Albemarle Dental
Proudly serving Charlottesville, VA

5 Encouraging Facts About Root Canals

Who Can Benefit from Dental Sealants?

You only get one set of adult teeth and need them to stay strong, healthy, and decay-free for as many years of your life as possible. Dental issues often lead to other problems with your health and diet. 

It makes sense to put your energy into dental protection and decay prevention, avoiding dealing with more serious dental issues for as long as possible.

At Albemarle Dental Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, Dr. Jeffery Hodges and his team provide dental sealants that do a lot to help protect your teeth from harmful bacteria and tooth decay. Who can benefit from dental sealants, and could you be a good candidate for this type of preventive treatment? Here’s what you need to know.

How dental sealants work

Dental sealants create a layer that protects the biting surfaces of your molars. This is one of the areas of your mouth where debris and bacteria are most likely to gather, potentially resulting in tooth decay. Tooth decay can cause enamel loss and eventual risks of root inflammation and tooth loss.

Your teeth’s biting surfaces actually contain many small gaps, ridges, and irregularities. That makes for an easy place for food and other debris to become lodged, allowing harmful bacteria to reproduce in your mouth.

Dental sealants are specially formulated protective coatings of plastic and other safe dental materials that create a smooth surface without places for debris to get trapped. Dental sealants also reduce the harmful effects of acids and plaque on treated teeth. With dental sealants, you can significantly reduce your risk of cavities and tooth decay.

The right candidate for dental sealants

It doesn’t matter how old you are. You may benefit from this preventive treatment option if you don’t have up-to-date dental sealants. Sealants last for multiple years but eventually wear away, meaning the treatment needs to be refreshed periodically for best results.

The providers at Albemarle Dental Associates typically recommend dental sealants for younger patients as part of a preventive care package designed to keep teeth strong and healthy as far into adulthood as possible. Sealants are safe for pediatric patients, and treatment often starts around age six, when adult molars first start to come in.

However, if you’re an older adult, dental sealants could still be right for you, especially if you haven’t had them applied before or if it’s been a while since your sealants were reapplied. Everyone can benefit from this easy way to reduce your risk of cavities!

The Albemarle Dental Associates team ensures you keep as many of your natural teeth free from decay, maintaining oral health, biting and chewing capability, and lasting mouth comfort. We check on your sealants whenever you come in for a regular cleaning appointment and recommend updates as frequently as needed.

Quick, easy dental protection with sealants

It only takes one appointment to get dental sealants applied to your teeth. Here’s how the process works.

Your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates starts by cleaning and drying the area to be treated with sealants. Then, an acidic gel helps to create a good sticking surface for your sealants without creating discomfort or harming your teeth.

Finally, it’s time to rinse the gel off your teeth and paint the sealants on. Specialized blue light hardens the sealants, ensuring they remain in place until worn away.

To learn more about how you and your family members may be able to benefit from dental sealants, call Albemarle Dental Associates today to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online now.

8 Problems that Veneers Resolve

You want your teeth to look perfect. Your teeth should be the same size, shape, and color — and you don’t want to see any dental stains or yellowing! You know what your aesthetic goals are for your oral appearance. So, what should you do to achieve the smile of your dreams?

Dental veneers offer a popular way to address many dental issues, from cosmetic concerns to reconstructive dentistry issues like chipped or cracked teeth. And there are many reasons why veneers are so popular as a dental procedure.

At Albemarle Dental Associates, Dr. Jeffery E. Hodges and his team provide high-quality porcelain veneers for new and existing patients in and around the Charlottesville, Virginia, area.

Could you benefit from veneers? Here are some of the problems that veneers effectively resolve.

1. Discolored teeth

When your teeth aren’t evenly matched, you may feel self-conscious about the appearance of your smile. Our beautiful porcelain veneers look similar to natural dental enamel and can be shade-matched as desired for a perfectly even grin.

2. Current dental stains

If one or more of your teeth is discolored with bad dental stains, you may be unable to achieve sufficient tooth whitening results using typical treatment methods. Veneers might be your best bet for restoring a perfectly white smile in that situation.

3. Future dental stains

Veneers resist common dental staining agents like tea, coffee, and smoking. You can keep your bright, even-toned, post-veneer smile for years to come!

4. Atypical tooth shapes

If your teeth aren’t all the same shape, you might not smile as widely as you can or may find yourself keeping quiet instead of speaking up. Dental veneers targeting one problem tooth or a whole arch can even out the size and shape of your teeth for a more uniform oral appearance.

5. Tooth gaps or uneven spacing

Dr. Hodges can narrow tooth gaps and address spacing issues in preparing your teeth for veneers. If you need more intensive treatment for uneven spacing, braces or Invisalign might be right for you.

6. Tooth chips

Veneers effectively address some dental restoration needs, including tooth chips. Tooth chips can become painful, pose a risk to your oral health, and leave your smile looking damaged. Use veneers to cover a chipped tooth.

7. Cracked teeth

Teeth can crack under pressure, especially if you have issues with tooth decay. When a tooth cracks, did you know that veneers can help to restore and strengthen it? Dr. Hodges bonds your veneers directly to the front surface of your teeth.

8. Weakened teeth

The porcelain shell of your visually undetectable veneers strengthens weakened teeth, helping your long-term oral health. With the right care, veneers often last for a long time.

To learn more about all the benefits of veneers and to discover if you could be a good candidate for this popular aesthetic and restorative dental procedure, get in touch with Dr. Hodges and the team at Albemarle Dental Associates.

Schedule your initial veneer consultation appointment online or over the phone today.

5 Encouraging Facts About Root Canals

Root canals have a bad reputation, and it really is a pity. Too many of Dr. Jeffery E. Hodges’ patients at Albemarle Dental Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, feel concerned about getting a root canal and worrying about issues like oral pain, expense, and recovery time.

But you should know that root canals are much less of a big deal than you might think! This dental procedure offers you many benefits and isn’t nearly as scary as many people fear. You don’t need to worry. Instead, learn more about these five encouraging facts about root canals that everyone should know.

