Albemarle Dental
Proudly serving Charlottesville, VA

Help! My Teeth are Yellow

Missing Teeth? Dental Implants Restore Your Smile as They Improve Your Oral Health — Here's How

You might lose a tooth due to decay, extraction, accident, or injury. While badly decayed teeth may need to be extracted, leaving an empty space in your smile is certainly less than ideal.

For one thing, you may find yourself feeling self-conscious about your smile or facing judgment from others about visibly missing teeth. And your oral health can also be compromised by a long-term gap in your grin. Your teeth function and feel best with no empty spaces.

At Albemarle Dental Associates of Charlottesville, Virginia, we provide both cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry. Our team of oral care experts, led by Dr. Jeffery Hodges, recommends fixes for tooth problems that consider how your smile looks and how your mouth works and feels.

One of the best remedies available to you for lost or missing teeth is dental implants. A dental implant can replace one missing tooth or several. Why are dental implants better than options like dentures? Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of dental implants.

Restoring your smile with dental implants

Leaving a gap in your teeth can cause the neighboring teeth to shift out of alignment. Your jawbone also needs the stimulation tooth roots provide to stay strong and healthy. Dental implants address both of these issues.

A dental implant involves a titanium artificial tooth root surgically implanted into your jawbone where the missing tooth root would be. Once the titanium implant fully heals, your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates adds a natural-looking prosthetic tooth, typically made from porcelain or resin.

Your dental implants are permanent. Because of the implanted artificial root, dental implants feel much more natural than other tooth replacement options, such as dentures. You can speak, eat, and smile with complete confidence once you have your dental implant or implants.

Dental implants also provide ongoing stimulation and support to the bone in your jaw. You don’t need to worry about jawbone loss, as you would if you had an empty space among your remaining teeth.

Understanding the dental implant process

Dental implants give you a strong, secure foundation for future oral health. But, getting dental implants takes some time to complete.

First, your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates ensures that you have enough healthy jawbone available for the implant process. If your jawbone has started deteriorating, you may need bone grafts to build the area back up before proceeding with a dental implant. Dr. Hodges has extensive experience with this part of the dental implant process.

Then, it’s time for the surgical implantation of your artificial tooth root. Your provider numbs the treatment area before performing the implantation, keeping you comfortable during restorative dentistry. We also take scans and impressions of your mouth at this time so that we can design artificial teeth that look just like your natural ones and fit well with your bite.

It can take 6-8 months for your jawbone to heal fully around the implant post. Dr. Hodges waits for your mouth to be ready before completing your implant. Then, with connector posts, he attaches your artificial teeth to your implants.

With the right care, dental implants are long-lasting. Brush twice daily, floss daily, and watch out for stressors like chewing on hard objects or grinding your teeth, and you’re good to go!

To learn more about dental implants and determine if you could be a good candidate for this restorative dentistry procedure, contact Albemarle Dental Associates online or over the phone today to schedule an appointment.

Don’t Let Dental Anxiety Stop You From Getting the Care You Need: Learn About Our Sedation Options

Whether you have generalized anxiety about going to the dentist or experience more intense dental phobia, you need help to get regular oral health care. It’s not a good idea to delay going to the dentist or skip out on dental work. Dental problems commonly worsen without prompt care and attention.

That doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to go through a terrifying or even potentially traumatic treatment experience. At Albemarle Dental Associates, our team of general, cosmetic, and reconstructive dentistry providers, under the leadership of Dr. Jeffery Hodges, offers multiple types of sedation dentistry, including NuCalm® and nitrous oxide.

In sedation dentistry, medication eases your anxiety, allowing you to comfortably receive dental treatment at Albemarle Dental Associates’ location in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here’s what you need to know about what it’s like to receive sedation dentistry treatment and the different medications our team can use to support you during your appointment.

Addressing your dental anxiety

If you have dental anxiety or dental phobias, the first step you should take is to let our office know. Then, we can work with you to develop effective strategies to support you and relieve your anxiety.

Some people find that dental anxiety can be managed with strategies and calming techniques like listening to music, watching a distracting program during your appointment, or using controlled breathing patterns to self-soothe. Taking a break when your stress levels start to rise can also help keep anxiety at bay.

