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

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901

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Category Archives: Uncategorized

What To Expect When Considering Oral Surgery

Receiving oral surgery should seem like a pretty daunting event, but knowing what to expect can help ease your mind and ensure you recover quickly and comfortably. If you are considering oral surgery, start by discussing with your dentist what to expect.

At Hillcrest Dental, we want to help our patients to understand as much about their dental health as we can, as well as all of the options they have in making sure their teeth and gums remain healthy and attractive. Our practice provides excellent dental care in all areas, whether it be general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and even quality oral surgeon services. We’ve had patients throughout Ruckersville, VA, reach out to us for consistent dental care services due to our friendliness, our prompt service, and amazing results.

Here is what to expect if you’re thinking of getting oral surgery:

Consulting With An Oral Surgeon

Unless you’ve received an injury that requires an oral surgeon to provide emergency treatment, you may consult with an oral surgeon first about any required procedures for pre-existing conditions. You may discuss the details of the operation, your medical history, including current medications you should avoid taking prior to the surgery.

The consultation is a good time to ask about any of the concerns you may have about the surgery, whether it be recovery time, pain management, or payment options. It’s a good idea to have these questions written down beforehand.

How to Get Home After Oral Surgery

For the most part, oral surgeries are considered “outpatient,” meaning you’ll be discharged from the hospital or clinic a little while after the operation. Of course, the drugs used for pain management often leave patients fatigued and incapacitated for some time. Have a family member or friend drive you to and from surgery so that you travel safely and with as little worry as possible.

Also, ask your friend or loved one to pick up your pain medications and antibiotics prescribed by your doctor prior to surgery. The earlier you get them, the less hassle there will be and the sooner you can rest and recover.

What You Should Eat Before & After Oral Surgery

Certain foods can’t be mixed with specific medications, as they may produce more bacteria and cause infection during surgery. It is recommended that you fast the night before your surgery, especially if you are being put under general anesthesia.

In some cases, you only need local anesthesia, which allows you to eat a light meal a few hours before surgery. Either way, you should make sure your teeth and mouth are clean before the operation to reduce any harmful bacteria.

Once the surgery is done, your oral surgeon will advise you to stay on a diet of soft, bland foods so you avoid biting or chewing, which will help speed up your recovery. We would also recommend that you have meals in liquid form, such as protein shakes and juices. Avoid using a straw as that could cause dry socket, which can be painful and harmful to your oral health.

What to Expect When Recovering From Oral Surgery

The length of time it takes to recover from an oral surgery differs according to the surgery. Root canals and tooth extractions take around two weeks, while jaw surgery will most likely take a month to a month and a half to fully recover from. Below is what you can expect, and we also offer a few tips to ensure a speedy recovery:

  • For at least two days after the surgery, you may expect a good deal of pain and swelling, but this should be eased with the prescription analgesics prescribed by your doctor.
  • If you’re still in pain even with the painkillers prescribed to you, or you are noticing excessive bleeding from your surgical wound, contact your surgeon as soon as possible.
  • Call your dentist if you notice you are vomiting or have nausea, headaches, muscle aches, or other symptoms of infection.
  • Make sure your home is prepared prior to your surgery to make it easier for you to recover. Stock up on soft foods and ingredients so that you don’t have to worry about your meals during recovery.
  • Purchase some ice packs, which will help reduce and prevent further swelling.
  • Keep your head elevated so that your jaw and teeth rest in a comfortable position.


Hillcrest Dental: Top Dentist and Distinguished Oral Surgeon in Ruckersville, VA

If you’re expecting to have oral surgery in the near future, knowing what steps to take before and after it will ensure you’re less nervous and more likely to recover quickly and comfortably. And with the assistance of our friendly staff at Hillcrest Dental, you’ll not only get the services of an experienced oral surgeon, but also the care and support of one of the top local dental practices in Ruckersville, VA.

Hillcrest Dental also provides dental services in general and cosmetic dentistry, from root canals and annual tooth cleanings to denture and veneer fittings. Contact us at (434) 973-2224  to find out how we can help you retain your best smile through one of our expert dental treatments.

4 Signs That You have Gum Disease

Your gums are an important aspect of your dental health. Their condition is closely connected with your teeth but also your overall dental health. Signs of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) can indicate serious issues with your teeth, and perhaps even your overall health. If not addressed properly, gum disease can lead to painful infections and teeth loss.