1. Root canals preserve your natural teeth

Root canals allow your dentist to deal with damage and decay while leaving your natural tooth root in place. Without treatment, you could end up losing your natural tooth.

While reconstructive dentistry procedures like dental implants can address tooth loss, it’s better for your long-term oral health to keep as many of your natural teeth in place as possible.

2. This procedure defends against tooth loss

If you have a tooth that’s damaged or decaying, you could start to suffer from tooth pain, discoloration, or gum swelling. These signs often indicate needing a root canal to stave off tooth loss.

Tooth loss opens the door to ongoing oral health issues. Root canals stop serious tooth decay from progressing before it can result in tooth loss. 

3. You benefit from simple, same-day treatment

At Albemarle Dental Associates, we provide same-day root canals and reconstruction of treated teeth. That means that your tooth problems can be dealt with in just one appointment.

After removing decay and infected pulp from the interior of your tooth and filling the interior space with dental materials, we ensure that your treated tooth is strong and securely sealed. You may need a dental crown to cover and protect your remaining tooth structure.

4. Treatment is painless and ends tooth pain quickly

Toothache pain really hurts! With a root canal, you can end your pain symptoms quickly and effectively without added pain or complicated recovery needs. After your procedure, you can drive yourself home. If you experience any remaining pain, it’s mostly likely to be just mild tenderness that fades within a day or so.

And you don’t need to worry about pain or discomfort during your root canal procedure. Your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates numbs the treatment area and can also offer nitrous oxide for pain and anxiety management.

5. Root canals have a great track record

Root canals have been a go-to treatment for severely damaged or decaying teeth for many years and still remain a highly effective treatment option with a strong track record for patient satisfaction and success.

Tooth pain, gum swelling, or pus at your gum line all indicate that a root canal might be the best way to restore your dental and oral health and protect you from tooth loss. If you think you might need a root canal, don’t delay contacting Albemarle Dental Associates! You can call now to book your appointment or schedule with our online tool.

Why Do I Need Bone Grafting for My Dental Implant?

When you have one or more teeth that are seriously damaged, you need top-quality dental restoration to preserve your confidence when speaking, eating, and smiling. Dental implants offer you an excellent dental restoration option. Dental implants give you the most realistic possible results, looking and feeling just like your damaged or missing teeth.

Implant dentistry means working surgically around your jawbone. And in some cases, you may need bone grafts before it’s possible to start the implant dentistry process.

At Albemarle Dental Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, Dr. Jeffery E. Hodges and our team of expert cosmetic and reconstructive dentists ensure you have the best possible dental restoration. If you need bone grafts before dental implants, we help you understand your treatment plan and timeline.

How dental implants work with your jawbone

Dental implants use a titanium post implanted into your jawbone as the base for tooth replacement. A prosthetic that looks like your other teeth caps the implanted post.

The implant post imitates the function of your natural tooth root. That’s a big part of the advantage of dental implants! Not only does rooting the implant in your jawbone give you natural-feeling results, but it also improves your long-term oral health.

Your jawbone relies on the stimulation provided by your natural tooth roots. The gap progressively affects your jawbone if you have a lost or missing tooth. Once your dental implants are completed, the titanium post renews this stimulation.

But, sometimes, your jawbone might have deteriorated too far to accept the dental implant. When that happens, it’s time to look into bone grafts.

Bone grafts before dental implants

Dental bone grafts are all about restoring lost volume and density to areas of your jawbone where you’ve suffered bone loss. Bone grafts can be taken from your own tissue, or donor or synthetic grafts can be used.

At Albemarle Dental Associates, we provide multiple procedures to rebuild your jawbone for dental implants. Your procedure might include socket preservation, ridge augmentation, or sinus lift treatment. Or, you may need a periodontal bone graft.

We have over three decades of experience with this type of treatment. A thorough oral examination and dental X-rays let us know what procedure is best for you.

Completing your dental implants

If you need bone grafts, the total time needed for your dental implants increases. In most cases, you’ll need to heal from your bone graft before placing your implant. And healing times vary significantly from individual to individual.

Dental implants often require 6-8 months to complete. However, once your dental implants are in place, they can last for the rest of your lifetime with the right care and hygiene.

To learn more about bone grafting, dental implants, and the treatment timeline you might need for full dental restoration, get in touch with Dr. Hodges and the team at Albemarle Dental Associates today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment online, or call now to book.

5 Key Benefits of Dental Sealants for Your Child’s Teeth

Children’s permanent teeth need to last for a lifetime. They’re not getting another set! And did you know that children’s newly emerging permanent teeth aren’t as resistant to tooth decay as adult teeth?

At Albemarle Dental Associates, Dr. Jeffery E. Hodges and our team of pediatric dentistry experts are here to protect your child’s teeth as they grow up. As part of our specialization in pediatric dentistry, we offer dental sealants for our child patients from our Charlottesville, Virginia, location.

What are dental sealants, and how do they benefit your child? Here’s what you need to know.

1. Cover chewing surfaces

The chewing surfaces of your back teeth aren’t smooth. These teeth actually contain grooves that can trap and hold food debris. And that creates a risk of cavities, especially in children.

Dental sealants cover these grooves. Sealants work like plastic resin fillings so that pits and fissures in your child’s teeth can’t become a trap for debris.

2. Reduce the incidence of cavities

Getting dental sealants isn’t really the same as having a cavity filled. In fact, getting dental sealants at an office visit with Albemarle Dental Associates is a great way for your child to avoid needing to get cavities filled in the future!

Dental sealants provide a highly effective way of protecting teeth from potential cavities. Statistics show that children aged 6-11 without sealants have nearly three times as many 1st molar cavities as children with sealants. That’s why sealants are such a good idea for pediatric dentistry patients.

3. Safe for your child to use

It’s important to ensure that everything used in your child’s dentistry is safe for them. Some parents have raised concerns about the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) found in some dental resins used as sealants.