Sedation dentistry options for anxious patients

Other patients we treat at Albemarle Dental Associates benefit from various types of sedation during dental treatment. We offer multiple options so you can find the approach that works best for you.

Nitrous Oxide

Also known as “laughing gas,” dentists have used this type of sedation for decades. Nitrous oxide gas is colorless and has a sweet smell. When you inhale laughing gas, it provides safe sedation. You breathe independently and stay in control of your body. You may fall asleep or not remember parts of your appointment afterward.

At Albemarle Dental Associates, we use a mix of 30% nitrous oxide with 50%-70% oxygen. Relaxing and pain-preventing effects kick in within 20 seconds of use. We can adjust your sedation level at any time.

You won’t have any lingering hangover-like effects from using nitrous oxide for sedation dentistry. However, this type of sedation might not be right for you if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other problems with breathing.


The team at Albemarle Dental Associates also provides sedation dentistry with NuCalm, an all-natural alternative to traditional sedation. This clinical solution to anxiety and stress involves several components. Here’s how it works.

First, light is blocked, making your brain receptive to stress relief. Next, cranial electrotherapy stimulation combined with NuCalm Essential Calming Cream triggers your brain to enter the stage that precedes falling asleep, stopping the release of stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol. Finally, neuroacoustic “music” adjusts your brainwaves to keep you calm.

With the NuCalm system, you can be very relaxed in just a few minutes. You’re responsive and can cooperate with your provider, but you feel very deeply distracted and can easily lose track of time while receiving sedation. 

After treatment ends, you feel refreshed and alert with no needed recovery time. You can safely drive yourself home after your appointment.

Using these sedation options and strategies, you can receive the regular dental care or dental procedures needed to keep your mouth healthy, pain-free, and functional.

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

How Can My Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?

When you don’t get enough sleep at night, it’s that much harder to be your best during the day. Interrupted sleep can have harmful health impacts, as well. So, it’s worth seeking treatment for conditions that make it more difficult for you to get a good night’s rest.

Sleep apnea is a common type of sleep-related breathing disorder in adults in the United States. If you have this condition, physical obstruction causes you to intermittently stop breathing while asleep. Your body wakes you up whenever your oxygen levels drop too low, leading to disrupted sleep throughout the night.

You might not think of a dentist as the person to see for sleep apnea treatment. But, at Albemarle Dental Associates, Dr. Jeffery Hodges and our team of experienced providers offer effective strategies to improve obstructive sleep apnea.

Here’s what you need to know about how our team uses dental sleep medicine to help patients from around Charlottesville, Virginia, with sleep apnea or insomnia.

Why you need to treat sleep apnea

Sleep disorders like sleep apnea damage your quality of life in the daytime as much as at night. If you’re not getting a full night’s rest, you may suffer from inconvenient and uncomfortable symptoms like daytime fatigue, morning headaches, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Sleep apnea negatively impacts the physical state of your mouth and airways. In addition to loud nighttime snoring, you may find yourself dealing with an unpleasantly dry mouth most mornings when you wake up.

It’s also less than ideal for your body to experience pauses and disruptions in your breathing. You need a certain amount of oxygen to stay strong and healthy, and breathing issues can compromise your physical function. Untreated sleep apnea can eventually cause serious health issues like high blood pressure or even heart trouble.

Sleep apnea and dental sleep medicine

Dr. Hodges is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. His dental sleep medicine specialization focuses on improving the quality of your sleep and maintaining open airways all night long.

Your dental sleep medicine treatment starts with an in-depth examination of your sleep patterns, breathing, and physiology. Dr. Hodges and the team at Albemarle Dental Associates partner with other specialists to fully address your care needs.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Hodges can help reposition your jaw for better sleep with a customized oral appliance. This is typically much more comfortable and significantly less intrusive than using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night. You can even try out several types of oral appliances to find the best fit.

Once your oral appliance is in place, your body can fully relax during sleep without risking your airway collapsing. The appliance, which fits in your mouth like a retainer would, widens your airway to maintain air access all night.

