Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


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!

  • "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.