BPA is commonly used in food packaging so dental sealants won’t be your child’s only exposure to this chemical. 

After renewed studies, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association affirm that the materials used in dental sealants are safe for children. If you still have concerns, check with your child’s provider about their treatment plan.

4. Easy treatment and application

At Albemarle Dental Associates, we provide dental sealants in-office. This is a simple, painless procedure.

We start with an examination of the tooth or teeth that will be sealed. We remove any existing decay, then clean and dry the tooth. Before painting on the sealant, we use a solution to slightly roughen the treated teeth’s outer surface to make the sealant “take,” and clean and dry the tooth or teeth again.

Finally, it’s time to paint on the liquid sealant. It hardens in just about a minute. Special curing lights help to hurry sealant hardening.

The enamel layer on the outside of your child’s teeth isn’t sensitive and doesn’t contain nerves. So, getting sealants is a pain-free process that doesn’t need any numbing to complete.

5. Protect life-long dental health

With dental sealants, you can prevent or delay the onset of cavities in your child’s teeth, setting them up for better life-long dental health.

Keep up good dental hygiene on sealed teeth, brushing and flossing daily, and getting regular scheduled dental exams. We’ll check for wear on your child’s sealants. Dental sealants last for up to 10 years.

To learn more about why dental sealants are such a good idea for your child’s newly emerged adult teeth, contact the team at Albemarle Dental Associates online or over the phone to schedule your appointment today. 

Understanding the Benefits of Inlays and Onlays

Your teeth can become damaged due to tooth decay or wear-and-tear. But you need your teeth to stay healthy and functional so that you can eat, speak, and smile comfortably for years to come. Restorative dentistry procedures like inlays and onlays are designed to help damaged teeth, rebuilding structural strength and protecting your teeth from further deterioration.

At Albemarle Dental AssociatesDr. Jeffery E. Hodges and his team provide top-quality restorative dental care to new and existing patients from our location in Charlottesville, Virginia, including dental inlays and dental onlays. Which of these techniques is right for you? Our team of providers can advise you on the best strategy for restoring your teeth.

Understanding inlays and onlays

Dental inlays and onlays strengthen and repair your teeth. How do these techniques work, and what’s the difference between an inlay and an onlay? Here’s what you need to know.


An inlay is most similar to a dental filling but gives you a little extra post-damage dental strengthening. Inlays are made of gold, porcelain, or composite resin materials and bonded to the inside of your damaged tooth’s cusp tips.


Onlays are more substantial than inlays, but use a similar concept to shore up and protect a damaged tooth. Onlays are bonded over one or more of your tooth cusps for a more solid, lasting repair.

Like inlays, onlays are made of various long-lasting materials that can be precisely matched to the shade and color of your teeth for visually unobtrusive results.

Which of these options is right for you? It depends on the nature of the issue that needs repairing and the location of the problem tooth or teeth inside your mouth.

Your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates helps you understand the right dental restoration procedure and works with you to create a customized treatment plan. In either case, your dental restoration is custom-designed for you in our lab, based on scans of your teeth and mouth for a perfect fit.

The benefits of inlays and onlays

Inlays and onlays let you strengthen damaged teeth while preserving your natural tooth root and structure as much as possible. This increases your comfort and may be optimal for maintaining your dental and oral health. An inlay or onlay can strengthen a tooth by as much as 75%!

We may recommend an inlay or onlay if more than half of your tooth’s biting surface is damaged. These options are more effective than a filling for a larger dental issue that doesn't need to be fully covered with a protective crown.

To determine if you’re a good candidate for an inlay or onlay, your provider examines your mouth and takes X-rays. It often takes two treatment sessions to complete the inlay or onlay process. At the first appointment, your provider prepares the tooth, removing damaged material. At the second, your inlay or onlay is bonded permanently in place.

If you have dental issues that could benefit from an inlay, onlay, or other restorative dental repairs, contact the team at Albemarle Dental Associates right away. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone now.

What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency?

You don’t want to let any problem in your dental and oral health linger too long. It’s almost always easier to get effective dental treatment if you seek care promptly, whether the situation is extremely urgent.

Some situations qualify as genuine dental emergencies that need emergency care right away. How do you know when you need emergency dentistry?

At Albemarle Dental Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, Dr. Jeffery E. Hodges and our expert team handle dental emergencies regularly. If you have an emergency, contact our providers immediately for the professional dental evaluation and care you need to prevent complications like tooth loss.

Here’s the information you need about dental emergencies.

When it’s a dental emergency

Dental emergencies are tooth problems that need medical attention right away. You shouldn’t delay contacting a dentist if you are in one of these situations.

It’s a dental emergency when your teeth are substantially damaged. If one or more of your teeth are chipped, broken, or knocked out, you need emergency dental care.

When your existing dental work develops an unexpected problem, that’s definitely an emergency! Seek care immediately for chipped or slipped fillings, damaged or broken crowns, or dental bridges that aren’t functioning properly.

Pain in your mouth can indicate a dental emergency. That includes severe toothaches and unusual, significant tooth sensitivity.

If you’re in an accident or experience an injury that affects your mouth or teeth, you might have a dental emergency.

And, if you see sores in your mouth or experience badly bleeding gums, you could benefit from emergency dental care.

Dental emergency treatment

Getting the right care is essential to the best outcome in almost any dental emergency. If you think you could be dealing with a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to call the Albemarle Dental Associates team.

Getting treatment promptly can potentially save an at-risk tooth or keep you from more intensive procedures such as oral surgeries. You’re more likely to see highly effective results and avoid expensive treatments if you get the emergency care you need. And you also avoid the oral health complications that occur when you leave a dental problem untreated.

Collect knocked-out teeth and parts of dental prosthetics to bring into the office when you come in for treatment if you can. Knocked-out teeth should be kept moist in a glass of milk or safely tucked away inside your mouth, either in the empty socket or in your cheek.

