Patient Information Articles:

    • What is a toothbrush? In this material we are going to present everything there is to know about a toothbrush. A general definition of the toothbrush would be the following: it is a small type of brush that is used in order to clean teeth. In order to obtain the best result it is advisable to use toothpaste. This paste is usually made with fluoride and is put on the toothbrush because it has an excellent cleaning effect. Dentists usually advise people to use a type of toothbrush, which is softer because the harder ones can have a damaging effect for the enamel and they can also irritate the gums.toothbrush-571741_640
    • The History of Toothbrush. The toothbrush is the offspring of other devices used for cleaning teeth along the centuries. Since ancient times people tried to clean their teeth by using a variety of things. In many cultures it is specified that people used to clean their teeth by means of twigs or even pieces of wood that were rubbed against teeth. In more recent times another method of cleaning teeth appeared to be common and it consisted of rubbing baking soda or even chalk against the teeth. The first toothbrush was produced by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England in 1780. The first person who has ever used a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth. This happened in 1850 in the United States and the production of the brush started thirty-five years later. The thing was made of a bone (used as a handle) that had holes bored into it where there were attached Siberian Boar hair bristles. Only after the World War II the idea of brushing teeth gained some interest in USA. This happened because the US soldiers had as a regular duty to keep their teeth clean and thus, they brought this habit back home when the war ended. With time, the natural bristles were gradually replaced by other materials, generally nylon. This first happened in 1938 and the one who invented it was Dupont. In time there has been engineered the electrical toothbrush which was first introduced by the Squibb Pharmaceutical Company with the occasion of the celebration of the centennial of the American Dental Association in 1959. In the year 2003 the toothbrush was named the number one thing that Americans can’t live without.
    • The Electric Toothbrush. The electric toothbrush is the ultimate invention in what the toothbrush industry is concerned. The first idea of developing a brush of this kind appeared in 1939 in Switzerland. The finite product didn't get on the market till the 1960’s. In 1961 the General Electric Company introduced on the market a rechargeable cordless toothbrush that had an up and down movement when activated. In 1987 was invented the first rotary action toothbrush and it soon appeared on the market for the general use. This mechanism is used today by a large variety of models and it is proved to be more effective than the standard toothbrush. 

What is Invisalign?

invisalign-bracesInvisible Braces are clearly a different and an effective science / technology that has revolutionized orthodontics. Say good-bye to metal brackets and wires, and say hello to invisible, removable appliances called aligners. These aligners are virtually undetectable and go unnoticed when speaking in social situations. Clear Braces can give you that beautiful smile by straightening your teeth without anyone knowing.

How Does Invisalign® Work?

To ensure a precise outcome, your orthodontist will use computer imaging to create your invisalign® braces. After taking bite impressions of your mouth, the dentist will use the invisalign® three-dimensional computer imaging system to create a series of clear retainers. The first one will fit your current configuration of teeth. Each successive retainer will act like invisible braces, using gentle pressure to move your teeth to their target alignments.

The number of invisalign® trays used will depend on each individual case but the average is between 18 and 30. Each clear invisalign® retainer is removable and worn for two weeks (24 hours a day, except during meals) and then the next aligner is used. This process is repeated until the teeth are in the desired position. The entire invisalign® treatment takes the same amount of time as traditional orthodontic braces.

How will Invisalign effectively move my teeth?

Like brackets and arch wires are to braces, Invisalign aligners move teeth through the appropriate placement of controlled force on your teeth. The main difference is that Invisalign not only controls forces, but also the timing of the force application. During each stage, only certain teeth are allowed to move. These movements are determined by your doctor as he or she maps out your unique Invisalign treatment plan

Benefits of Invisalign®

Perhaps the most apparent benefit of invisalign® is that patients can straighten their teeth without anyone knowing. Most adults would rather live with crooked teeth than spend two or more years with the metal braces that they remember from their teenage years. The clear invisalign® retainer was developed to introduce some much-needed aesthetics to the field of adult orthodontics.

The invisalign® system also boasts improved hygiene over traditional braces. Because the clear retainers are removable, patients can brush and floss as they normally would, reducing the chances of possible staining and decay that often occur with traditional braces. Food and drink choices are less restrictive, as well. If patients wish to eat sticky candy or drink soda, they may do so after removing their clear invisalign® retainer.

There are very few problems associated with the invisalign® system. People who fail to wear their clear invisalign® retainer at all times may find that their teeth don't change position as quickly as they would like. Some people with sensitive teeth and gums may feel some discomfort when they switch to a new aligner in the series. These problems with invisalign® are minor and most patients feel that the benefits far outweigh any problems.