If you’ve been struggling with sleep apnea or insomnia, contact Dr. Hodges and the dental sleep medicine experts at Albemarle Dental Associates today. Call now to schedule your initial consultation, or request your appointment online today.

4 Reasons to Consider Laser Treatment for Your Gums

When you think about dental care, you might only initially consider tooth care. But gum health is also part of dental and oral health care. Many adults in the United States have less-than-optimal gum health and are at risk for periodontal disease (gum disease). 

Gum disease can result in severe complications and increases your risks of tooth loss and heart disease.

Dr. Jeffery Hodges, Dr. Hong-Anh Tran, Dr. Ronald E Spillers, Dr. Julie Park, and the team at Albemarle Dental Associates focus on both your teeth and your gums for your total oral care. We provide laser treatment for gums and other therapies to address and relieve periodontal disease from our office in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Could you benefit from laser gum treatment? Here are four great reasons to opt for this type of care for your gums.

1. Eliminate harmful bacteria and avoid oral infections

Keeping you safe from oral infection is an important part of your oral health care. Oral infections pose extra health risks, as infection can enter your bloodstream and travel to infect internal organs like your heart.

Oral infection often starts with harmful bacteria in or around your gum tissue. Laser treatment targets harmful bacteria in your mouth, sterilizing the treatment area with heat energy. After undergoing laser treatment for your gums, your body gets a break from fighting off infections, which can be used to regenerate damaged gums.

2. No need for general anesthesia

Gum disease causes gum tissue to suffer from infection. Gum tissue can even start to die as the condition progresses. Traditional gum disease treatment used scalpels and other specialized tools to cut away damaged or dead tissue, allowing for healing and regrowth.

These techniques required general anesthesia and were more invasive than laser gum treatment. While laser gum therapy is still a form of surgery, you won’t need to undergo general anesthesia for this procedure.

3. Reduced recovery period

You should still plan on a period of recovery and aftercare following laser gum treatment. Your recovery time is much shorter than it would be after traditional surgical treatment. You experience less bleeding during laser therapy, and healing involves less swelling and discomfort.

You might feel like yourself the day after your treatment. Most patients have largely recovered after a few days of downtime. Recovery typically takes about a week to fully complete.

4. Effective periodontal disease treatment

You need healthy gums, with gum tissue securely holding your teeth in place. Laser gum therapy is a highly effective way to kickstart your gum disease treatment. Sterilizing your mouth and removing dead tissue lets healthy gum regrowth occur.

Gum disease is a leading risk factor for tooth loss. Your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates talks to you about any additional treatments, therapies, or approaches needed to keep you free of gum disease.

To learn more about laser treatment for your gums and other treatments and prevention strategies to address and avoid gum disease, contact the knowledgeable oral health experts at Albemarle Dental Associates. Schedule your appointment online or over the phone today.

How Long do Dental Fillings Last?

When your teeth start to break down from tooth decay, fillings provide an effective, long-lasting, and minimally invasive treatment option. There’s a reason why fillings are a go-to solution for minor to moderate tooth decay.

How long do dental fillings last? As with many dental questions, it depends on size, location, and the quality of your dental hygiene habits. At Albemarle Dental Associates of Charlottesville, Virginia, Dr. Jeffery Hodges and his team advise patients on how to get the most out of dental repairs.

Here’s why we rely on fillings for tooth repairs when we can, as well as our advice on helping your fillings last for as long as possible.

How fillings help with tooth health

Tooth decay causes a breakdown in the outer enamel layers of your teeth. The acids and bacteria in plaque create cavities, places where your tooth structure has broken down enough to form a physical hole. 

Without treatment, cavities get larger and can eventually damage the whole structure of your tooth. When this happens, you may need tooth extraction.

Fillings stop the decay process and restore tooth structure around a cavity. The goal is to maintain as much of your healthy tooth as possible. 

After using a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable while putting in your filling, your dentist at Albemarle Dental Associates uses specialized tools, such as a drill, laser, or air abrasion instrument, to remove all decay from your tooth. Then, it’s time to place the filling.