Hillcrest Dental provides numerous general dentistry services aimed at treating and preventing gum disease. Our highly-trained Blue Ridge VA dentist and staff will help you recognize the symptoms and suggest a course of treatment to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy for years to come.

Below, we discuss the four main signs of gum disease and what each could mean regarding your dental health:

Bleeding Gums

Simply put, your gums should not bleed when you floss or brush your teeth. If they do, that means that bacteria has built up beneath your gums, causing them to bleed and spread more harmful bacteria in your mouth.

In addition, symptoms like gum swelling, redness, soreness, and tooth sensitivity, along with bleeding, indicates that your gums are suffering from a mild but soon-to-be severe infection. A dentist will be able to identify the severity of the infection and explain the proper course of action to help maintain and even restore your gums.

Furthermore, gum disease has been linked to serious medical risks such as heart attack or stroke. This is because, as your gums bleed, harmful bacteria enter from your mouth and into your bloodstream. From there, the bacteria can then cause clots, thus increasing the chances of a heart attack or stroke.

Gum Recession

Have you noticed your teeth appearing to be “longer” than they were before? This often happens when another sign of gum disease is present: gum recession.

The gum tissue around your tooth does usually recede as you grow older, but if your dentist notices that it’s happening rather quickly, that means you may have a serious case of gum disease that’s quickly progressing.

To identify if the progress of your gum recession is indicative of gum disease, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

They will measure the outer surface of your tooth to determine how much of your gum tissue has recessed over time. This can then help your dentist decide what treatments to recommend and whether you should have a specialist involved or not.

Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitivity is another common sign of gum disease, and further stems from gum recession. As your gums recede, more of the root surface of your tooth becomes exposed.

This exposure makes the root of your tooth more vulnerable to decay, deterioration, greater sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, and can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Take note of how your teeth feel when you’re consuming hot or cold beverages. If your teeth are becoming unbearably sensitive, that means that your symptoms are worsening. A quick dental check-up can indicate whether this is related to gum disease.

High Blood Sugar

Another significant sign of gum disease is having high blood sugar. A higher blood sugar often means that a person has or is at risk of having type 2 diabetes, which has an interchangeable relationship with gum disease. This means that those with type 2 diabetes also often have a higher risk of having gum disease and vice versa.

As high blood sugar is a sign of gum disease in itself, it’s important to know the symptoms to recognize whether or not you have it. Here are some of the signs of high blood sugar:

  • Headaches
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurred or impaired vision
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased thirst

Noticing any of these signs means you should check with your physician first, and if they find signs of gum disease as well, be sure to check in with your dentist too.

Controlling Gum Disease

If you want to prevent or reduce the progression of gum disease, you have to put your oral hygiene in order first. The main objective is to consistently disturb the plaque and bacteria in your mouth, so that none of it will ever sit too long against your gums and teeth. The best way to do this is by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth as often as you can.

We recommend you do it after each meal, whenever you first return home from work or school, or when you first wake up and before you go to bed. Brushing and flossing are the simplest way to prevent the progression of gum disease. In addition, we recommend that you regularly meet with your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings.

Book an Appointment at Blue Ridge, VA’s Top Dentist!

Taking care of your dental health should always be a priority, as it also affects and signals the condition of your overall health. So, taking care of your teeth means taking care of yourself overall. Hillcrest Dental seeks to provide the personalized dental care that fits your needs. Our expert Blue Ridge VA Dentist, Dr. Buckwalter is highly-experienced in all forms of general and cosmetic dentistry, covering all sorts of treatments that can help improve your smile and hygienic health. Contact us at (434) 973-2224 for more information and make an appointment with Hillcrest Dental today!

7 Fun Facts About Flossing

Our teeth are just  as important as other parts of our body, but sometimes we may not always feel like taking care of our teeth. As it is part of getting a perfect, pearly-white smile, you should pay attention to how you floss. Flossing is an important step of oral care, in which you make sure that plaque and bits of food don’t build up between your teeth. If plaque and other food debris remains on your teeth, it may pave the way to further damage such as cavities, gum disease, and more.