The providers at Albemarle Dental Associates can advise you on what to do on your way to the office and recommend the best restorative and reconstructive dental treatment plan. We offer restorative dental treatments, including crowns, implants, and bridges.

When you have a dental emergency, you need a calm, collected care team to help you assess and address the situation. 

If you have a dental emergency, contact Albemarle Dental Associates online or over the phone immediately, and we’ll schedule a rapid-response appointment.

The Importance of Having Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned

You only get one set of adult teeth and need them to stay healthy and work right for a lifetime. Your teeth are exposed to substances like acids and sugars every day that can wear down dental enamel and cause decay. And harmful bacteria can also find places to multiply in your mouth. 

Taking care of your teeth is a self-care chore you must frequently do! At-home dental hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, is essential for oral health. Professional teeth cleanings are another way to promote life-long healthy teeth.

Dr. Jeffery Hodges and the team of dental experts at Albemarle Dental Associates of Charlottesville, Virginia, provide top-quality professional dental cleanings. At these regular appointments, typically scheduled twice yearly, we give your teeth and gums detailed attention, evaluation, and care.

The negative impacts of tooth trouble

While it’s true that today’s dentists can do a lot to fix dental problems with restorative dentistry, it’s still better to try to avoid needing dental restoration in the first place with preventive dentistry.

Teeth that aren’t properly cared for can start to decay. When caught early, areas of decay can be addressed with dental fillings, preserving as much of your healthy tooth as possible. Crowns can help with more advanced tooth decay.

Tooth loss results in a range of complications for you. In addition to discomfort and difficulty eating, you can have trouble speaking clearly, or feel embarrassed about your mouth’s appearance. After a time, missing teeth can result in jaw bone degradation.

The condition of your gums also needs attention. Gum disease affects many adults in the United States, a testament to the prevalence of poor flossing habits among many. When your gums aren’t healthy, your teeth are at risk.

Gum disease can also complicate your whole-body health if bacteria enter your bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body.

How regular dental cleanings benefit you

With the high stakes that come with dental health, it doesn’t make sense to go it alone when it comes to dental care. Regularly scheduled dental cleanings allow you to check in with a professional on the care and health of your teeth.

When you come in for a cleaning at Albemarle Dental Associates, we use state-of-the-art cleaning tools to completely detail every one of your teeth. We can access hard-to-reach areas where plaque and bacteria can build up in your mouth. After professional polishing, your teeth will be so clean that they gleam!

Your professional cleaning appointments also let your provider check up on the condition of your teeth. X-rays and thorough examinations let us know if you need any additional dental work or care. We can also advise you on adjustments to your brushing or flossing technique for better dental protection results.

Your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates will let you know how many times you should plan on coming in for a professional cleaning over the course of a year.

To learn more, and schedule your cleaning appointment, contact Albemarle Dental Associates online or over the phone today.

Ready to Get Straight Teeth Without Anyone Noticing? Try Clear Aligners

Lots of our new and existing patients at Albemarle Dental Associates are interested in straightening their teeth. A straight, even smile may be an aesthetic goal of yours, and more even teeth with a correctly aligned bite have a lower risk of dental health issues overall.

That said, both teens and adults have reason to hesitate about signing up for a year or more of highly visible metal braces. With clear aligners from ClearCorrect® and Invisalign®, Dr. Jeffery Hodges and our team can take care of those concerns. We provide clear aligners from our location in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Could you benefit from clear aligners? Here’s what you need to know.

The benefits of straight teeth

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. When your teeth look great, you feel confident every time you open your mouth to speak or smile. That means that your confidence in your smile impacts your whole life.

And did you know that well-aligned teeth are easier to keep clean? Without nooks and crannies between teeth, there’s less space for food debris to accumulate. Dental crowding can make it difficult to brush and floss effectively. You don’t need to worry about issues like a misaligned bite or misplaced oral pressure when your teeth are evenly spaced and lined up neatly.

Invisible orthodontia

In the past, the only way to get the benefits of a straighter smile was to put up with metal braces and other intrusive, highly visible orthodontia. That’s not the case anymore! With today’s dentistry, you have options for highly effective, almost-invisible orthodontia with clear aligners.

Clear aligners are made custom for your mouth after measuring and taking impressions to ensure an ideal fit. The patented material clings closely to your teeth. Many may not even be aware of your orthodontia if you don’t tell people you’re straightening your teeth. Clear aligners are significantly more comfortable than traditional metal braces, as well.

Clear aligners effectively address numerous alignment issues, including tooth gaps, overbites, underbites, and even hard-to-correct crossbites.

Completing your oral transformation

Clear aligners gradually place pressure on your teeth to transform your bite. Your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates designs a specialized series of clear alignment trays for the most effective trajectory to bring each of your teeth into perfect alignment.

You switch to the next tray in the series every few weeks, guiding your teeth along the computer-designed path to straightness.You need to keep your aligners in for at least 20 hours a day to get the full benefit. 

But you can also take out your trays easily anytime you need to, making events, speeches, and meals that much easier and the presence of your aligners that much more discreet.

To learn more about how you could benefit from a straighter bite without the months of metal mouth, contact the team at Albemarle Dental Associates and ask about clear aligners. Albemarle Dental Associates is a SmileClubDirect partner.

Schedule your initial consultation appointment online or call now to book.

Why Laser Dentistry Might Be Your Answer If You Have Dental Phobia

If you put off going to the dentist because of dental anxiety or phobias, you should know about the benefits of laser dentistry for patients with dental anxiety! Dr. Jeffery Hodges and the team at Albemarle Dental Associates offer state-of-the-art laser dentistry services from offices in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Don’t delay getting the dental care you need because of dental anxiety. Instead, talk to Dr. Hodges and the Albemarle Dental Associates team about whether laser dentistry could be right for you. Here’s what you need to know.

Dental anxiety and dental care

Many people struggle with anxiety about going to the dentist. For some people, dental anxiety even develops into a full-blown phobia.

However, regular dental care is essential to your lifelong health and wellness. Catching dental problems early means you can opt for less invasive and expensive treatment options. You can avoid more intensive dentistry care needs with the right preventive dental care.