The material we use for dental fillings can initially be shaped to fill and replace damaged tooth structures. Under a special curing light, the material hardens and reaches its full strength. Before you leave our office, the team at Albemarle Dental Associates shapes your filling so that it looks and feels as much like your natural tooth as possible.

Keeping fillings in good shape

The question of how long you can expect fillings to last depends on factors like the size of the filling, the position of the filling in relation to your tooth, the degree of anticipated wear-and-tear, and the quality of the care you take with your teeth.

Fillings at the edges of your teeth may chip away under pressure. Chipped or slipped fillings can often be replaced, or that tooth may need a crown going forward.

Fillings can also be affected by ongoing tooth decay. If you develop areas of tooth decay beneath or around a filling, it can cause the filling to come loose or need to be replaced.

And it matters what you eat! Your fillings last longer if they’re not subjected to pressure from sticky or tough-to-chew foods like ice, toffee, or hard candy.

With the right care, as well as brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day to maintain good oral hygiene, your fillings can last for as long as 5-20 years. It’s not uncommon to get at least 10 years out of a filling before it needs to be replaced or alternate dental solutions need to be considered.

If you think you might need a filling or to have a filling replaced, or if you have questions or concerns about how to care for your fillings, get in touch with Dr. Hodges and the Albemarle Dental Associates team. Call or go online to schedule your appointment today.

What Happens if You Skip Professional Dental Cleanings?

How often do you go to the dentist? At Albemarle Dental Associates, Dr. Jeffery Hodges typically recommends that his patients come in for regularly scheduled professional dental cleanings twice a year, about every six months. 

Dr. Hodges and his team treat patients from in and around Charlottesville, Virginia, but this recommendation is standard around the United States. You need professional dental cleanings twice a year.

Why is it so important to keep your dental cleaning appointment and keep yourself from skipping appointments? Let’s review.

Regular deep-cleaning for your teeth

Keeping your teeth clean is key to keeping them healthy. Sugar, acids, and debris from food you eat can cause damage to your teeth if not cleaned away regularly from all surfaces, as well as the spaces between your teeth. You use at-home brushing and flossing multiple times daily to perform this dental maintenance.

The team at Albemarle Dental Associates has the tools and skills needed to really deep-clean your teeth, addressing plaque deposits and missed spots that you may need help to adequately manage with at-home dental hygiene alone. Getting your teeth fully cleaned by a professional at least twice a year fully resets your dental hygiene slate.

If you skip cleaning appointments, plaque build-ups can cause complications for your teeth and gums. Dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease may worsen over time without the right treatment. And, without regular cleanings, you might not even be aware of a problem until all the easy fixes are off the table.

While deep-cleaning benefits your long-term tooth and gum health, it’s not the only benefit of professional dental cleanings. How else do you benefit from sticking to a regular dental cleaning schedule?

Check-in on your dental health and habits

Your twice-yearly professional dental cleanings also create an important opportunity for checking up on your dental health and hygiene habits. During your dental cleaning appointment, your provider checks for any signs of developing dental health problems.

Dr. Hodges discusses any additional treatment you may need so you can schedule additional appointments. Catching oral health problems early often means less invasive and expensive treatment options. Skipping professional dental cleanings increases your risk of needing reconstructive procedures like root canals, crowns, or dental implants.

Your hygienist can also help you stay on track with your teeth-cleaning technique. If you’re regularly missing spots when you’re brushing or struggling with flossing regularly, your hygienist offers expert advice, tips, and tricks on improving the issue. 

And, you get to consult with oral care experts about whether you’re using the right tools for your at-home dental health care. You don’t want to let these problems worsen over time. Getting the right advice, care, and treatment on time saves you time, money, and discomfort down the road.

Establish a baseline of oral health

When you come into Albemarle Dental Associates for your regularly scheduled professional dental cleanings, we establish records of your dental and oral health. This helps us track your condition over time and keeps us aware of your dental and oral health care needs.

Gaps in your dental treatment are likely to increase complications for you. The team at Albemarle Dental Associates makes it easy for you to stay on track with your dental care, supporting you with scheduling regular professional dental cleanings and other appointments. Call now to book or request an appointment with our online scheduling tool.

