All About Zoom Whitening

Don’t you deserve a more radiant smile and newfound confidence? If you’ve been considering getting a teeth whitening treatment, it can change your life. Zoom In Office Whitening is safe, effective, and fast.

What is Zoom Whitening?zoom-logo-Copy-640x213
Zoom is a bleaching process that lightens the discoloration of enamel and dentin that is caused by drinking tea, cola, red wine, from smoking, or from the body’s natural aging process.

The Zoom in-office treatment uses the Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp, which speeds up the whitening process by activating a ph balanced hydrogen peroxide whitening. As the peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin to bleach the stained substances, leaving structure of tooth unchanged and your teeth whiter.

Primary Consultation
Before deciding whether Zoom is right for you, we will conduct a comprehensive examination of your teeth and gums to be sure your teeth are healthy for the procedure. We’ll also discuss oral hygiene and lifestyle habits to determine if you will benefit from whitening. From there, we’ll recommend a whitening product that is best for you. During this consultation, we will also note existing dental work like crowns and veneers, which won’t respond to conventional whitening agents.

shutterstock_111721961The Procedure
Before the procedure, we will schedule you for a regular teeth cleaning. From there, the whitening treatment will take a little less than an hour. We’ll start by covering your lips and gums, leaving teeth exposed. Then Zoom hydrogen peroxide whitening gel is applied to the teeth.

The gel stays on teeth for 15 minutes while the light is activated. During this time, patients can relax by watching TV or listening to music.

Gel is applied for three 15-minute sessions of light activation, for a total treatment time of 45 minutes.

Are there any side effects?
You may experience some temporary tooth or gum sensitivity for a few days after the procedure. If this sensitivity doesn’t go away, please schedule a follow-up appointment. Rarely, minor tingling is experienced immediately after the treatment.

Maintaining Your Pearly Whites
After the procedure, you will be given a Zoom home-use touch-up kit that includes custom-fitted whitening trays. We’ll walk you through how to use your touch up kit and discuss your after treatment habits.

To help maintain your white teeth, we may recommend you to avoid certain foods and beverages, including tea, coffee, red wine, and colas. Additionally, we recommend you avoid tobacco products, as they will stain teeth, even after whitening treatments.

You should also continue your regular dental hygiene routine. We recommend brushing your teeth two or more times per day, flossing once per day, and using a fluoride rinse if you do not drink fluoridated water. If you are interested in selected a whitening toothpaste, we can also advise on the best product for your teeth.

Not sure if you can afford Zoom Whitening?
We offer flexible monthly payment options for all of our dental procedures. To learn more about our financial services to help you get the care you need and deserve, click here.  To request an initial consultation, click here.

The link between gum disease and heart health

Did you know, that there could be a connection between the health of your gums and the health of your heart? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, people who have chronic gum disease are at a higher risk for heart attack.

There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is gum inflammation, whereas periodontal disease is a serious gum disease. Gingivitis begins with bacterial growth in your mouth, and if not properly treated, can lead to tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue around your teeth. Gingivitis will come first, and if not properly treated, will develop into periodontal disease.

There are several things that can cause gum disease.

  • Illness: several disease including HIV and cancer can lower your body’s ability to fight bacteria.
  • Medications: certain medications can affect the health of your mouth by causing dry mouth or abnormal growths in the mouth
  • Poor Oral Hygiene Habits: neglecting to brush and floss your teeth daily can cause infections in the gums
  • Bad Habits: smoking can sometimes make it harder for gum tissue to repair itself, therefore making it harder for your mouth to heal itself from bacterial infections
  • Hormonal Changes: this includes hormonal fluctuations during menopause, pregnancy, puberty and monthly menstruation. Experiencing these can make gums more sensitive, allowing gingivitis to develop

How do you know if you have gum disease?
The symptoms you could experience with gum disease include:

  • Receding gums
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Persistent bad breath of bad taste in the mouth
  • Bleeding gums after brushing

How this affects your heart health
Because the mouth is referred to as “the pathway to the body,” its health is a way to judge a person’s overall health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with moderate or advanced gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums.