Putting off getting the dental care you need doesn’t do anything to resolve the problem. Delays often make the situation with your oral health that much worse. Instead of avoiding going to the dentist, work with the compassionate providers at Albemarle Dental Associates to find an effective path forward for you and your dental care needs.

The benefits of laser dentistry for anxiety

Laser dentistry means that Dr. Hodges and the Albemarle Dental Associates team use laser tools, instead of scalpels and stitches, for your dental care needs. Laser dentistry removes that trigger if you have anxiety or phobia issues associated with dental scalpels.

Receiving laser dentistry treatment increases your comfort and reduces your stress during treatment. Laser dentistry reduces your risk of bleeding and swelling. The lasers we use are safe and won’t harm your healthy tissues. And, with laser dentistry, you don’t have to deal with drilling noises or vibrations that can be triggering for many of our dental anxiety patients.

We provide numbing agents to keep your treatment session pain-free. You relax in comfort in a private area of our office during your entire treatment session. And, with laser dentistry, you also don’t have to worry about post-treatment pain or ongoing oral bleeding, another concern off your mind.

Laser dentistry and your dental care

You might be surprised at how much of your regular dental care needs can be addressed through laser dentistry. Dr. Hodges can use laser dentistry for both tooth decay and gum disease treatment, including gum grafting and frenectomies. In fact, laser treatment even lowers your risk of gum disease recurrence after treatment.

Laser treatments can painlessly excise areas of diseased oral tissue to help your gums heal. Other lasers used in dentistry can target areas of dental decay or reduce sensitivity in targeted teeth. Laser stimulation even causes the healthier attachment of newly grown tissues to your teeth, reducing issues like receding gum lines.

To learn more about the role that laser dentistry could play in resolving your dental phobia or anxiety issues, contact Albemarle Dental Associates today. Schedule your appointment online, or call now to book your first session with a member of our team.

I’m Really Anxious About My Upcoming Dental Procedure

For many people, going to the dentist sometimes or often poses a problem. Caring for your teeth is vital to overall wellness, including going to the dentist for regular checkups and scheduled dental procedures. But your dental anxiety makes the situation so stressful!

At Albemarle Dental Associates, Dr. Jeffery Hodges and his team of general, cosmetic, and reconstructive dentistry providers are experienced supporters of patients who feel nervous or phobic about dental visits. We offer multiple types of sedation dentistry from our location in Charlottesville, Virginia.

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious about an upcoming appointment or procedure, let us know, and we can discuss your options for sedation dentistry and other forms of mental health support and anxiety relief. You don’t have to suffer in silence through stressful office visits!

Understanding dental anxiety

Dental anxiety is common in the United States, although the intensity and degree of anxiety symptoms can vary. Maybe you don’t like going to the dentist enough that you sometimes put off appointments, but when you need treatment, you can manage. Or, maybe you have a very strong dental phobia that makes you irrationally panicked at the thought of dental work.

Either way, you deserve help with dental anxiety. The first step is communicating with the Albemarle Dental Associates team about your anxiety struggles. Working together, we can put together a treatment plan that respects your peace of mind and your lasting oral and dental health.

Your sedation dentistry options

You may be able to manage mild dental anxiety with calming techniques, mindfulness, taking breaks as needed, or by listening to music or other audio content. For people who need more anti-anxiety support than that, Albemarle Dental Associates offers sedation dentistry.

Sedation dentistry lets you relax during your dental procedure. Here are your options for sedation dentistry at Albemarle Dental Associates.

Laughing gas

Technically known as nitrous oxide, this gas has been a go-to in sedation dentistry for decades. This sedation option is inhaled and only takes a few minutes to take effect. Nitrous oxide isn’t irritating to your system and even has a pleasant, sweet odor.

When you use nitrous oxide for sedation, you remain in control of your bodily functions and can continue to breathe normally. In addition, we supply oxygen along with nitrous oxide gas. We control your sedation dose throughout your appointment and can adjust your sedation level as needed.

Patients who use nitrous oxide often find that they fall asleep after sedation. You may also be unable to remember everything that happened while under the influence of nitrous oxide. However, you don’t need to worry about hangover-like effects when the effects wear off.

While this sedation option is safe for your lungs, if you have lung or breathing problems, nitrous oxide sedation might not be for you.


The team at Albemarle Dental Associates also offers NuCalm, a practical, all-natural sedation dentistry alternative used worldwide. NuCalm works with the stress center of your brain for anxiety relief and relaxation.

We start by blocking light, then stimulate your brain with a combination of NuCalm Essential Calming Cream and cranial electrotherapy. Biochemical changes make your brain think you’re falling asleep, disrupting the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

We use specialized neuroacoustic software as part of this sedation method to reinforce that effect. The calming “music” frequencies guide your brain into Theta brain wavelengths for deep relaxation results.

When you use NuCalm, you’re still fully awake, deeply and reliably relaxed. You may feel detached from time and space, so you’re nearly unaware of the dental procedure. After your procedure, you can return to full awareness, feeling refreshed, without having experienced any new causes of dental anxiety.

With the right dental sedation treatment, you can get the care you need despite your dental anxiety or phobia. To learn more about sedation anxiety and how Dr. Hodges and the Albemarle Dental Associates team can help you with dental anxiety, call 434-293-8944 today or schedule an appointment online.

When Should I Schedule My Baby’s First Dental Visit?

As your baby’s body develops and grows, you want to ensure that everything about them is strong, healthy, and well cared for. That includes your baby’s teeth! Teething troubles care for milk teeth, questions about the right type of brush for baby — all these topics and more are part of pediatric dentistry.

The team at Albemarle Dental Associates is proud to partner with new and new-again parents to protect your child’s lifelong oral and dental health. We treat new and existing patients of all ages from our convenient, kid-friendly offices in Charlottesville, Virginia.

