Think before you drink: the truth about tooth enamel

shutterstock_174404741Diet soda may be helping you cut calories, but it’s actually harming your teeth. Drinking any kind of soft drink can cause enamel erosion or tooth decay. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the inherent acids and sugars in soft drinks have both acidogenic and cariogenic potential, resulting in tooth decay and enamel erosion if a person drinks it often.

What is enamel, and what happens when it is eroded?

Tooth enamel is one of the four major tissues that make up the tooth in the human mouth. It is the visible part of your tooth above the gum, which is why it’s more susceptible to erosion, because it is constantly exposed. Tooth enamel is found to be the hardest substance in the body, but it can dissolve or decay when exposed to acid and a buildup or bacteria. Tooth enamel is important because it protects your teeth from damage. It also protects the nerve in your teeth. That’s why people with sensitive teeth have proved to have less enamel, which allows more liquids to come in closer contact with nerves, causing pain.

Other ways tooth enamel can be damaged is from fruit drinks, dry mouth, a diet high in sugar and starches, acid reflux disease, gastrointestinal problems, medications such as aspirin and antihistamines, stress or that it simply runs in your family.

How is enamel loss treated?

This can be a case-by-case basis. If there is a cavity, we will fill it with white colored filling so it isn’t cosmetically noticeable. We may recommend tooth bonding to protect the tooth and increase cosmetic appearance. If enamel loss is significant, we may cover the tooth with a crown to protect the tooth from further decay.

What symptoms might I experience if my enamel has eroded?

If your enamel has eroded or begun to erode, you may experience some pain when eating cold or hot foods. In advanced cases, you may experience pain or throbbing when eating in general. As enamel erodes, your teeth may appear yellow or discolored. Enamel contributes to the teeth’s white appearance, so if it is weakened to expose dentin, teeth can change color. Teeth may appear more round in shape, or unusually shiny. In severe cases, the edges of teeth can become rough, irregular, and jagged, causing cracks and chips.

If you continue to drink soft drinks on a regular basis, remember to:

  • Limit consumption of soda just specifically to meal time. This way, the sugar doesn’t sit on your teeth.
  • Try not to drink soda consistently throughout the day; especially citrus flavored soda, as these type of soft drinks have higher levels of acid than regular soft drinks.
  • Rinse your mouth out afterwards, and brush after 30 minutes.
  • Chew sugar-free gum. This will help clean out the mouth to avoid sugar sitting on the teeth and causing erosion.
  • Drink through a straw to avoid liquid contact on your teeth.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. Small amounts of fluoride can strengthen teeth and help prevent enamel erosion and tooth decay.
  • Schedule a cleaning every 6 months.

Our caring team provides Southwest Florida patients with the highest quality dental care, from cosmetic and general dentistry services to implants. If you have concerns related to your dental health, schedule an appointment with us today at 239-936-0597.

Dental Tips for Diabetes Patients

Did you know 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects your body’s ability to process sugar. High blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, people who have diabetes can be at a special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, gum and teeth infections. Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and tooth loss. People with diabetes are also more susceptible to dry mouth, a dental condition that can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and tooth decay.

Keeping your glucose under control is key to maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing issues. In addition, daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups are the best defense against oral complications of diabetes.

But why do people with diabetes have to be extra conscientious about dental hygiene?
Because of high blood glucose, people with diabetes are more likely to have problems with teeth and gums. According to the American Diabetes Association, if your blood glucose level is poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease and lose more teeth than non-diabetics. Patients with diabetes should be observant with their tooth and gum health, monitoring any issues that can include blood when brushing and flossing, dryness, soreness, white patches, or bad taste in the mouth. Another oral problem associated with diabetes include thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth. All of these issues would be a reason to come see us.

It’s also important that patients with diabetes do not smoke or chew tobacco—doing so can increase your chances of getting gum disease or other dental issues listed above. Besides brushing, flossing each day is also essential to healthy teeth and gums. It is a great method to removing plaque, which can cause tooth decay and in some cases, attribute to heart disease.