A recent study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association studied 657 people with known heart disease. It was noted that these people had higher blood levels of certain disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to atherosclerosis of the carotid artery in the neck that can lead to stroke. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries that develops when fats and other substances in your blood begin to stick to the sides of your arteries, leading to a stroke or a heart attack.

More than 90 percent of all systematic diseases—including heart disease—have oral symptoms. In some cases, dentists can help patients with a history of heart disease by examining them for infection or inflammation that could indicate heart problems.

What can you do to prevent gum disease and possible heart problems?
• Brush for 2-3 minutes twice per day, making sure to brush your teeth as well as your gums
• Floss daily
• Eat a healthy diet that provides essential nutrients
• Avoid tobacco
• Schedule regular dentist check-ups and cleanings

If you have any of the symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to see a dentist right away. At Shane McDowell DMD, we want to make sure that your mouth is healthy, so the rest of you can be healthy too! Call us to set up an appointment today, at 239-936-0597 or email us at

Drink Green Tea for a Healthy Smile

green teaWhat you eat and drink directly impacts the health of your teeth and gums. With all of the drinks selection available, one of the best drinks for your oral health may be brewed tea! A review of existing studies show that drinking brewed teas results in less enamel loss than drinking soft drinks and fruit juices and that the effect of tea on tooth enamel is similar to that of water.

What are the Benefits of Drinking Green Tea?

Scientific studies are beginning to show the potential health benefits of drinking green tea, especially in weight loss, heart health, and oral health. Green tea’s ability to help reduce symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease may be due to the presence of the antioxidant catechin and the compounds called polyphenols that interact with the bacteria that cause plaque. By interfering with the body’s inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria, green tea may actually help promote oral health, and ward off further gum disease.

If you have any questions or concerns about healthy habits for your mouth, we invite you to call our personable staff today at 239-936-0597 or visit our website at to make an appointment.

How to choose the right mouth rinse

We’vemouthwash_87709747 all been there. Walking down the aisle of the pharmacy and seeing one too many mouth rinses’ to choose from. They all promise to protect your teeth, make your pearly whites whiter, and make your breath the freshest it can be. So, how do you know which one is right for you?

There are three major categories of mouth rinses – fluoride mouth rinses, anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque mouth rinses, and cosmetic and therapeutic mouth rinse products.

Fluoride mouth rinses

You never stop needing fluoride, and the truth is most people don’t get enough. Did you know that 85% of all adults experience tooth decay? Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by helping your body strengthen your teeth enamel, which is the protective white layer that covers your teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste can help with tooth decay, but fluoride toothpaste doesn’t help everyone.

Some fluoride toothpastes actually dry out the mouths of some consumers, so people with dry mouths might find a fluoride mouth rinse is a better fit for them. “Severe dry mouth can lead to a change in the bacterial balance of your mouth, while too much bad bacteria can lead to tooth decay,” says Michelle Henshaw, DDS, MPH and assistant dean for community partnerships and extramural affairs at Boston University, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. “Fluoride mouth rinses can help prevent these problems.”

If you are not using a fluoride toothpaste, you might want to start using a fluoride mouth rinse to see if you like it. Talk with your dentist if you have any questions.

Anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque mouth rinses 

According to the American Dental Association, anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis, antibacterial, antimicrobial or chemotherapeutic mouth rinses reduce bacterial count and inhibit bacterial activity that can cause gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease.

It is a good idea for adults to use this kind of mouth rinse. “Although brushing and flossing are the key components of good oral health, we don’t always do as good a job with these tasks as we should. Anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis mouth rinses can give a boost to your dental care habits by killing potentially damaging bacteria,” said Henshaw.

Mouth rinse to freshen your breath 

Many mouth rinses are available for you that make your breath smell nice and fresh, however, they don’t offer any long-term dental health benefits.

Cosmetic mouth rinses may temporarily control or reduce bad breath and leave your mouth feeling nice and fresh; however, they don’t deal with the underlying cause of why you have the bad breath. They don’t kill the bacteria that cause bad breath or chemically inactivate odor causing compounds. Also, none of the cosmetic mouth rinses helps reduce plaque, gingivitis or cavities.