Here at Hillcrest Dental, we strive to help our patients learn the best habits so their teeth remain beautiful long before they come to visit our offices. Our dedicated and skilled dentists and dental hygienists will provide excellent cleanings, general dental care, oral surgeries and more. As a high-quality family dentist practice in Charlottesville, VA, we pride ourselves on making our clients comfortable with us, as some have been coming to us for years for all of their dental care needs. Here are seven facts about flossing that will help you maintain healthy gums and a clean, white smile: 

Flossing Facts

  1. Flossing helps get rid of excess plaque. The more plaque you have between your teeth, the more likely you will develop cavities, which can then lead to gum disease. By flossing regularly, you’re proactively helping your gums defend against buildup and bad breath.
  2. There are three ways to floss: flossing by hand, using flossing sticks, or the hydro flosser, also known as a “waterpik”.
  3. If you don’t floss regularly, then it could lead to sensitive and easily-bleeding gums. However, if you continue flossing, these symptoms will eventually subside, as your oral health improves.
  4. Floss comes in common flavors such as cinnamon, mint, and bubblegum, but there are many more unique kinds found online, such as bacon or wasabi.
  5. Brushing your teeth only removes up to 70% of debris and plaque. However, by flossing consistently, your teeth will be even cleaner and less likely to decay.
  6. It’s important to floss when you have braces, as food is more likely to get caught between the wires. Floss threaders and proxy brushes can help you  better clean those hard-to-reach areas.
  7. There are options available for people with teeth that are very close together and difficult to clean between. Certain brands have produced flossers that have thinner threads so that you can easily slide the floss between your teeth.

Hillcrest Dental: Experienced Family Dentist in Charlottesville, VA

Flossing is an essential part of your oral health routine and we believe that taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to be painful or dreadful. We want our clients to walk into our office with a smile on their face, knowing full well that their experience with us will be relaxing and comfortable. Hillcrest Dental is among the best and highest-rated family dentist clinics in Charlottesville, VA. We offer general dental care and surgical dental care. Our full dental staff is excited to meet you at your next appointment. Contact us at 434-973-2224 to learn about our services and schedule an appointment with us today!

How Crooked Teeth Can Affect Your Life

Having crooked teeth isn’t something that just happens, but it can affect your life drastically if not taken care of. Being much more than an aesthetic issue, crooked teeth could lead to more problems the more time they are left unaddressed. The easiest solution is to make your teeth a priority and to make an appointment with a trustworthy cosmetic dentist, such as Hillcrest Dental in Greene County, VA.

Here at Hillcrest Dental, we know that healthy teeth happens by attending your regular check-ups. From regular cleanings to root canals to cosmetic braces to fix crowded teeth, Hillcrest wants to work together with you to help you overcome your insecurities and bring back your confident smile. Below, we explore some ways that crooked teeth can affect your life and why getting help from an experienced cosmetic dentist is important:

How Crooked Teeth Can Affect You 

  • Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
  • Difficulties Chewing
  • Increased Wear
  • Speech Impediments
  • May Lower Your Self-Esteem

Improved Oral Health

With a disjointed set of teeth, it becomes difficult to maintain proper oral hygiene. It allows for plaque and bacteria to build up, causing tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease. However, once you have straighter teeth, you’ll be able to more easily and fully brush and floss every corner of your mouth. 

Confidence Boost

We believe every individual deserves a smile they can be proud of. When you schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, they will be able to create a dental treatment plan that will help improve your smile. Once you have completed your treatment, you will be left with a smile that helps you live a more confident life. 

Improve Your Crowded Teeth with Professional Cosmetic Dentistry in Greene County, VA

At Hillcrest Dental, our professional cosmetic dentistry understands how difficult it may be to have crooked teeth. However, it’s also important to remember that crooked teeth can be fixed! When you work together with us, we can help provide the dental solutions you need to gain the confidence you need to lead a better life. We offer custom cosmetic dentistry services that consists of veneers, braces, teeth whitening and much more.

Get the smile you deserve. Schedule your cosmetic dentistry appointment today! 

How Does Coffee Affect Your Teeth

In the world of cosmetic dentists, one of the most widespread issues that people have with their teeth these days is the discoloration or stains produced by the various foods and beverages they consume on a daily basis. The most common of these is coffee, a beverage that’s consumed regularly by people all around the world. While it does add an extra boost of energy to your day, it does have several effects on your teeth, both known and unknown, that you should be aware of.