5 Important Benefits of a Dental Crown

Tooth problems happen. Sometimes, a tooth chips or breaks under stress. Tooth decay can also cause lasting dental issues.

When you need dental restoration, talk with Dr. Jeffery Hodges and the team at Albemarle Dental Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia. We offer a full range of restorative dentistry services, including top-quality dental crowns.

How could getting a crown benefit you? Let’s review some key reasons why crowns remain such an important part of dental restoration.

1. Strengthen cracked or chipped teeth

When teeth chip or crack, it’s often not necessary to remove the whole tooth. Instead, your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates focuses on stabilizing and strengthening your damaged tooth. A crown offers a great way to do just that.

Dental crowns sit over the remaining parts of your natural tooth. Your crown completely covers your tooth, offering you a strong, stable surface to use for biting, chewing, speaking, and other oral functions.

2. Cover decayed teeth

You may also need a crown if you’re dealing with advanced tooth decay. When too much of your natural tooth structure decays, you need restorative dentistry to preserve your natural tooth and prevent tooth loss.

Your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates addresses dental decay by removing the affected area and drilling away damage. Then, a filling restores the shape of your tooth. If you need a large or complex filling, your dental repair often finishes with a dental crown, covering the filling and remaining tooth material for a stronger, longer-lasting fix.

3. Look natural and well-matched

Crowns don’t just work effectively; they also look great. Most of our crowns at Albemarle Dental Associates are made from porcelain, a material that looks and feels extremely similar to naturally occurring dental enamel. You can also have crowns made of resin crowns or even out of silver or gold.

Your provider custom designs your crown, ensuring it looks natural and matches your other teeth in shape and shade. You can even use crowns to aesthetically enhance unattractive teeth.

4. Long-lasting dental repair

With the right care and dental hygiene, crowns can last a long time, 10-15 years or more. You take care of your crown by brushing and flossing as usual. You can extend the life of your crowns by practicing good habits like not biting your nails, not chewing on ice, and watching out for hard or very sticky foods like candy or toffee.

5. Quick and effective treatment

It only takes two visits to get your crown permanently placed. Your first appointment involves closely examining the problem tooth, often including X-rays. Then, it’s time to prepare the tooth to receive a crown.

We numb the area, then reshape your tooth so the crown fits well. We also remove any tooth decay at this point. We take a mold of your teeth and use it to design your crown. You head home after the first appointment with a temporary crown.

After about a week, your permanent crown is ready for cementing. At another appointment, we numb your mouth again, then remove the temporary crown and secure your permanent crown in place, checking for bite and other fit issues.

To learn more about all the ways you could benefit from dental crowns, contact Albemarle Dental Associates today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment online, or call now to book.

Here’s How You Can Prevent a Dental Extraction

If an adult tooth becomes too badly damaged by decay or trauma, it may need dental extraction. While dental extraction may be life-saving when it’s needed, having lost or missing teeth isn’t a situation you want to find yourself in. Missing teeth leave a gap in your mouth that must then be addressed to prevent further complications.

It’s a better plan to protect and care for your adult teeth so that you don’t need to have damaged teeth extracted. At Albemarle Dental Associates of Charlottesville, North Carolina, our team of general, cosmetic, and reconstructive dentists are here to help you keep your adult teeth clean, healthy, and in place.

Under the leadership of Dr. Jeffery Hodges, our team of dentists provides treatment to new and existing patients. It’s never too late to improve your dental hygiene and the care you give to your teeth. After all, ensuring that your teeth can last your whole lifetime is in your best interests.

Preventing tooth loss with dental hygiene

Every day, your teeth are exposed to wear-and-tear. Taking regular steps to minimize this can save you from the expense, hassle, and stress of a dental extraction down the road.

Brushing and flossing

Sugars and acids in your food pose risks for tooth decay. Without the right hygiene, the outer layers of your dental enamel may be eaten away, allowing large cavities to form as a result of advanced tooth decay. Sufficiently decayed teeth often require dental extraction to address pain and infection risks.