When should you start bringing your baby in for dental check-ups? Here’s what the Albemarle Dental Associates want you to know about the best schedule to start your child’s pediatric dentistry care.

When should you bring your baby to the dentist?

There are so many scheduling questions with a new baby! You spend a lot of time watching the clock, tracking developmental timelines, and scheduling needed appointments. So, when is it right to plan on bringing your baby to the dentist?

As with so many parenting questions, the answer to that question is, “it depends.” Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children see a dentist by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth appearing.

However, many parents prefer to consult with a dentist and get their child used to dental visits at an earlier age. Your baby may also have health care needs that require closer dental or oral monitoring beginning at a younger age. The team at Albemarle Dental Associates welcomes pediatric patients of all ages!

The first few dental care years

Your baby’s milk teeth come in by the time your child is six months old. The Albemarle Dental Associates team can help you care for your baby’s milk teeth, and start teaching your child simple, age-appropriate oral and dental care techniques. We can also help you understand when fluoride treatments are appropriate and healthy for your child.

Once your child is ready to start losing milk teeth and gaining permanent teeth, around 6-7 years old, it’s a bonus for them to already have good oral care habits and a friendly, positive relationship with dental visits that can last a lifetime.

The Albemarle Dental Associates team continues to care for your child as they grow, establishing a baseline of dental care that can help with emerging dental or orthodontic issues as their bodies change and develop. 

Getting the right start is essential when it comes to oral health. After all, once your child's adult teeth come in, they need those teeth to last a long and healthy life.

What to expect during your office visit

You can count on the providers at Albemarle Dental Associates to be positive, helpful, and gentle with your baby or growing child. We warmly welcome pediatric dentistry patients, preventing dental anxiety from becoming a problem for your child later in life.

During pediatric dentistry visits, we check your child’s teeth with a manual exam and dental X-rays. We provide a gentle, thorough dental cleaning and familiarize your child with toothbrushing and oral care basics.

We can also answer any questions you may have about your baby’s dental care needs, including recommending teething aids!

Schedule your baby or child’s first pediatric dentistry visit with the Albemarle Dental Associates team online or over the phone today.

Are You Brushing and Flossing Correctly?

Tooth brushing needs to be a fundamental part of your daily routine. You should brush at least twice a day and floss at least once. When you correctly brush and floss your teeth, you prevent tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and more oral health problems.

At Albemarle Dental Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, Dr. Jeffery Hodges, Dr. Ronald Spillers, Dr. John Rajniak, and Dr. Hong Anh Tran provide expert teeth cleanings. We can also help you review and, if needed, adjust your brushing and flossing technique.

While a poor job of brushing is better than no brushing at all, with our guidance, you can maximize the benefits of your dental hygiene routine for your oral health.

What brush to use?

First, you have to ensure you’re using the right dental cleaning equipment. You rely on your toothbrush to clear plaque and harmful bacteria away from the outer surfaces of your teeth and gum line. Because plaque and bacteria build up constantly, you need a good tool for this important job. Otherwise, your dental health could seriously suffer.

Follow the American Dental Association (ADA) recommendation for a soft-bristled brush. You want a smaller toothbrush head, so that you can reach into every crook and cranny of your mouth. An electric toothbrush can also be a good option!

Keep your toothbrush current by replacing the brush or the brush head every 3-4 months or as it starts to wear out and look bent or splayed.

How long and often to brush?

Everyone needs to brush their teeth at least twice a day. You should brush for two minutes, spending about 30 seconds on each of the four quadrants of your mouth. Move the brush gently, not pressing too hard on your sensitive dental enamel. Use short strokes the width of a tooth in a circular motion when you brush.

If you have unique dental care needs, including orthodontia, you might need to brush more often! Two times a day is the minimum, not the maximum, when it comes to tooth brushing.

Getting the angles

When you brush and floss, it’s essential to hit all the surfaces and angles where bacteria and plaque can accumulate and cause oral health problems.

With each of your teeth, ensure you’re thoroughly cleaning the outer surfaces. Then, tipping the brush at a 45-degree angle, go down into the gumline, removing any debris. Clean the inner surfaces and then finally the chewing surfaces. Working one tooth at a time makes sure each tooth is thoroughly cleaned.

Did you know that it’s also a good idea to brush your tongue? Doing so regularly can even give you fresher breath!

Fess up about flossing

Flossing is another essential part of everyone’s dental routine. Are you one of the many adults who don’t floss as often or as thoroughly as you should? Picking up your flossing skills can save you from gum disease and intraoral tooth decay.

Use the right dental floss, choosing the right thickness for your mouth size and teeth spacing. Wrapping the floss around your fingers, gently press down between each of your teeth. To create a c-shape with the floss, rub it against each side of the neighboring teeth.

Floss before brushing so that you’re not flushing out debris after you’ve already finished cleaning the surfaces of your teeth.

Getting the dental care you need

It’s important to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups. If your tooth hygiene routine shows holes, we can let you know and support you in finding solutions that will work for you.

Schedule your appointment at Albermarle Dental Associates online or over the phone today.

Help! My Teeth are Yellow

Are your teeth looking more and more yellow each year? Factors like time and staining agents can dim the brightness of your smile. Fortunately for you, your options for professional teeth whitening treatment have never been better!

At Albemarle Dental Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, our team of associates, led by Dr. Jeffery E. Hodges, Dr. Ronald E. Spillers, Dr. John Rajniak, and Dr. Hong Anh Tran, is here to help. 

If you’re concerned about the color, shade, or condition of your teeth, get in touch with the Albemarle Dental Associates team and find out what you can do to improve the appearance of your smile.

Why teeth get yellow over time

There are a few reasons why you could be seeing more and more yellow in your teeth each morning as you brush and floss. If you’re feeling worse and worse about the shade of your smile, you’re probably not imagining it. The whiteness of your smile can genuinely decrease over time.

Staining agents like tea, coffee, red wine, and blueberries can all leave lasting marks on the white surface of your dental enamel. Smoking cigarettes, taking certain medications, and not cleaning your teeth well enough can all contribute to dental staining, as well. However, even if you don’t have any dental stains, you can still start to feel frustrated with yellowing teeth.