Also, in order to help you fix teeth stains, as well as any other dental conditions that you may have, call Hillcrest Dental. Our highly trained experts will provide you with excellent dental care through their practices in general care, oral surgery, and restorative cosmetic dentistry services. Throughout Albemarle County, VA, we have satisfied clients who have experienced the warmth of our custom dental care and the familial atmosphere we bring to the community.  Our dedication to them and to you extends to the concern we have for your overall dental health. Learn how coffee affects your teeth below:

The Bad:

It Weakens Your Teeth

Because it is an acidic beverage, coffee actually assists in the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria creates more of an acidic environment within your mouth, eventually causing the erosion of your teeth’s enamel. That can result in them becoming brittle and thin, which can lead to further issues such as sensitivity to hot or cold foods, cavities, and irreparable tooth decay.

It Dries Your Mouth

Something that isn’t well known about coffee is that it inhibits saliva production, causing you to have a dry mouth. The lack of saliva leaves your teeth vulnerable and allows bacteria to increase and spread, which can further complicate any other health conditions that your teeth may have.

The Ugly:

It Causes Bad Breath

Additionally, having a dry mouth also produces bad breath. Coffee also tends to linger on your tongue, its residue further creating an unpleasant scent in your mouth. Without properly brushing your teeth and perhaps even using a tongue scraper, your breath will contain a foul stench until you do so.

It Creates Yellow Stains

The most noticeable effect that coffee has besides those listed above is that it stains your teeth. Since your enamel contains ridges and pits against each one of your teeth, particles from food and drink can easily remain well after your last meal. With dark, acidic drinks like coffee, this can easily lead to teeth stains.

The Good:

A Strong Cup Helps

However, while there are many issues caused by drinking your daily cup of joe, it is also important to note that there is one particular benefit coffee can have on your dental health. It comes from a certain chemical called polyphenols, which appears to break down the bacteria that causes plaque buildup on your teeth. The greater concentration of caffeine in the coffee, the higher the amount of polyphenols it contains, thus a stronger cup can assist in your dental health. However, this is a benefit for coffee drinkers who take their cup black, without any creamers or sugars.

Hillcrest Dental: Cosmetic Dentistry Services in Albemarle County, VA

While you enjoy your next cup of coffee, be mindful of the effects you may experience, especially if you drink it often throughout the week. Overall, remember to brush and rinse your teeth after a refreshing cup, and you’ll be sure to maintain a bright smile for years to come. At Hillcrest Dental, our essential goal is to ensure that our clients maintain a bright smile, while also enjoying the comfort and satisfaction of a locally trusted dental practice. Our work ranges from simple general dental care, expert surgical dental care, and amazing cosmetic dentistry services. Our practice and our entire dental staff desires to continue serving clients throughout Albemarle County, VA. So contact us at 434-973-2224 to schedule your next appointment.

Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

Having sensitive teeth can sometimes make eating and drinking a painful experience. However, certain home remedies may help reduce tooth sensitivity. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity that won’t go away, come to the professionals at Hillcrest Dental in Charlottesville VA. We care deeply for all of our patients, and that’s why we believe in only using tools that will sustain the natural health of your teeth. Below, we explore some home remedies for curing sensitive teeth:

Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Teeth can become sensitive when the enamel, a tooth’s protective top layer, is worn down. When the enamel wears down, the dentin underneath can become more permeable, allowing liquids and gases to pass through it more easily. When substances pass through dentin to reach your nerve endings, a person may experience pain or discomfort.

Prevention Tips

  1. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
  2. Flossing once a day
  3. Taking breaks from teeth whitening
  4. Limiting the consumption of sugary, starchy, and acidic foods
  5. Lessening alcohol consumption
  6. Wearing a mouthguard at night to prevent teeth grinding and clenching
  7. Seeing a dentist regularly
  8. Quit or reduce smoking habit


Home Remedies

Oil Pulling

To reduce gum disease and tooth sensitivity, swish sesame or coconut oil around your mouth for several minutes and then spit it out.

Guava Leaves

Chew guava leaves or use a topical gel containing guava leaf extract to help reduce tooth pain and sensitivity.

Clove Gel

Apply clove gel or oil to the gums. This may help reduce tooth sensitivity and pain.


Briefly chewing on garlic can treat toothache, gum disease, and tooth sensitivity.

Saltwater Rinse

Using a saltwater rinse as a mouthwash is another way to fight bacteria in the mouth and improve oral hygiene.

Capsaicin Gel

Capsaicin is the spicy substance that occurs naturally in chili peppers. Although capsaicin can cause burning when a person applies it to their skin or gums, it may also reduce pain. Applying capsaicin gel to the gums may alleviate pain from sensitive teeth.