What is gum disease?shutterstock_28627237
Gum disease afflicts 30 million Americans who have diabetes. It is the inflammation of the soft tissue and abnormal loss of bone that surrounds the teeth and holds them in place, caused by toxins secreted by the bacteria in plaque that can accumulate along the gum line over time. Plaque is a mixture of food, saliva and bacteria. Early symptoms include gum bleeding without pain. If you experience pain, this is a symptom of an advanced type of gum disease called periodontitis, which includes loss of bone around the teeth that lead to gum pockets, causing infection, swelling, pain, and further bone destruction.

Fungal Infections Associated with Diabetes
Diabetes compromises your immune system, causing you to be more prone to fungal infections. Symptoms include painful sores and difficulty swallowing.

Dental patients with diabetes need specialized care, so be sure to mention your condition to us when we complete your dental examination. If you are having extensive oral surgery, we may prescribe antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection. For patients with diabetes, healing may take a while longer. It’s important before and after the dental surgery to keep your blood glucose levels under control in order to prevent further issues.

We may recommend frequent dental appointments that include teeth cleaning and overall evaluation to help you maintain optimum oral health with your diabetes. Call us to schedule an appointment today at (239) 936-0597!

The Best Times to Brush Your Teeth

shutterstock_136173053Brushing your teeth is an essential part of keeping your mouth healthy and infection free. But when is the best time to brush your teeth? First, let’s go over the basics.

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day. When you do this, it helps remove food and plaque- a film that forms over your teeth and contains bacteria. After you eat a meal that contains sugar, bacteria sitting on your teeth can release acids that attack tooth enamel. If this happens repeatedly, tooth enamel decays and can lead to cavities. Plaque that isn’t removed can turn into tartar, making it hard for people to clean.

A toothbrush should be changed every three or four months, when the bristles look frayed, or after you’ve been sick. In addition to changing your toothbrush often, you should floss daily and schedule regular check-ups to maintain optimum dental health.

Those who are extra adamant about dental health may find themselves brushing immediately after each meal or after snacks. But is this the best thing for your teeth?

Research shows that brushing teeth too soon after meals and drinks, especially after those which are acidic can do more harm than good. Those with acid reflux can experience a similar problem: while it may seem like a good idea to brush after experiencing acid reflux, doing so can damage your teeth.

But how? Acid attacks the teeth, erodes enamel and dentin below it. According to Dr. Howard R. Gamble from the Academy of General Dentistry, brushing can accelerate the acid in enamel erosion. If you brush too soon, you could actually end up pushing the acid deeper into the enamel and dentin, causing extra erosion.

In one study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology, a group of volunteers were examined for the impact of brushing teeth immediately after they drank diet soda. After 21 days, Scientists found an increase in dentin loss when brushing 20 minutes after drinking soda. When examining subjects who brushed their teeth 30 to 60 minutes after the diet soda, there was considerably less wear and tear

The studies’ conclusion is that people should wait at least 30 minutes to brush their teeth after a meal, snack, or beverage in order to protect teeth. If you still feel like you need to do something right away, try rinsing your mouth out with water, or use an acid-neutralizing formula: one part baking soda, eight parts water.

It’s also important that you schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings so we can help you maintain your healthy smile! If it’s been less than six months since you’ve had a check-up, it’s time to come see us! Contact us today at (239) 936-0597 or


Dental Care for Halloween

Dental Care for Halloweenshutterstock_58731319

Happy Halloween from the office of Shane McDowell, DMD! We all know that even as adults, it challenging not to resist joining our kids in celebrating Halloween by eating some candy. Unfortunately, some candies out there are worse than others for your teeth and can cause tooth decay. We wouldn’t dare ask you to give up celebrating Halloween with your family! So here are some tips to keep your teeth healthy this Halloween:

Sugarless Gum

After digging into your candy smorgasbord, try chewing on some sugar-free gum. Studies show that chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse off and neutralize the acids released by bacteria in plaque, which are harmful to tooth enamel. Chewing also increases the rate of saliva produces, which helps naturally wash away food particles and sugars that can cause tooth decay, and in turn, cavities.

