your jaw bones that hold your teeth together. The American Association of Endodontists states that these injuries often occur due to accidents as well as sports-related activities. There are many different kinds of injuries that are classified as dental trauma, each falling under the following categories:

  • Dental injuries – injuries to the teeth
  • Periodontal injuries – injuries to the soft tissue around your teeth

While certain categories of injuries can be more serious, all of them are considered serious dental trauma that should be treated by a professional dental practitioner. Below, we describe the different types of dental trauma according to their respective categories.

Common Types of Dental Trauma

Dental Injuries

Commonly, dental injuries occur directly on your tooth. In order to understand what you or your loved one might face with such injuries, we list how they are identified and treated by a dental expert:

  • Enamel Infraction – A small crack in the enamel (the outer surface of your tooth). This tends to be an injury that requires a simple treatment. The dentist will etch and seal the crack with resin to avoid discoloration of the cracked tooth.
  • Enamel fracture – A small chip in the enamel. If tooth fragments are recovered, a dentist will bond them back together. If not, they can still restore the tooth using composite resin.
  • Enamel-dentine fracture – A deeper chip that includes both the enamel and the dentin (the substance beneath the enamel that supports its structure). Similar to an enamel fracture, these fractures can be restored with the tooth fragments or resin. However, if enough dentine has been lost close enough to the pulp of your tooth, the dentist will place calcium hydroxide over the injury and cover it with a filling.

Periodontal injuries

Periodontal injuries may overlap with dental injuries, but they usually involve trauma to soft tissue around the teeth:

  • Concussion – A tooth concussion is usually when one or more teeth are damaged but not dislodged from the gums. Instead, they simply feel tender.

A dentist will examine the concussion for symptoms over the course of several appointments to make sure no further treatment is needed.

  • Subluxation – A tooth withstands trauma and is mobile but not dislodged. Meaning, it is moving loosely within the tooth socket. In addition, there may be bleeding around the gums of the damaged tooth as well. A dentist may place a splint to stabilize the tooth so it can heal, then perform follow-up exams to ensure it remains stable.
  • Lateral luxation – A fracture to the alveolar bone and a separation from the periodontal ligament–attaches your tooth to the alveolar bone–makes the tooth appear to be displaced, either pointing forward or backward along your gum line.

While it may not be loose, it is still out of alignment. Your dentist will reposition it and place a flexible splint that will stay in for around 4 weeks. After that, you’ll receive check-ups every two weeks following the treatment to ensure the injury has healed without any other complications.

Hillcrest Dental: Top Dental Practice in Charlottesville, VA

As among the top dental practices in Charlottesville, VA, Hillcrest Dental offers treatments for any dental health issue. Whether it is for a traumatic dental injury, or for a regular check-up and cleaning, our head dentist, Dr. Buckwalter, and our staff will ensure you are taken care of. We perform a wide variety of dental health services and make sure we are as available as possible. Contact us at (434) 973-2224 to learn more about our services and make an appointment with us today!

5 Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dental treatments offer many direct and passive benefits. Patients gain a new sense of confidence thanks to their clear, bright smiles. Dentists prevent and fix defects before they develop into worse conditions. So, while some might say that quality cosmetic dentistry services are vain, the right team of dental professionals can ensure you receive valuable oral health benefits.

Hillcrest Dental is the top dental practice in Monticello, VA. We provide excellent general and cosmetic dentistry services to all our patients, and our highly trained staff ensures everyone feels like a regular. Our dental practitioner, Dr. Buckwalter is dedicated to helping all of his patients receive effective dental treatments, whether that includes regular check-ups and cleanings, root canals, and tailor-fit cosmetic veneers. We aim to cover all your dental needs.

Below, we discuss the five benefits our patients receive from cosmetic dentistry:

1. Restored Confidence

Many people feel like their smile is flawed. It could be due to how their teeth grew or how their appearance has changed over time. Nevertheless, dentists have developed many cosmetic techniques to improve dental imperfections.

Following cosmetic dental treatment, many individuals have felt a renewed sense of confidence. With an improved smile, patients are free to laugh and speak without feeling self-conscious about their teeth.

2. Repaired Defects in Teeth

Cosmetic dentistry doesn’t just solve issues regarding the appearance of your teeth but addresses their condition. Some patients may have tooth defects that have developed since they were children, while others may have developed similar imperfections after an injury or accident.

Either way, certain flaws in your teeth can feel quite painful and embarrassing to have. Cosmetic procedures–such as dental implants and crowns–repair damaged, decayed, or broken teeth so that they look and feel normal along with the rest of your teeth.

3. Relief from Discomfort

As mentioned in the previous section, your teeth can develop certain flaws that cause various problems. For example, a flaw may involve an uneven dental occlusion, which is where your jaw and teeth meet.

The unevenness in this area may cause consistent pain, discomfort, and irritation. Cosmetic dentistry treatments, like braces, can help reform your teeth and mouth to relieve that discomfort.

4. Renewed Dental Health

Cosmetic dental treatments don’t just restore the teeth’s appearance and shape but also give patients a second chance. Fixing misaligned teeth and whitening a stained enamel often convinces patients to redouble their efforts in taking care of their teeth and gums. This then causes them to form new, healthier habits, ensuring they maintain their dental health.

5. Reduced Costs of Future Treatments

Finally, in renewing your dental health and repairing defects in your teeth, cosmetic dentistry procedures also help to reduce the cost of more severe conditions later on. Many dental issues, if left unaddressed, can develop into serious problems that require more invasive treatments, which are often very expensive.

Thus, an aspect of cosmetic dentistry is that it is partly preventative, helping patients keep their dental health from getting worse and, in certain cases, forcing them to deal with the high cost of additional oral surgery services.

Hillcrest Dental: Cosmetic Dentistry Services in Monticello, VA

Our excellent dental practitioner, Dr. Buckwalter, and our highly trained team offers the best cosmetic dentistry services and general dentistry services available. We don’t just provide check-ups and cleaning but also treatments for gum disease, sleep apnea, teeth defects, dental injuries, and more. Contact us today at (434) 973-2224 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Buckwalter for one of our many cosmetic dentistry services!

  • "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.