Turmeric is a yellow spice and an Ayurvedic remedy for reducing inflammation. Turmeric contains curcumin, which may help relieve pain. Mix turmeric and water, then rub it into your gums to help reduce tooth pain and sensitivity.


Using a fluoride toothpaste will reduce the risk of cavities and minimize tooth sensitivity.

When to See A Dentist

A dental examination may be necessary to identify the cause of severe tooth sensitivity. If a person experiences ongoing or severe tooth sensitivity and pain, they should see their dentist for an examination.

Hillcrest Dental: Dependable Dental Care in Charlottesville, VA

Many people experience tooth sensitivity and pain, which can result from the gradual erosion of tooth enamel. Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and the development of sensitivity. Home remedies may help with the pain, but if it becomes severe you should visit the experts at Hillcrest Dental in Charlottesville VA. We provide excellent, sensitive teeth services, and our experienced staff will help you feel more at home.


Contact us at (434) 973-2224 to let us help you keep your smile bright and beautiful.

Benefits of Whitening Your Teeth

The hassles of daily living can occasionally result in the loss of a physical aspect we desire to keep, such as getting proper sleep, keeping a healthy diet, and having bright, white teeth. While some of these require changes in your personal habits, the shade of your teeth can be improved with the help of a dentist. 


At Hillcrest Dental, we perform a number of different treatments to help improve the health and appearance of your smile. With our years of experience and a staff devoted to providing friendly and comfortable patient care, we continue to be the best dental practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. From regular checkups and root canals, to veneer placement and teeth whitening services, we have provided numerous expert dental services for our patients over the many decades since our practice was founded. Here are some of the benefits you can receive when you get a teeth whitening: 

Modest Alternative

Teeth whitening is the least invasive and complicated among the numerous cosmetic dental treatments that we provide. Whiter teeth can be gained by getting a set of veneers, yet this involves grinding a portion of each tooth down in order for them to be placed. On the other hand, a tooth whitening simply involves your dentist creating a set of custom trays. Then, whenever you are able to, you fill the trays with a whitening gel and leave them one for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time.

Improved Oral Care

Patients who receive a teeth whitening treatment have also shown great improvements in caring for their dental health. As mentioned before, the pressures of daily living causes some of us to lose sight of certain traits we may want to maintain. That includes keeping a bright smile.  Once we lose it, we tend to fall short in taking steps to get it back. However, once we perform a teeth whitening treatment, we have found our patients brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular cleanings, taking care of their teeth with a renewed vigor. 

Convey Greater Confidence

Another benefit in getting a teeth whitening is that it induces those who receive one with a refreshed sense of confidence in themselves. It is known that smiling more often results in gaining more and more confidence than before, and that only increases the amount you receive upon improving your smile. You’ll no longer experience the self-consciousness or worry over the color of your teeth. After a teeth whitening, you’ll feel free to let the whole world see you smile.

Hillcrest Dental: Brilliant Teeth Whitening Services in Charlottesville, VA 

A teeth whitening is a great way to refresh your appearance in a simple, easy treatment. While these can be done with kits you can purchase over-the-counter or online, the most recommended way to receive a teeth whitening is through a professional procedure performed by a dentist. 

At Hillcrest Dental, among numerous specialties is cosmetic dentistry, such as installing veneers, braces, or performing expert teeth whitening services. Our own Dr. Buckwalter is persistent in learning everything he can about the dental field, and with our supportive and friendly staff, has provided excellent dental care to clients throughout Charlottesville. Contact us at 434-973-2224 to schedule your teeth whitening treatment today.

The Benefits of Having Braces

Braces may be a daunting experience; however, the lasting effects will improve your overall oral and physical health. In addition to improving the aesthetics of your smile, the alignment of your teeth impacts several aspects of your health.

At Hillcrest Dental, we specialize in a variety of services including general dental care, oral surgery, and cosmetic dentistry services in Albemarle County. Our team is devoted to providing patients with everything they need to maintain a bright healthy smile. Our quality services are recognized as the most welcoming and comfortable. As you explore the many options you have regarding your orthodontic treatment, check out the ways braces will improve your overall lifestyle.

Reduce Your Chance of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

When your teeth are crowded or crooked, it creates tight spaces between your teeth where food can get trapped. Over time, food debris causes bacteria to form, called plaque, which places you at risk for developing cavities or losing your tooth’s enamel. This can occur even if you have impeccable oral hygiene due to having difficulty flossing from overcrowding. It is important to be able to remove all food debris from your teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease from forming. Fortunately, braces can help space your teeth out properly so you can have an easier time brushing and flossing in between your teeth.

