With so much advertising on TV and in social media for whiter than white smiles, it is not surprising that the uptake of tooth whitening has soared in recent years. However, there is still a huge debate on illegal practice by beauticians and other non-registered professionals carrying out this service.
With a recent BBC report highlighting illegal tooth whitening it is so important that you are equipped with the facts before choosing who would carry out this procedure for you. If carried out by someone qualified and trained to do so, it is one of the simplest treatments and can have wonderful, long-lasting results. If you choose someone who is unqualified and trading illegally, it can have devastating consequences including excruciating pain, blistering, swelling and soft tissue burns along with tooth sensitivity that can last for life.
Know the facts before undergoing treatment
Legal Treatment includes:
- A dental examination that ensures you are a suitable candidate for treatment. (Whitening is not suitable if you are pregnant or if you don’t have healthy teeth and gums.)
- Treatment with a GDC-registered dentist who has undergone 5 years of training, or who supervises a GDC-registered nurse or hygienist.
- Treatment in a state-of-the-art and fully hygienic clinical setting.
- Regulated, prescription-only whitening gel that contains up to 6% hydrogen peroxide (or the equivalent of 16% carbamide peroxide). This is both safe and effective. Legal over-the-counter products only contain 0.1%.
- Bespoke whitening trays made to fit you precisely targeting your teeth while protecting your gums.
- Managed treatment and adjustable prescriptions.
- Ongoing aftercare, including advice on keeping your smile whiter for longer.
Illegal Treatment includes:
- No professional dental examination or medically informed decision on your suitability for treatment – it’s all at your own risk.
- Treatment from someone with no professional training, who is not registered with the GDC and who buys their products direct from a supplier without always knowing its content or strength.
- Treatment sometimes administered in unhygienic domestic settings.
- ‘Off the shelf’ whitening trays that can cause bleaching gel to leak onto gums, and allow saliva to neutralise the effect of the gel on your teeth.
- Unpredictable results that can range from uneven whitening and damaged enamel to swelling, burns and long-term pain.
- No aftercare or legal recourse if the treatment goes wrong.
Why is teeth whitening still widely available illegally?
The main problem is lack of awareness. It is usually the case that many of the beauticians and non-dental practitioners who are offering this treatment will say that they didn’t know they were breaking the law – either because they were unaware of the legislation, their whitening company assured them their products were legal, or because they believe that they are not the ones that are liable if they get the patient to apply the product themselves. There have been cases of Illegal products being used that contain a much higher volume of hydrogen peroxide with the risk of burning, blistering gums and lips and even permanent tooth pain.
If you are considering getting your teeth whitened it is always worth doing your research, you can check the details of anyone offering this service on the General Dental Council’s web site. If you can’t find the professional here, then the odds are they shouldn’t be offering the treatment!
We are an Enlighten Approved Smile Centre using Enlighten products that guarantee a beautiful white smile. For more information about our whitening please see our website or click here.
Just remember, if you proceed with the treatment under someone who is not GDC registered it has the potential to go wrong. Although it may save you a few pounds in the short term, please consider the long-term cost to your smile. Seeing the right professional to carry out your teeth whitening really is worth every penny.
If you are considering having your teeth whitened, why not book a complimentary appointment with us here at Pure Dental Solutions? You can be safe in the knowledge that we are fully trained, registered and insured to carry out this treatment and we will ensure you achieve amazing results with our B1 guarantee!