Dental enamel is tough but can still wear away over time. Natural layers of white dental enamel cover your teeth, with underlying dentin that’s more yellow. Acids, sugars, and time can deplete your dental enamel until the yellower shade of your dentin starts to show through. That’s part of why yellowed teeth are often associated with older age.

Your teeth whitening treatment options

You don’t have to live with yellow teeth that decrease your confidence in your appearance and leave you looking older than your calendar age. Here are some of the ways that the team at Albemarle Dental Associates can improve the brightness and whiteness of your smile.

We specialize in in-office Zoom!® teeth whitening treatment by Phillips. This advanced whitening technology improves the brightness of your teeth by multiple shades in just a single session. Professional-grade whitening gel in comfortable teeth trays break down stains to leave your teeth brighter and more even in shade and color.

A special light enhances and speeds your Zoom! Teeth whitening treatment. The whole process is so rapid that you only need about an hour to see significant improvement in teeth whiteness.

And, if coming into the office isn’t right for your scheduling needs, we also offer professional-strength home whitening gel kits — you might need more than one treatment session to see the best results without in-office treatment.

For the help you need to get yellowing teeth back to brilliance, get in touch with the team at Albemarle Dental Associates today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment by calling now, or book with our easy-to-use online tool.

Learn all the Ways Veneers Can Enhance Your Smile

Porcelain veneers are a popular option for cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Custom-matched porcelain looks like natural dental enamel, and veneers allow you to adjust your smile as desired. How many ways can you imagine veneers improving your dental health and aesthetics?

At Albemarle Dental Associates, Dr. Jeffery HodgesDr. Ronald Spillers, and Dr. Hong-Anh Tran provide custom porcelain veneers for patients with several cosmetic and restorative dental concerns from around Charlottesville, Virginia.

Our team can help you determine if veneers are right for you. Here are some of the ways dental veneers could benefit your teeth.

Do you want to change the shape of one or more teeth?

Misshapen or snaggled teeth can disrupt the appearance of your bite. With veneers, you can determine the exact curve of your teeth, designing a perfectly even shape that can carry across all the teeth you decide to have treated.

The team at Albemarle Dental Associates sculpts your porcelain veneers to have the precise shape and size desired and applies the veneers, so all treated teeth have the same even appearance.

Do you need to strengthen your teeth due to chips or cracks?

If your teeth are chipped or cracked, you can use porcelain veneers to strengthen them, keeping your dental function intact for years. Veneers work effectively for many types of dental restoration, as well as creating a whiter, brighter look.

Would you prefer a more even tone to your smile?

Stains and uneven coloration can make your smile less aesthetically pleasing. Even professional-grade whitening treatments might not be enough to eliminate stubborn coffee or blueberry stains.

Veneers offer a great way to reset the color and evenness of your grin. You can use a single veneer to address a discolored tooth, or a full set of veneers to create a perfectly matched, unstained smile. Porcelain veneers look just like the real thing, only better, with a natural-looking luminosity.

Do you want long-lasting results?

Veneers look, feel, and work just like natural teeth. You won’t need to worry about problems eating, drinking, or speaking once your veneers are in place.

Porcelain veneers are bonded directly to the front of your tooth or teeth. Veneers are permanent, as it’s necessary to reduce the size of your natural teeth by removing a few layers of enamel before securely cementing your veneers into place.

To find out if you could be a good candidate for porcelain veneers and to learn more about how veneers could benefit you, get in touch with the team at Albemarle Dental Associates and schedule an initial consultation appointment. Call now to book or set up your appointment with our easy-to-use online tool.

What Happens If You Delay a Root Canal?

Root canals tend to inspire feelings of anxiety in dental patients who are told they may need one. However, a root canal is actually a great way to protect you from serious oral health and dental health complications. A root canal is pain-free because of anesthesia. Without a needed root canal, you can suffer serious oral pain, among other issues.

At Albemarle Dental Associates of Charlottesville, Virginia, our team of restorative dentistry and endodontics experts provide root canals to new and existing patients. If you need a root canal, don’t delay in scheduling your procedure with our team, led by Dr. Ronald Spillers

The consequences of delaying a needed root canal can be much worse than imagined fears about getting a root canal done. You don’t need to delay a root canal. It’s a procedure meant to protect you from tooth pain and dental health problems down the road.

How root canals help your dental health

With the root canal procedure, the Albemarle Dental Associates team can restore teeth that are seriously damaged or decaying. We provide your root canal and reconstruction on a same-day basis. Here’s how it works.

During a root canal, your provider creates an opening in your tooth to remove infected internal pulp or decay. When the damaged pulp is removed and your tooth re-sealed, you feel nearly instant relief.

At Albemarle Dental Associates, we use cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans to confirm that you need a root canal. After your provider has numbed the treatment area and offered you nitrous oxide for pain and anxiety management, the team uses a dental microscope to complete your root canal, and finally seal your tooth and, if needed, place a crown over the top.

You don’t need a lot of downtime after a root canal. You can drive yourself home, and eat and drink as desired as soon as numbing wears off. If you have any tenderness, it should be gone within just a few days.

Complications of delaying a root canal

You might need a root canal if you experience symptoms like tooth pain, gum swelling, or tooth discoloration. If you don’t get the treatment you need within the right time frame, symptoms can worsen, with potentially serious complications, including permanent tooth loss.

Root canals can develop system infections, with a risk for infection to spread to locations around your body, and for tooth abscesses to develop. Your oral and whole-body health can be threatened by delaying a needed root canal.

Getting the care you need

The discomfort you feel when you need a root canal won’t go away without treatment. Toothache pain can become excruciating. Don’t wait until your pain becomes overwhelming to get a needed root canal treatment. That’s the best way to relieve your pain and preserve your natural tooth.

And, when you seek treatment promptly, you can expect simpler, more straightforward treatment than could be needed if the problem has become severe.