Compromise: Replace Sugary Drinks with Water

If you’re enjoying candy for Halloween, try nixing the sugary drinks like cola, sweet tea, etc. In place of these colas or soft drinks, try drinking water after you indulge. We think it’s a pretty fair trade.

The Best/Worst Candies to Indulge In

The worst candies you could eat include hard candies that linger in your mouth and coat your teeth with sugar, caramel, and gummies, which cling to your teeth after you eat them, causing enamel to decay if left on teeth for too long.

If you’re going to eat candy, we’d recommend these top tooth-friendly candies:

  • Sugar-free lollipops: these suckers actually help produce saliva, which flushes bacteria away from teeth, tongue and gums.
  • Chocolate: we’re pretty sure that it’s every adult’s dream to hear that eating chocolate is good for your teeth. While it’s still sugar, the great thing about it is it melts quickly and generally doesn’t stick to your teeth. However, avoid chocolates with caramel and sticky fillings, which can cause tooth decay. If you’re really feeling well behaved, try dark chocolate, which can be good for your heart!
  • Peanut Butter Cups: just like chocolate, these treats disappear fast while eating.
  • Powdery Candy: candy like Fun Dip is easy to eat because the sugar dissolves quickly and increases saliva production, which can help clean the sugar off of your teeth.

Eat Candy Close to a Meal

According to the American Dental Association, eating candy closer to mealtime can help cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. This works because when you eat a meal, your mouth naturally produces more saliva to help breakdown foods. Eating candy close to this time will help wash away sugar and food particles from between your teeth.

Caring for your teeth after Halloween Celebrations

How do you get those pesky pieces of gummies and caramel out of your teeth? Use a soft bristled brush with warm water and an ADA approved toothpaste. (Find some great ones here) Be sure to brush for at least two minutes – longer is always better after you’ve indulged in a sugary treat. Then floss and use a fluoride rinse to get bacteria and particles that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Additionally, it’s best to schedule a check-up after Halloween so we stop any tooth decay in tracks, before it becomes a cavity. Contact our office today at (239) 936-0597.

Dental Concerns for People Over 50

As we age, our bodies change in addition to the way we look. Our hair can turn gray, and we might even develop a few wrinkles with our wisdom. According to the American Dental Association, the average number of people keeping their natural teeth into older age is increasing. However, there are still certain concerns and steps you can take to pay special attention to your teeth as you age.


Even as you age, you are still susceptible to cavities. Cavities can show up on the surfaces of teeth that have never been a problem before, or you can get them around old fillings or the root of your tooth. The American Dental Association states that as you age, the root of your tooth becomes softer, and can be more vulnerable to decay and bacteria.

What should you do?  If you are part of the near 80% of Americans who drink water with fluoride in it, this is good enough in addition to brushing and flossing the recommended times per day, and having a dental exam every six months. If not, add a daily fluoride rinse to your daily dental care routine.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can actually be a cause of cavities in older adults. With this uncomfortable condition as a side effect of over 500 medications, it can be hard to escape. Make an appointment for a consultation, and we will help by making some recommendations for you, which may include:

  • Drinking water more frequently
  • Chewing sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production
  • Using a humidifier at home to add more moisture to the air
  • Avoid foods and beverages that
  • User over-the-counter oral moisturizers

If none of these work, perhaps you may need to consult your physician on other medication options

Gum Disease

Gum or Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque, which can irritate and inflame gums. Symptoms of gum disease include swelling, red or bleeding gums. Often, signs go unnoticed until gum disease is in an advanced stage, which if left untreated, gums can pull away from teeth and create spaces called pockets where food particles and plaque may collect. This can destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth and can lead to gum loss.

To prevent gum disease, it’s an easy fix to see the dentist regularly, brush twice or more daily, and floss once per day. If you notice any signs of gum disease, please contact out office here to schedule a consultation.

shutterstock_191999723Tooth Crowding

As we age, our teeth shift. This can cause you not only to look different, but it can make your teeth more challenging to keep clean, and can lead to more decay.  In addition, misaligned teeth can lead to teeth erosion and damage to supporting tissue and bone.

