No More Metal Fillings!

Metal CavityA few decades ago, dental cavities were filled with a mixture of different metals. Today, dentists are using more tooth-like materials that are safe and predictable to help create a natural and unnoticeable looking filling! Because the tooth filling is made up of resins and porcelains that mimic your natural tooth, the material is less susceptible to breaking. So while it’s best that you maintain a healthy mouth to avoid cavities, it no longer means obvious fillings.

About Your Teeth

One of the hardest natural materials for humans to produce consistently is enamel—that’s why it’s so important that you take care of your teeth to avoid enamel erosion. Tooth enamel is the hard substance found in the shell of each of your teeth that is visible when you look in your mouth. Below the enamel is dentin, a living material that is extremely sensitive. If your tooth has eroded, you may experience sensitivity that could indicate your need for a filling.

With dental porcelain fillings, our team can easily imitate the enamel of the tooth, eliminating a visible filling. If your enamel has eroded further into the dentin, we will use dental composite resins to fill in the part of the tooth where the natural dentin should be.

Why This Material Is Better

Metal fillings can cause further damage to teeth, not repairing the erosion or infection. We have access to tooth-colored fillings that mimic the same materials that your teeth are made of, therefore looking more natural and lasting longer than metal fillings. Using this new type of filling even requires that less of the tooth be removed in the process and possibly less pain during the procedure, which means you get to keep more of your natural smile!  To seal your teeth, we use a dentin resin coasting to seal and protect the surface of your tooth from bacteria and sensitivity.

The Process

If you feel you may have a cavity, make an appointment with our office right away. A technician will take X-rays of your mouth, then examine the X-rays, your teeth and gums to diagnose any issues. Based on our evaluation, we will provide you with a treatment recommendation.

If you just so happen to need a filling, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Once we identify the infected tooth, we clean the area thoroughly and remove debris. We then apply the filling solution into the missing area to provide more support to the tooth. A special light is held over the bonding material to harden the solution and bind it to the tooth.

The filling material can be shaped to match the contours of your natural tooth so that the relationship between the upper and lower teeth is preserved.

In some cases after a filling, you may experience intermittent pain. For the few days after you receive your fillings, it may be smart to avoid extremely hot or cold food or drink, as this may cause sensitivity.

Already have a metal filling? We can replace it with a more visibly natural and durable filling!  This is an easy way for us to improve your smile with a minimum amount of work.

Pefect TeethHow to prevent cavities

Some indicators that you may have a cavity can include a toothache, tooth sensitivity, mild or sharp pain when eating or drinking, visible holes or pits in your teeth, brown, black, or white stain on the surface of a tooth, and pain when you are biting down.

The easiest way to avoid cavities is by brushing your teeth at least twice daily, and flossing at least once a day. Flossing can help remove plaque and food debris that can breed with bacteria and cause erosion. You should brush with a soft bristled brush for at least two minutes per brushing. Using a mouthwash and toothpaste that contains fluoride will help protect your teeth- it is a compound that can help reverse the progress of early cavities and sometimes prevent the need for corrective treatment. Mouth rinses will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, reducing your chance of infection.

If you are having any of the following symptoms, or would like to replace your metal filling with a more natural and durable filling, contact our office today! Our professional and experienced team looks forward to serving you.



ADA Seal of Approval: What it means and why it’s important

Teeth with toothbrush

With all of the different dental care products on the store shelves, we know that it can be difficult to decide on what is the best for you and your family. Luckily, the ADA Seal of Approval can make it easier for you!

What is the ADA? The American Dental Association is the nation’s largest dental association that represents more than 157,000 dentist members. They are the leading source of oral health related information for dentals and patients. For more than 125 years, the ADA has focused on their mission for improved oral health by promoting the safety and effectiveness of dental products.

ADA Seal of Acceptance

The ADA seal of approval certifies over 300 oral care products, including toothpastes, dental floss, toothbrushes, mouth rinses, denture adherents and chewing gum. As customers, this seal represents a symbol of safety and effectiveness.