With the right ongoing dental care, root canals can preserve your teeth after damage, cracks, or decay. To learn more, contact the Albemarle Dental Associates office today and schedule your same-day appointment over the phone now or book with our online tool.

Why Dental Implants Are a Top Choice For Replacing Missing Teeth

A gap in your smile where a tooth is lost or missing is a dental health problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Leaving a gap where a missing tooth should be increases your risk of serious oral health complications, including jaw bone density loss and further tooth decay and loss.

Today’s dentistry offers dental implants as the top choice for replacing lost and missing teeth. Dental implants are significantly better than other forms of tooth replacement in multiple ways. The reconstructive dentistry experts at Albermarle Dental Associates recommend dental implants as the best treatment option for restoring your smile after tooth loss.

Here’s what we want our patients from around Charlottesville, Virginia, to understand about the benefits of dental implants, and the importance of full dental restoration after tooth loss.

Ongoing risks after tooth loss

A missing tooth may make you self-conscious about the appearance of your smile, causing you to hang back at social events or preventing you from making your voice heard at work. But missing teeth aren’t just a problem for your self-esteem. Missing teeth put your oral health at risk, as well.

Leaving a gap in your smile where a missing tooth should be creates an area where food, debris, and harmful bacteria can collect, increasing your risk of decay in the teeth around the gap. 

And, without the stimulation of a healthy tooth root, your jaw bone can begin to deteriorate around the empty socket, causing long-term instability in that area of your mouth and increasing your risk of infection.

The benefits of dental implants

Dental implants work, look, and feel just like the real thing. Once your implants are fully placed and healed, you’ll be able to eat, drink, speak, and laugh without worries about your restorative dentistry showing or failing, or impeding your full oral function and control.

And, dental implants also continue to stimulate your jaw bone the way a natural tooth root would, preventing bone loss and keeping your jaws and gums healthy and strong. Dental implants use a surgically implanted post to function similarly to a natural tooth root, topped by a crown shaped to look just like your remaining natural teeth.

Your best bet for replacing lost teeth

With dental implants, you can avoid the additional wear-and-tear on neighboring teeth that a long-term gap in your smile could cause. Your bite won’t shift, and your jaw bone remains stimulated for healthy growth, also reducing your risk of gum disease.

Dental implants take a few appointments and some time to fully place and heal, about 3-6 months in all, but once you’re through recovery, your dental implants are simple to care for, and so natural-seeming that you may be able to completely forget about your restorative dentistry a lot of the time.

Just brush and floss regularly, the same way you keep your other teeth clean, and your implants can last for the rest of your life.

To learn more about how you could benefit from dental implants, and to find out if you could be a good candidate for implant dentistry, get in touch with Albermarle Dental Associates today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment online or over the phone now.

5 Dental Concerns that Crowns Resolve

If wishing made it so, our teeth would stand the test of time and oral hygiene would be enough to keep them strong and healthy. But alas, the opposite is true, and oral health problems are often more a matter of when than if

Fortunately, the answer to your dental concerns is simpler than you think. A small protective covering called a dental crown easily slips over and completely restores your misshapen, broken-down teeth. 

Here, our team of dentists at Albemarle Dental Associates shows you just how powerful crowns can be against even the toughest smile problems. 

#1 Crowns strengthen weak teeth

The white outermost layer of your teeth called enamel is made of some of the toughest materials in your body; however, it’s not invincible. Damage to your enamel weakens your teeth, and unlike other tissues that can be repaired by your body, this type of damage is permanent. 

Some of the things that can damage your enamel and weaken your teeth include:

  • Diets that are high in sugar
  • Lack of oral hygiene
  • Carbonated or acidic beverages
  • Teeth grinding

Sometimes, genetics can play a role in how strong your teeth are. Whatever’s behind the damage, crowns offer the reinforcements your tooth needs.

#2 Crowns repair cracks 

In addition to gradual wear-and-tear that weakens your teeth, they’re also susceptible to cracks and injury. Anything from biting down too hard to a traumatic injury can create small cracks in your teeth that eventually turn into big problems, including infection and severe pain.

#3 Crowns hold a dental bridge in place

A dental bridge is an appliance we use to replace one or more missing teeth. This is important because a missing tooth can cause your other teeth to shift out of place, change your bite, and lead to unnatural wearing of the teeth. 

Typically, we place crowns on either side of your missing tooth (or teeth) to keep the bridge securely in its place. 

#4 Crowns protect fillings

When the worst happens and severe tooth decay has created a cavity, our first step is to remove the decay and infection. Then, we close off the cavity with a filling. 

But we can’t stop there, especially if the filling is large. Our final step is to fit you with a crown to completely seal off your restored tooth and protect the filling. 

#5 Crowns improve the appearance of your teeth

Crowns aren’t just for emergencies; they’re for cosmetic concerns, as well. If you’ve got one or more discolored or severely worn teeth putting a damper on your smile, crowns may be a great option to revive it. 

We also offer other cosmetic dentistry services, including veneers and teeth whitening treatments. Talk to us about which option is best for you. 

What you can expect

To determine if crowns are right for you, we begin by conducting a thorough review of your teeth and gums. We ask you about your medical history and discuss your treatment goals with you. 

Sometimes we order some extra imaging tests, such as an X-ray, to get a more detailed look at your jaw and tooth roots. If we run into any signs of infection, we address those problems before continuing with treatment. 

When you receive your crown, we first administer an anesthetic to keep you comfortable. Then, we carefully reshape your tooth by filling down any sharp or pointed edges. We use a putty-like material to make a mold of your tooth and send it to a laboratory that manufactures your crown. 

About a week later, you return to our office and we cement your custom-made crown in place. Though getting a crown takes a series of appointments, the result is a completely restored smile that will last. In fact, with proper care, most crowns can last upwards of 15 years. 

Want more information about dental crowns? Ready to see if they’re right for you? Call or click to request an appointment at our Charlottesville, Virginia office today.