It’s best to have a consultation to evaluate the teeth crowding so we can discuss options to adjust the issue. Our office staff has advanced training in orthodontics and invisible braces such as invisalign. In some cases, it can take as little as 10 months for you to obtain realigned teeth from invisalign! Invisalign is invisible braces that are less noticeable, more comfortable, that gradually moves your teeth through a series of custom made, removable aligners.

Mouth Cancer

According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancers this year, and more than 8,000 will die from it. As you grow older, your chances of getting mouth cancer increases. Some people develop mouth cancer for no apparent reason, but some known causes include smoking, alcohol, chewing tobacco or betal leaf, or human papillomavirus.

The sad truth about mouth cancer is that only about half of people who develop it survive. In order to prevent or detect oral cancer, it is best to have a dental check-up every six months. During your dental exam, we will check your tongue and soft tissue in your mouth, throat and jaw for signs.

We will be able to have an indication of mouth cancer if you experience one or more of the following:

  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Lump on the lip, tongue, mouth or throat
  • Pain when chewing or swallowing
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • A change in your voice or speech problems
  • Unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • Lump in the neck
  • Loose teeth

For questions about how your dental hygiene routine can change to prevent or treat these conditions, contact our office today or call (239) 936-0597

10 Dental Myths Debunked

With so much information out there about dental health, it can be hard to distinguish what information is accurate. Today, our team at Shane McDowell, DMD is debunking common dental myths to help you with your dental hygiene routine.

Myth: Brushing alone is sufficient enough to keep teeth clean
While brushing is a very important aspect of keeping teeth clean and healthy, you also need to floss, which removes food debris and bacteria from between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Myth: Hard and soft bristled toothbrushes are the same
Soft-bristled toothbrushes are actually a little better for your teeth, as they get teeth and gums clean but without any damage. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can cause damage to gums, causing them to shrink away and wear away tooth enamel.

Myth: If your gums bleed, it’s best not to brush your teeth
Bleeding gums is a sign of gingivitis or unhealthy gums. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, which if left untreated can lead to Periodontitis, inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth. If you have bleeding gums, you should have a dental consult as soon as possible. Until then, continue to brush, but make sure you do so gently with a soft-bristled brush.

Myth: The only cause of bad breath is not taking care of your teeth
There are multiple reasons why someone may have bad breath. Smoking and eating certain food types can affect breath. In addition, dental infections including gum disease or an abscessed tooth can cause bad breath. If you are experiencing bad breath, see a dentist for a consultation.

Myth: Bleaching weakens teeth
Whitening teeth only affects the color of the teeth, not the health or strength. Bleaching works by removing some of the teeth’s pigmentation. Temporary side effects of bleaching can include tooth sensitivity and irritated gums – but it does not result in weaker teeth.

Myth: Only sugar from sweets and desserts are bad for your teeth
Depending on your dental hygiene habits, sugar from any kind of food can affect the health of your teeth. Many foods have sugar in them, not just candy. Both natural and processed sugars can cause tooth decay if they stay on teeth. It’s best to brush at least 2x per day and floss daily to prevent sugar from causing decay or infection. Even rinsing your teeth with water after you’ve eaten a lot of sugar can help prevent dental issues.

shutterstock_188637977Myth: Tooth sensitivity means you have tooth decay
Cavities can cause sensitivity in teeth, but it’s not the sole reason why you may be experiencing sensitivity. Sensitivity can be a symptom of teeth grinding, gum disease, excessive plaque, and cracked teeth. If you have sensitivity after a dental procedure, that is common and will go away after a short time.

Myth: Gaps in teeth lead to cavities
Actually, the bigger the gap, the easier it is to properly clean. So as long as you keep up with your dental hygiene routine and keep bacteria out of the spaces, they will actually be less prone to decay.

Myth: You should avoid the dentist when pregnant
It’s important that women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant visit their dentist’s office for a check-up to ensure that teeth and gums are healthy. It is best to make sure there is no dental procedure needed early on as a preventative measure. For more information about dental health before or during your pregnancy, click here.