The ADA has stringent requirements that the products must meet in order to receive an ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Seal is never sold, and is designed to help customers know that the claims made on the label of the products are truthful.

How does the ADA determine if a product qualities for the ADA Seal?

• Submit ingredient lists
• Conduct clinical trials within the ADA’s strict guidelines and procedures
• Supply objective data from studies that support the products safety, effectiveness, and promotional claims
• Provide evidence that manufacturing and laboratory facilities are adequate
• Submit product packaging for review

Not all dental products qualify for the seal of approval. Companies that seek the ADA Seal of Approval must:
• Submit ingredient lists
• Conduct clinical trials within the ADA’s strict guidelines and procedures
• Supply objective data from studies that support the products safety, effectiveness, and promotional claims
• Provide evidence that manufacturing and laboratory facilities are adequate
• Submit product packaging for review

The ADA seal is awarded for a five-year period. Companies must reapply to continue using the seal. However if the composition of a product changes, the company must resubmit the above.

The ADA employees approximately 100 consultants that review and declare oral care safe, effective, and worthy of the ADA Seal. Consultants represent positions from varying positions in the dental health field, from production, dental materials, microbiology, pharmacy, toxicology, and chemistry. Since 2005, the ADA only distributes the Seal of Approvals to consumer products, but also produces an evaluation newsletter for dental professionals.

Why is this important for you?
In order to make an informed decision n about the dental hygiene products you use, you should not only look for the ADA Seal of Approval, but you also look at the claims that the oral health product makes. Whenever you are inspecting a product that has an ADA Seal of Approval, be sure to look for the statement, “The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs’ Acceptance of (product name) is based on the finding that the product is effective in helping to prevent and reduce tooth decay, when used as directed.”

If you have any questions or concerns about whether you are properly caring for your teeth, schedule an appointment and we can help guide you to healthier teeth! Contact us today, at or call us at 239-936-0597.

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.

What to do in a Dental Emergency?

This time of year, you might be wondering what to do if you have a dental emergency while our offices are closed for the holidays, or after hours any time of year. We are proud to serve your emergency dental needs – just call our emergency number at 239-936-0597 when the office is closed.

Holiday closures to plan for – Closed: Dec. 22, 2012 – Jan. 2, 2013

Avoiding an emergency
Indulging in a candy cane or popcorn might seem innocent enough, but be careful of these dental offenders. Items such as hard candy, popcorn kernels and ice can all damage teeth. Also, avoid using your teeth to cut tape or remove tags from those new gifts. It may seem convenient, but it is not worth ruining your holiday. Always wear a mouth guard while playing sports or doing any activities that could harm teeth as well.

Home care tips
Sometimes you can temporarily care for an emergency at home with a few simple items such as temporary fillings, a dental mirror, sterile gauze and pain relievers. Make sure you have these on hand in case an emergency happens when stores are closed. If you are not sure what to get, there are a variety of emergency dental kids on the market. Remember, pain is a signal something is wrong so even if the pain subsides make an appointment for an examination as soon as possible.

Emergency tips
Whatever your dental emergency, if you can’t manage the pain or stop bleeding on your own, always go to the emergency room. Here are a few emergency tips from the American Dental Association ( for handling issues that may or may not require an emergency room visit:

Lost tooth – If your tooth has been knocked out, hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it is dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and seek immediate care by calling our emergency phone number or go to the emergency room. Remember to bring your tooth with you!

Toothache – Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food or other debris caught between teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it can burn gum tissue. Contact us as soon as possible.

Bitten lip or tongue – Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. Again, if the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to the emergency room.

Broken tooth – Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and use cold compresses to reduce swelling. Call us for an appointment as soon as possible.

Cracked tooth – Avoid chewing food on that side of your mouth and contact us as soon as possible.

Broken jaw – If you have possibly broken your jaw, apply cold compresses to control swelling and go to the emergency room immediately.

Foreign objects stuck in teeth – If you can’t gently remove the object with dental floss, call us as soon as possible. Never use sharp objects and avoid cutting the gums with floss.

Contact us today by calling (239) 936-0597 to schedule your next dental visit or to speak to one of our experienced dental staff.