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

Smile Makeover: What you need to know

Couple on the beach smiling

At Shane McDowell, we know that your smile says it all, and we want you to be able to say it confidently! If your teeth are discolored, crooked, unevenly spaced, too long or short, or worn down, we’ve got solutions for a healthier looking smile today (Just in time for summer!):

Whitening Teeth can become stained for many reasons, from the beverages we drink to smoking or even just from aging. We use a variety of different teeth whitening methods, including Zoom to get your teeth their whitest and brightest! We also have available in-home whitening kits which are easy to use, and achieve great results in 4-6 weeks.

Veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells that are bonded to the front of your teeth. Veneers are customized to look like natural teeth, and can be used to fill spaces between teeth, or to cover teeth that are stained, poorly shapes or maybe even crooked. Veneers are a great alternative to braces, and can give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

Crowns, also known as caps, are used to restore broken or cracked teeth. We offer a new, metal-free crown that eliminates the unsightly black line you may have seen next to the gym line on older crowns. With newer porcelain covered crowns, these crowns are very natural looking.

Tooth Colored Filling We have all experienced a time when we received a filling, and embarrassingly enough, you could see the silver filling in your mouth. These new tooth-colored restorations look completely natural and typically require that far less of the tooth be removed.

Invisalign New techniques in orthodontia can sometimes align your teeth in as little as ten months! Invasalign is designed to transform your smile without wires, comfortably and less noticeably than traditional braces. Dr. McDowell has advanced training and participates in many hours of post graduating study pertaining to orthodontics and invisible braces, so if you have any questions, please be sure to contact our office.

Bridges A bridge is a dental restoration, also known as a fixed partial denture that is used to replace a missing tooth by joining it permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants. The great part about bridges is that it can reduce your risk of gum disease, and can help correct some bite issues, and perhaps even improve your speech and appearance.

Getting a smile makeover is a lot to decide, and can sometimes be overwhelming.We know that you deserve the smile that you have always dreamed of! Call us today at 239-936-0597 for a consultation, or email us at, and we will help find the right solutions for you!

Invisalign vs regular braces

Did you know that your smile is the first thing people notice about you? Without proper teeth care and taking care of those pearly whites, you can never achieve a great smile. For people who want whiter teeth, teeth whitening applications are available. For people who would like straighter teeth, braces are the option. At first thought, the word braces scares some people. Many of my patients automatically think of big metal brackets. The good news? Invisalign. 

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment which uses clear, removable teeth aligners instead of traditional metal braces. Invisalign is completely “invisible”, which makes it harder to see than traditional wire and braces. Invisalign is very popular among adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth without the look of traditional metal braces. 

Regular metal braces are far more complicated than Invisalign. With regular braces, you have to deal with brackets and wires, and wires are known to poke and irritate the mouth. Regular metal braces also require a great deal of work. You have many food restrictions, and it is complicated to floss and brush with brackets and wires. 

With Invisalign, you’re aligners are basically invisible. They are smooth and comfortable, and you can remove them whenever needed. This makes eating, flossing, and brushing your teeth much simpler. 

Dr. McDowell has participated in many hours of post graduate study pertaining to orthodontics and invisible braces. With new techniques some orthodontic cases can be completed in as little as 10 months. Thanks to CAD CAM technology, Invisalign is able to transform smiles in months without wires. Some orthodontic cases will need traditional braces, but with modern technology even traditional braces are less noticeable and more comfortable than ever. 

If you have any questions or concerns about Invisalign or any other general dentistry questions, Dr. Shane McDowell and his staff are here for your every need. We invite you to call our personable staff today at 239-936-0597 or visit our website to make an appointment.

Better than braces: Check out Invisalign

invisalignRemovableIf you have protruding teeth, gaps, crooked teeth, an overbite or underbite, there are some great treatment options available today to help you get the results you are looking for.

Invisalign takes a modern approach to straightening your teeth, and is an option for teens as well as adults.

Here’s how it works:

A series of aligners are custom made to fit over your teeth.

Practically invisible, the clear plastic aligners are smooth and comfortable.

They work by very gradually and gently shift your teeth into place.

There are no metal brackets and no wires to tighten. And without braces, it’s easier to maintain oral hygiene.

The aligners may be taken out temporarily for hygiene purposes, for special events or other purposes.

Not only can Invisalign help you improve the appearance of your teeth and smile, but fixing common dental problems may also have positive health benefits as well.

If you have questions about Invisalign or other dental needs, visit our website at or call 239-936-0597.