Myth: Teeth-whitening treatments take too long
We offer a few different options for whitening procedures, and based on your personal needs we will advise which we think is a good fit for you. Teeth-whitening treatments come in a variety of options, but at Shane McDowell Dentistry, we offer Zoom Whitening, which is an in-office treatment that will make your teeth whiter in just over an hour. How it works is the Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp accelerates the whitening process with a hydrogen peroxide solution. Our at-home whitening kits will produce similar results in about 4-6 weeks.

Our practice provides a full array of dental care services including general dentistry, implants, and cosmetic dentistry. For questions about our dental services, contact our office at (239) 936-0597 or request an appointment.

Dental Care 101 for Sparkling Teeth

Our smiles are very public. We smile at strangers, at our friends, coworkers and loved ones. For those of you dedicated to keeping our pearly whites bright, we’re sharing our secrets to keeping your teeth strong and sparkling white!

Brush 2x per day
Studies show that on average, people spend about 1 minute brushing their teeth, which only removes about 60% of plaque. It is recommended to brush twice per day for two minutes to prevent gum disease, infection, and to keep your teeth nice and white!

Use a good toothbrush and toothpaste
All toothbrushes are not equal. Choose a scientifically designed toothbrush that will help you reach all corners of your mouth and a toothpaste that has fluoride in it. If you’re shopping for a new toothbrush, look for the ADA Accepted Seal of Approval, or visit their website to peruse your options. For the best whitening toothpastes, choose Colgate, Crest or Tom’s brands. Click here to see all of the ADA Accepted whitening toothpastes.

Eat a healthy diet
If you can avoid certain acidic foods that may damage your teeth, why not try to eat foods that can strengthen the health of your teeth? A study done by the Dental Investigations Society says that cheese and dairy items can help strengthen teeth because they are high in calcium and low in acid. Cheese also contains a protein called casein, which can stop bacteria from attaching to teeth. This means that dairy products can actually help prevent cavities!

High-fiber fruits and veggies like apples and broccoli can be great for teeth. Since they require some effort to chew and break down, this results in extra saliva production which helps neutralize harmful acids in the mouth.  As you chew on these foods, it cleans your teeth with their fibrous pieces acting as natural scrubbers, getting rid of bacteria as you chew. Another study done by the Dental Investigations Society shows that the iron in broccoli acts as a natural acid barrier over teeth, preventing acid from decaying teeth.

Change your toothbrush
You should change your toothbrush every 3-4 months, when it shows wear, or when you feel better after being sick. In-between, be sure to give it a good rinse using  hot water and store it upright in a rack or a cup (this can help prevent mold).

Floss every day
Flossing daily is extremely important to maintain dental hygiene and white teeth. This removes plaque that is harmful to your teeth, and believe it or not, your heart. Click here to find ADA approved floss.

Nix the aerated drinks
Colas and energy drinks cause stains to your teeth. To keep your teeth their whitest and brightest, try not to drink them. If you do, try using a straw to minimize the stains.

Avoid tobacco
The nicotine will deteriorate teeth and will cause tooth decay and bad breath.

Whitening treatments
Zoom: Zoom is an in-office teeth whitening treatment that will lighten the discoloration of enamel and dentin. Discoloration may be the result of smoking or drinking coffee, tea, cola, and red wine. This whitening procedure uses the Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp to accelerate the whitening process, activating accelerated hydrogen peroxide whitening. It will make your teeth their whitest in just over an hour!

In-home Whitening Kits: Another option is our in-home whitening kits, which are easy to use and will produce great results in about 4-6 weeks.

With each of these treatments, it’s important that you schedule a consultation first so we are able to discuss your options further.


The benefit of cosmetic dentistry is a greater confidence and a new outlook on life! Contact our office today at (239) 936-0597 for a consultation if your teeth aren’t at their brightest. We can’t wait to see you!

How To: Stop Grinding Your Teeth

shutterstock_198052919Everyone learns how to handle stress in their own way. If you tense your jaw muscles in response to stress or anxiety, that’s known as bruxism, a condition where a person grinds or clenches teeth unconsciously. Sleep bruxism is the most common version, but some may also clench during the day.