Stop Bone Erosion

As you go throughout your day, you place pressure on your teeth when you eat and speak. This pressure is important for stimulating bone growth to hold your teeth in place. Over time, misaligned teeth can cause too much force to come down on certain teeth, which can slowly erode the bone. There may also not be enough pressure on certain areas that lead to a lack of stimulation. For this reason, professional care is necessary to move your teeth into the proper position, which will create the right amount of pressure to keep your jawbones healthy.

Improve Speech

Speech can be affected by your tongue’s movement against the top of your mouth and teeth, which helps to form the sounds that come out. If your teeth lie backward in your mouth or push too far forward, you may develop a lisp or other speech impediments. Moving teeth into alignment often improves speech impediments quickly after your braces are removed.

Encourage Nutrition with Proper Digestion

When your teeth do not align properly, it can also impact how you chew, which results in not acquiring essential vitamins and nutrients from each meal. This may lead to many health complications such as malnutrition, anemia, stomachaches, or other digestive issues.

Prevent Dental Injuries

Braces help to prevent future injuries, protruding upper teeth are especially vulnerable during accidents and can result in broken teeth or chipped teeth. It is also common for people with improperly aligned teeth to accidentally bite their cheeks and tongues while eating or talking. Having proper teeth alignment is another step you can take to protect yourself from future injuries. 

Correct Jaw Pain and Disorders

Your jaw joints may try to self-correct errors in how your teeth are aligned symptoms include chronic headaches, jaw popping, and pain. Over time, this can lead to serious jaw disorders. Braces will adjust your teeth in the best way to improve these symptoms after treatment. 

Hillcrest Dental: Cosmetic Dentistry Services in Albemarle County, VA

While you may be focusing on the beautiful smile awaiting you after treatment, your dental team can help you further understand and experience the additional benefits that come along with braces. Start orthodontic treatment that offers lifelong benefits at Hillcrest Dental for all of your dental and oral hygienic needs. Our experienced dentists provide excellent, quality cosmetic dentistry services through our welcoming staff, who care deeply for each of our patients, providing friendly service to the community. 

Make an appointment with us online or call us at 434-973-2224 and let us help you keep your smile bright and beautiful.

Four Differences Between A Manual Toothbrush & A Powered Toothbrush

The very first thing we do each morning and the last thing we do at night are often the same: performing our personal hygiene regimens. This involves using a variety of different tools, such as soaps, moisturizers, loofahs, hair dryers, and brushes. The most essential of them would likely be your toothbrush. With so many brands and kinds to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out which one is the most effective. Learning about the differences between manual and powered toothbrushes can likely help you find which toothbrush is right for you.   


At Hillcrest Dental in Charlottesville, VA, we believe in using the right tools to sustain the natural health of your teeth. Dr. Buckwalter, our dentist, along with the rest of our staff, care deeply for each of our patients, providing friendly service and personalized family dental care. Here are some differences that we consider are key in choosing a manual or powered toothbrush:


Initially, a powered toothbrush would seem more expensive than a manual, considering the additional technology it is comprised of. However, as they have advanced over time, their range of prices has become more varied, now being almost as inexpensive as a traditional toothbrush. Depending on the number or lack of features you desire, a powered toothbrush can go from $5 to $200, while a regular toothbrush usually costs a few dollars. In terms of price, an electric toothbrush is somewhat at a disadvantage, yet makes up for it in significant ways.

Easier to Use

The basic action of using a manual toothbrush involves simply shifting the brush along your teeth. This can eventually cause pain and discomfort on your wrist, especially for those dealing with arthritis or other conditions affecting their dexterity. A powered toothbrush, on the other hand, only requires you to hold and place the brush against your teeth as it mechanically rotates and spins, allowing you to clean your teeth almost effortlessly.


Manual toothbrushes are usually simple in their design, with a plastic or rubber handle and a brush at the end. Some brands have a set of bristles on the opposite side of the brush that is meant for cleaning your tongue, which can help get rid of old food particles that causes bad breath. They do come in various shapes and sizes that are meant to reflect a difference that makes them more effective and easier to use, but their essential features are usually the same.