If I can give you any advice when choosing a mouth rinse, its choose a mouth rinse product that has the ADA seal of approval. For a complete list of ADA approved mouth rinses click here.

The office of Dr. Shane McDowell is here to help you with any questions or concerns that you may have dealing with any oral health concerns you may be having. Please call 239-936-0597 or visit to schedule an appointment with Dr. McDowell and his excellent staff today.

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.

Fluoride 101

If you aren’t practicing good dental hygiene – regular dental visits, brushing twice a day, and flossing daily – your teeth will become susceptible to the acid-producing bacteria that collect around your teeth, called plaque. Another key ingredient that people tend to forget about when practicing good dental hygiene is using fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that fluoridehelps prevent tooth decay, and can actually help and repair teeth in the beginning stages of dental disease. There are two forms of fluoride: topical and systemic.

Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth’s enamel. The most popular topical fluoride comes in the form of toothpaste or mouthwash. Systemic fluoride is swallowed. Examples of systemic fluoride are fluoridated water and dietary fluoride treatments.

Dentists have used in-office fluoride treatments for decades to help protect their patients oral health, especially when their patients develop tooth decay. In an article written by the American Dental Association, some factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing tooth decay include the following:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Eating disorders
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Lack of regular professional care
  • High levels of bacteria in the mouth
  • Poor diet
  • Existing fillings
  • Tooth enamel defects

If you or anyone you know are at high risk of tooth decay, the office of Dr. Shane McDowell provide a full array of dental care services, and pay special attention to your comfort and health. Dr. Shane McDowell recommends using a fluoride rinse at night, which can help protect the enamel from decaying. Call or go online to schedule an appointment with Dr. McDowell to make sure your mouth is in the best shape possible. Visit or call (239) 936-0597.

Healing after extractions and oral surgery

One of the most important aspects of oral surgery is the healing process. It is crucial to follow orders provided by your doctor after your surgery, or you put yourself at a high risk for infection. Here are a few guidelines to make sure you reduce your risk of infection after extractions or other oral surgery:

R&R: Rest and Recovery are two of the most important things to keep in mind after having oral surgery. If you had surgery on your leg, would you go and walk two miles the next day? I don’t think so. The same goes for your mouth. You should be resting for at least two days after having oral surgery, which means no physical activity for at least two to three days post-surgery. Resting is integral to a healthy and non-infected mouth after surgery.

Bleeding: Bleeding after having oral surgery is completely normal; don’t worry! Your dentist or oral surgeon should provide you with tips on how to clean your mouth up without hurting you in the process. After having oral surgery, gauze may be given to you for placement on a specific area in your mouth and pressure may need to be applied as well. One recommendation for how to apply needed pressure is to gently bite down on the area where your gauze has been placed to apply proper pressure. The last thing you want to do is put fingers in your mouth after having surgery. Your gauze may need to be changed every 30 to 45 minutes depending on the severity of the blood. Remember, bleeding is normal for the first day or so, however, if it continues after two days or appears excessive, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

Swelling: Swelling and sometimes bruising can occur, especially when getting your “Wisdom Teeth” removed. The worst swelling and bruising normally occurs two to three days after the surgery. After your surgery, ice packs may be applied for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off until you go to bed, which will keep your swelling to a minimum. Also, when you go to bed, keeping your head elevated, at least for the first night or two could help with easing any discomfort and further reduce swelling. Just like when anything else is swollen, you are to keep it elevated. Control your mouth swelling by keeping your head up for the first couple of nights.

Hygiene: Don’t be tempted to rinse or spit for at least 24 hours after oral surgery. After the first 24 hours, lightly gargling, or gently rinsing, four times a day using warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) is also recommended. Do this after every meal. Whatever you do, don’t use mouthwash.

For more information on good dental hygiene after surgery, visit our website at to find out how we can help you.

Dads: Set a great example for your children’s dental health!

McDowell FamilyNothing in a man’s life should bring him more joy and reward than being a dad.  As a father, you need to be someone that they learn from and look up to everyday.