How do I know if I have bruxism?Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. If you are grinding your teeth, you may experience symptoms of a dull, constant headache, sore jaw, tooth sensitivity, inflammation of the gums, flattened or chipped teeth, and/or cuts inside the mouth from biting. Bruxism can also cause damage to your teeth, restorations, crowns, or jaw which can lead to a TMJ disorder.

When should I see a dentist?

If you suspect you have been grinding your teeth, schedule a visit with us. We will be able to examine your mouth and look for signs of bruxism, like jaw tenderness or worn-down teeth.  It is time to see a doctor if:

  • You have locked jaw or are uncomfortable chewing
  • You have pain in your jaw, face or ear
  • Your teeth are damaged, worn or sensitive

It’s important to see a dentist if you are suffering from these symptoms so we may diagnose any dental disorders, ear disorders or infection, TMJ, TMD, or a medication side-effect.

How do I stop grinding my teeth?

If you are grinding your teeth, it’s important to take measures on your own to help yourself get out of the habit.

  1.  Reduce your stress. We know this easier said than done. But stress is one of the major causes of teeth grinding. Try fitting things into your life that will relax you—a great workout, some yoga, or a bike ride. Take time to see your friends and family, and set aside time just for you every single day.
  2.  Make sure you’ll feel great. Eating a well-balanced diet can also help you have more energy, resulting in less stress. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule where you go to bed at the same time every night will prevent you from feeling over-tired, therefore lowering your stress level.
  3. Eliminate caffeine. We all love our coffee and soft drinks, but the caffeine is a stimulant which will make it challenging for you to relax your mind, and in turn, the muscles of your jaw. If you need coffee, try decaf.
  4. Remove alcohol from your diet. Because alcoholic beverages are a depressant, they can hinder healthy sleep patterns. Studies show that grinding behavior actually gets worse with alcohol consumption.
  5. Be careful about what you chew on a regular basis. Chewing on pens, pencils, or ice can actually hurt your jaw event more.
  6. Train yourself. Practice relaxing your jaw during the day by either lightly tapping your front teeth or placing the tip of your tongue between your teeth. Try to stay aware during your day of if you are clenching, and as your jaw begins to tense, do these things to prevent it from getting worse.
  7. Take in more calcium and magnesium. Both of these supplements are necessary for muscle function and nervous system health. If you don’t have enough, problems with clenching, tension and other muscle problems can occur. Do this on an ongoing basis, as this will not produce an instant result.
  8. Take time to relax yourself before bed. Everyone has different ways of relaxing, so find something that works for you. For some, relaxing music, a hot shower, and reading in bed is a relaxing low-stress nightly routine. Turn off the television, computer, and any bright lights at least an hour before bed. Massage your jaw muscles before you fall asleep so they remain relaxed for the night.

We can help.

If taking these measures don’t work, we can help! Chronic teeth grinding can result in fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. Grinding of teeth consistently could lead to the need for bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, or dentures, so if you believe you have bruxism, please contact us for an evaluation today.  Depending on how severe your bruxism is, we may need to prescribe muscle relaxants which help to loosen the jaw and prevent teeth grinding.

Having crowns or onlays put onto your teeth can help reshape the surface of your teeth to repair your bite, which will help to prevent teeth grinding. We may also recommend different types of mouth guards or splints based on your needs.

  • Mouth guards can be custom-fit or purchased over the counter, and could help if the patient wears them at night.
  • Self-adjustable mouth guards are also an affordable alternative, which can easily be molded in hot water and adjusted to your bite.
  • Dental splints are harder and will fit over either your upper or lower teeth. Wearing these at night can help protect your teeth from the damage of bruxism.

In some cases bruxism can affect how your teeth look. If your teeth have been shortened or made uneven by teeth-grinding, we can restore your look with natural looking crowns or veneers. To learn more about our cosmetic dentistry options, visit or call us at 239-936-0597.

Smile more! It’s good for you.

shutterstock_199870865Your smile reveals a lot about you. At Shane McDowell, DMD, we believe that smiling is one of the most powerful gifts we are given, and that is why we have made it our life’s work to help people take care of them. We are lucky to be able to smile at our neighbors, friends, and colleagues to demonstrate how happy we are to be in their company. But did you know smiling has more benefits than just making other people happy?