For powered or electric toothbrushes, there is a greater amount of variations in different models, each one with different advanced features resulting in a higher price tag. These features include built-in timers, pressure sensors, rechargeable batteries, multiple brushing modes, and many more. These help you brush your teeth faster and more effectively, as well as providing you with a teeth cleaning tool of greater longevity than manual toothbrushes.

Cleaning Effectiveness

The most vital part of a toothbrush is whether it does well at cleaning our teeth. Any experienced family dentist will tell you that the number of times you brush a day is fundamental in keeping your teeth clean and healthy. However, studies have shown that powered toothbrushes are more effective at ridding your teeth and gums of plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. This is likely because of the features they have to ensure users brush their teeth properly, such as pressure sensors that warn against brushing too hard, and timers that tell users how long they should brush.

Hillcrest Dental: Personalized, Dependable Family Dental Care in Charlottesville, VA

While some toothbrushes may be better than others, it’s best to remember you need to floss and brush your teeth daily to keep them healthy and glowing. For all of your dental and oral hygienic needs, come visit us at Hillcrest Dental. We provide excellent, individualized family dental care through our welcoming staff, who love to meet and grow strong bonds with our patients, all in the hopes of becoming a part of your community, and vice versa.

Make an appointment with us online or call us at 434-973-2224 and let us help you keep your smile bright and beautiful. 

What Causes Bad Breath?

As it’s unpleasant for someone to smell bad breath and even more so embarrassing for another person to have it, it’s crucial to provide your teeth with the proper care they need on a daily-basis to help prevent it. That’s why it is important to know the various ways bad breath develops, so that you know what to do in order to prevent it. At Hillcrest Dental, we not only desire to prevent bad breath but all dental hygiene issues that may arise for our patients.


Hillcrest Dental is known as the most professional family-friendly dentist practice in Charlottesville, Virginia that specializes in a variety of services including general dental care, cosmetic treatments, and oral surgery. Our team is devoted to providing our patients with everything they need to maintain a bright, healthy smile with quality service that is both welcoming and comfortable. Below, we list a few of the reasons that leads to bad breath:

Bad Hygiene

Going without flossing or brushing your teeth each day will result in bits of food building up within the gaps of your teeth, which creates a bad odor in your oral cavity. Also, plaque will start to form on your teeth, which damages your teeth creating an even worse smell in your mouth.

Dry Mouth

Some important facts to remember is that saliva is a natural cleanser for the inside of your mouth, and a dry mouth is a sign that you may have bad breath. Due to a lack of saliva this may mean a rise in the bacteria in your mouth, which leads to bad breath. To avoid this, always make sure you stay hydrated.

Food & Drink

There are a plethora of foods that cause your breath to have a strong odor, such as meals with plenty of onion, garlic, or spices. Also, after eating a meal, there will be an increase of bacteria forming in your mouth due to the breakdown of food particles within your teeth, which is why it is important to brush and floss often. Drinks such as coffee or alcohol can also have a negative effect on how your breath smells. Both cause your mouth to produce less saliva, which means that more odor-causing bacteria will accumulate after consumed. Coffee also has a strong smell, which can remain in your breath long after you finish drinking your morning cup of joe.


There are specific medications and vitamin supplements which may cause your breath to smell badly, often because they either cause your mouth to dry up or create odors as the medicine breaks down in your system. If you are taking medication or vitamins often, schedule routine dental cleanings in addition to daily brushing and flossing to help combat bad breath.

Disease or Infection

There a number of diseases and infections that can cause bad breath, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, gum disease, mouth sores, or an infection caused by a recent dental surgery. Make sure that you receive regular check ups from your dentist to catch and treat these potential health issues sooner rather than later.


Regularly smoking is known as a common habit that develops bad breath along with using other tobacco-based products. It also causes users to develop gum disease, which is another well-known cause of bad breath. Try to limit the amount you smoke to keep bad breath at bay.

Hillcrest Dental: The Best Family Dentist in Charlottesville, VA

While these are the many habits and physical conditions that can cause our breath to smell foul, it is best to learn what you can do to change in order to avoid it. The best thing to do is to always brush and floss your teeth each day, stay hydrated, avoid unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking large amounts of coffee. On top of that, if you live in Charlottesville, VA, always make sure that you frequently schedule routine dental check-ups with a professional family dentist practice like Hillcrest Dental. Our dentistry staff provides a number of dental services to help you maintain great oral health that ensures you have the best smile possible.

We look forward to your next visit with us! Contact us at 434-973-2224 to schedule an appointment or get a free consultation.

  • "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.