You should brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once daily. Use small circular motions to clean the front, back, and biting surfaces of each of your teeth. 

Flossing helps to clear bacteria and debris from the hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth, and also stimulates your gums to prevent gum disease. Gum disease also increases your risk of tooth loss, so don’t ignore this part of your oral care.

Pressure protection

Wear-and-tear on your teeth can also occur because of harmful pressure. Some people abuse their teeth by biting down on ice, plastic, or even their own fingernails. You may also grind your teeth, either while awake or asleep. That increases your risk of tooth cracks and breaks.

Don’t use your teeth to open packaging, bite your nails, or chew on ice. If you’re concerned about nighttime tooth damage, your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates may recommend that you try using a mouth guard while you sleep.

With these strategies and techniques, you can keep your teeth healthy, preventing dental extractions and tooth loss from negatively affecting your oral and whole-body health.

Restorative dentistry to prevent dental extraction

The good news is if your teeth do start to suffer from decay or damage despite your best efforts, restorative dentistry procedures like fillings, dental crowns, and veneers can still save your natural teeth. That means you might need one or more dental procedures but aren’t yet looking at full dental extraction.

You have a higher chance of being able to avoid dental extractions if problems with your teeth are caught early. That means regular dental exams must also be part of your tooth loss prevention plan. At Albemarle Dental Associates, we typically recommend patients come in about every six months for a dental check-up and cleaning.

With the right care and dentistry support, you can maintain all your natural teeth for your lifetime. For more tips and tricks on dental extraction prevention and comprehensive dental care, contact Dr. Hodges and the team at Albemarle Dental Associates online or over the phone today and schedule your appointment.

Understanding the Stages of Dental Implants

Dental implants offer a great way to replace lost, missing, or damaged teeth with a solution that looks and feels like the real thing. Dr. Jeffery E. Hodges and the team of restorative dental care providers at Albemarle Dental Associates of Charlottesville, Virginia, recommend dental implants whenever their patients are good candidates.

You might have questions about getting dental implants put in place. In this blog, we review the stages of dental implants, helping you better understand how dental implants function and why they’re such an effective form of reconstructive dentistry.

The need to replace lost or missing teeth

If you lose a tooth to damage or tooth decay, don’t ignore the problem. Lost or missing teeth create ongoing, potentially serious oral and whole-body health complications.

A lost or missing tooth exposes the teeth around the new gap to more debris, which can become packed into the gap. Changes in pressure in your mouth can also cause neighboring teeth around a gap to shift out of alignment, creating additional complications.

Lost or missing teeth also have implications for your gums and jawbone.

Determining if you’re a candidate for dental implants

Dental implants need to be rooted into healthy jawbone. You could be a good candidate for dental implants if you:

  • Have one or more missing or badly damaged teeth
  • Have a healthy jawbone that can heal after surgery

To be ready for dental implants, you may need to quit smoking, as smoking cigarettes impedes your circulation and makes it harder for you to heal.

Your provider at Albemarle Dental Associates uses dental X-rays and a review of your health history to determine if dental implants are right for you. If needed, it may make sense for you to pursue grafts for your jawbone before moving forward with dental implants.

Implanting the post

The dental implant process starts with implanting the titanium post that forms the “root” of your new tooth prosthesis. Your provider performs surgical implantation while you rest comfortably. Numbing the area keeps you from feeling pain during your oral surgery.

Then, we send you home with postsurgical care instructions. It’s time to let your jawbone fully heal around the implant post over the course of several months.

Completing your dental implants

While you’re healing, we work on the visible parts of your dental implants. Your crown or bridge is based on an impression or scan of your unique mouth, so your artificial teeth will match your other teeth and fit your mouth comfortably.

Finally, it’s time to put all the parts of your implants together. When you come into the office, your provider positions connector posts on each of your implants and then connects the visible upper part of your implants.

The dental implant process may take as long as 6-8 months to fully complete. Once completed, your implants can last a lifetime and need the same type of hygiene and care as your natural teeth.

To learn more about dental implants and determine if you could be a good candidate for this process, contact Dr. Hodges and the implant dentistry experts at Albemarle Dental Associates today. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone.

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.