According to a myriad of studies done by top universities, the benefits of smiling and laughter have been found to lower your hormone causing stressors, as well as have the following positive health effects:

Boost your immune system, preventing the flu and other illnesses. Smiling and laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. If that’s not a reason to smile, we aren’t sure what is.
Lower your blood pressure. Smiling can improve the function of blood vessels, increasing blood flow. This can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular issues.
It’s a natural pain killer. Smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. What’s better than being happy already? Becoming more naturally happy as you smile! Smiling relaxes the whole body, reducing physical tension and stress, allowing you to feel happier.
You’ll be more productive. Studies show that smiling has been known to increase productivity in work and at school. So while you’re working away, be sure to smile.
You’ll look younger! Showing off those pearly whites on a regular basis can naturally lift the face. Studies show that it can make people look up to 3 years younger.
It can help you build a great persona. Are you a leader or climbing the ladder in your community? It’s a commonly known social fact that successful people smile. Why wouldn’t they? They’re out in the world achieving their dreams. Working hard and smiling your way to success is a great way to build your career.

If you are missing out on all of these amazing opportunities to smile because you aren’t comfortable with the look of your teeth, let us help! At Shane McDowell, DMD, we offer quality cosmetic and restorative dentistry that can create a brighter smile and a new you!

Some important things to always remember is to be consistent with your dental care routine. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss once per day, visiting us for a dental cleaning and check-up every 6 months. If you are still unhappy with the quality of your smile, we offer services that can provide you with greater confidence and a new outlook on life, including:

• Invisalign
• Crowns
• Tooth Colored Fillings
• Bridges
• Veneers
• Teeth Whitening
• Complete Smile Makeover

Live your life to the fullest, which includes that beautiful smile! Call us to request a consultation today, at (239) 936-0597 or contact us here. 

Smoking is bad for your teeth, too!

Girl breaking cigAccording to The Center of Disease Control, more than 16 million Americans suffer from a disease caused by smoking and another half suffer from gum disease. This equates to 64.7 million American adults, which is quite alarming!

When taking into account how smoking affects the body, most people may not consider how it can directly affect their mouth. As a cigarettes’ entry way, the mouth is more susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease, loss of bone structure, inflammation of the salivary gland, Leukoplakia (precancerous condition) and development of lung, throat or oral cancer. With more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, it’s not surprising that smoking can cause premature aging and serious conditions.

What is Periodontis?

Periodontis is inflammation of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth caused by certain bacteria and local inflammation that is triggered by periodontal bacteria. This condition is common in smokers. The main symptom of gum disease is visible inflammation of the gums called gingivitis and bleeding from the gums when brushing teeth.

Smoking Can Age you!

Studies show that smoking regularly can cause loss of bone structure and an aging appearance. Smokers are twice as likely to lose teeth as nonsmokers, which may cause a need for dental implants or dentures to help fill out facial features.

Not only can smoking cause these serious conditions, it can also result in built-up plaque and tartar, stained yellow or brown teeth, bad breath, and the loss of taste and smell. Patients who smoke are also likely to heal slowly after dental work, and have a lower success rate of dental implants.

At Shane McDowell, we truly care about our patients overall health. We recommend taking this course of action to eventually abstain from smoking to help avoid serious conditions.

  • Schedule an exam with your doctor so they can help identify the right smoking cessation program
  • Schedule an appointment with us so we may evaluate your dental health and advise on any issues or treatment solutions
  • Inquire with your doctor about counseling service, nicotine patch or gum, or prescription medications that may help ease the need to smoke
  • Schedule regular professional dental cleanings and checkups
  • Initiate a stress reduction program such as an exercise regimen, Pilates, or yoga class

In order to protect your overall health and your dental health, our recommendation is to stop smoking, If you wish to continue to smoke, be sure to inform us of your habits so we may screen for periodontal disease and other smoking related issues.

At Shane McDowell, we take our patients health and happiness seriously.  If you are still unhappy with the look of your teeth, we can help! Our quality cosmetic and restorative dentistry procedures can help you have the smile you deserve.

Contact us today for a consultation at (239) 936-0597 or at