My wife and I have three young children and work hard to set a good example in everything we do for them. This includes demonstrating great dental care. What many people don’t realize is that unhealthy teeth can lead to more severe health problems. That’s why it is so important to get kids to start taking good care of their teeth when they are young.

As working parents (we are both dentists) with three little kids and busy schedules, we know it’s not always easy. It takes dedication and we make it a priority because there is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our family. That’s why we are committed to practicing what we preach, teaching our children the proper ways to floss and brush their teeth, as well as the importance of routine dental check-ups.

This is the best way to get your kids in the habit of taking care of their teeth and overall health on a daily basis. As a dad, I feel it’s one of the best things we can for our children.

For more information on good dental care and services, visit our website at Our office wishes a very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, grandfathers and dads-to-be!

Treatment options for replacing missing teeth

Did you know that the average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 has three or more decayed or missing teeth? If you are missing teeth, there are options and good reasons for correcting the problem.

A large space between your teeth may affect how you speak, your appearance, or how you eat. Even if it’s not noticeable, a missing molar can affect how you chew. Remaining teeth may shift and in some cases, bone loss can occur around a missing tooth. With today’s advances, you don’t have to suffer from missing teeth.

Below are some common treatment options for replacing missing teeth. Contact us about which option is best for you:

Bridges: Anchored to your adjacent teeth, these can be removable or fixed, depending on your mouth, your dentist’s recommendation and your needs. Teeth can also be replaced with a fixed bridge if there are teeth in the area that are adequate in number and sufficiently healthy and strong to support the artificial teeth. In order to fabricate a bridge, the adjacent teeth are prepared by reducing their size (or cut down) to remove all the enamel, making room for the prosthetic tooth restoration. A prosthetic tooth (or teeth) can be suspended between adjacent teeth in this way to provide a functional and cosmetic replacement for the missing tooth.

Dentures: Removable partial or full dentures can replace a single missing tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth in your upper and/or lower jaw. Dentures rely on support by the other teeth in that jaw (for partial dentures) and from mechanical support by the remaining ridge of gum and underlying bone.

Implants: Most similar to a natural tooth. With current technologies, implants offer improved longevity, strength and stability.

Contact our office for more information about improving your smile. Make an appointment at today to find out how we can help you.

DIY is essential to your dental health

shutterstock_124477807We’re not suggesting you should attempt a filling or extract a tooth on your own, but between visits to our office, you make the difference in maintaining your dental health.

The most obvious method of cleaning your teeth, of course, is brushing. You are bombarded with advertising touting the benefits of one toothbrush or toothpaste above another, but the answer is simple. Keep it simple. A soft brush is best to avoid damaging tooth enamel, and in toothpaste flouride is the key ingredient. Beyond that, find a taste you can live with. In fact, the simpler your toothpaste the better as many that claim powerful ingredients can actually wear away enamel and cause problems for those with sensitive teeth over the long run.

Flossing is equally important though often neglected. Find a way to work it into your routine. Some people like to keep floss close at hand so they can clean their teeth soon after eating, when the discomfort of food debris motivates them to do so. Others find that doing the top in the morning and the bottom in the evening helps them get the job done. Still others floss their whole mouth in one session, and truth be told it doesn’t matter what time you do it, as long as you follow the recommended once-a-day minimum.

Mouth washes have always been considered optional, and for many people are not necessary. In fact, they can contain harsh chemicals and wear away enamel. If you can’t live without that minty fresh feeling, be an educated consumer and check the ingredients on the label to be sure you are totally comfortable with what you put in your mouth. Feel free to discuss your choices with us at your next visit.

Beyond brushing and flossing, there are other things you can do to keep your mouth clean and healthy on a daily basis. Choose healthy foods and drink plenty of water during and after meals. If you indulge in a sugary, starchy or acidic food, eat it during a meal or soon afterward when the saliva in your mouth is already stimulated. Saliva will help wash those unwanted sugars and acids away. Some research shows sugarless gum also promotes good dental health by stimulating saliva, so feel free to freshen your breath and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time.

Of course, regular professional cleanings, every six months, is very important, and make an appointment at the first sign of pain or discomfort. To make an appointment call 239-936-0597 or schedule online at