How Much Does Invisalign® Cost

Treatment with invisalign® may cost as much as 20 to 50 percent more than traditional orthodontic treatments. The exact figure will depend heavily on several factors, including the extent of treatment required and how many aligners need to be created. Geographic location of orthodontists also affects the average invisalign® cost. It is advisable to inquire about pricing when you are in the process of choosing an orthodontist.

Many patients that are given the choice of Invisalign vs. Braces choose Invisalign because of clear lifestyle advantages (i.e. removal during eating, no dietary restrictions, and clarity), even when faced with the alternative of lingual braces (iBraces) which are entirely invisible because they are bonded to the tongue side of the teeth.  What patients are often not told is that certain movements with Invisalign are unpredictable and unlikely to succeed.  Rotation involving premolar or rounded/ovoid teeth, as well as bite opening or vertical movements are considered “unpredictable.”

For patients that have such issues, Invisalign can leave such problems unresolved.  For these patients, we recommend either iBraces or clear ceramic braces.  No matter what a patient chooses we at Bellingham Dental Arts recommend that the person be as informed as possible about their specific issues, and the likelihood that their treatment of choice will succeed in correcting such issues.


Tooth Whitening

Whitening of the teeth is performed for patients who desire a brighter smile. Tooth whitening can be performed to reduce discoloration and staining, or simply to provide the patient with whiter, brighter teeth.

There are a few teeth whitening procedures available that correct discoloration of the teeth by removing the brown and yellow staining. While each work effectively, there are advantages and disadvantages to each procedure dependent upon your objectives and commitment to the processes. The type of procedures available should be discussed with your cosmetic dentist, and a they will recommend the most appropriate whitening procedure for you.


A custom fitted tray is worn over your teeth. A small amount of the bleaching gel is placed in the tray and worn for a brief amount of time each day. This is a common technique because it's easy to use and costs less. Impressions are taken of your mouth and a thin custom made plastic tray is made which you take home and wear for about one to two hours per day. While some results may be seen in a couple days, it usually takes one to two weeks to see the full whitening of your teeth. This procedure is sometimes used in conjunction with the in-office laser bleaching if you have severe discoloration (dark grey or purple) or internal teeth staining.

Advantage: A gradual whitening of your teeth over time will be less noticeable to others that you're undergoing this procedure. The cost is relatively low.

Disadvantages: This procedure will require two to four visits to the cosmetic dentists office.


Using a laser with a whitening gel, this is an in-office bleaching system.

The translucent bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and a laser light is used to activate the crystals to absorb the energy from the light and penetrate the teeth enamel to increase the lightening effect on the teeth. The length of time in the cosmetic dentist's chair depends on the degree of discoloration you have.

Advantage: One visit is usually all it takes for a bright smile.

Disadvantage: The sudden change of color is likely to be noticed by those around you immediately. This is the more expensive of the procedures available, but also the quickest.

Internal bleaching

Internal bleaching procedures are performed on devitalized teeth that have undergone endodontic therapy but are discolored due to internal staining of the tooth structure by blood and other fluids that leached in. In this variation of whitening the peroxide is sealed within the tooth over a period of a few days and replaced as needed, this is the so-called "walking bleach" technique.

Bleaching solutions contain peroxide which bleaches the tooth enamel to change its color. Off-the-shelf products typically rely on a carbamide peroxide solution varying in concentration from 10% to 22%. Bleaching solutions may be applied directly to the teeth, embedded in a plastic strip that is placed on the teeth or use a gel held in place by a mouth guard. Because the concentration is typically low to avoid toxicity, whitening often takes several weeks.

Teeth Whitening Risks

Teeth whitening treatments are considered to be safe when procedures are followed as directed. However, there are certain risks associated with bleaching that you should be aware of:

Sensitivity : Bleaching can cause a temporary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch. This is likeliest to occur during in-office whitening, where higher-concentration bleach is used. Some individuals experience spontaneous shooting pains (“zingers”) down the middle of their front teeth. Individuals at greatest risk for whitening sensitivity are those with gum recession, significant cracks in their teeth or leakage resulting from faulty restorations. It has also been reported that redheads, including those with no other risk factors, are at particular risk for tooth sensitivity and zingers. Whitening sensitivity lasts no longer than a day or two, but in some cases may persist up to a month. Some dentists recommend a toothpaste containing potassium nitrate for sensitive teeth.

Gum irritation : Over half of those who use peroxide whiteners experience some degree of gum irritation resulting from the bleach concentration or from contact with the whitening trays. Such irritation typically lasts up to several days, dissipating after bleaching has stopped or the peroxide concentration lowered.

Technicolor teeth : Restorations such as bonding, dental crowns or porcelain veneers are not affected by bleach and therefore maintain their default color while the surrounding teeth are whitened. This results in what is frequently called “Technicolor teeth.”