I’ve been there, we’ve all been there, you want something and you want in now, but you can’t afford it so you choose the cheap option!
If you are short of time and money and want white teeth, there may be temptation to buy tooth whitening products online or take advantage of a tooth whitening offer from someone who isn’t a registered dentist.
When it comes to tooth whitening, its important that you know the facts.
Despite legislation stating that tooth whitening should only be carried out by a registered dentist, there are still many beauticians who have no training and use whitening products containing well over the legal amount of bleaching agent, these treatments can result in pain, swelling, blistering and third degree burns and can cause permanent tooth sensitivity.
By law, tooth whitening can only be carried out by a dental professional who is registered with the General Dental Council. The registrant will have undergone special training to carry out teeth whitening that is both safe and effective and in their scope of practice.
When done correctly by a registered dental professional who uses legal products and has the correct training, teeth whitening is a safe dental procedure that produces excellent cosmetic results.
There is a lack of awareness when it comes to tooth whitening providers. Non-registered providers often say they didn’t know they were breaking the law – either because they weren’t aware of the legislation, their whitening company assured them their products were legal, or because they believe they’re not liable if they get the patient to apply the product themselves.
Getting your teeth whitened with anyone who is not GDC-registered is dangerous. And when you consider the long-term cost to your smile, the cost of legal teeth whitening is worth the money.
If treated by a legal provider:
- A dental examination will be carried out to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for tooth whitening. Whitening is not suitable for everyone. You need to have healthy teeth and gums.
- Treatment must be carried out by a GDC-registered dentist who has undergone 5 years’ training, or who supervises a GDC-registered nurse, therapist or hygienist.
- Whitening trays are custom made to you, in order to protect your gums.
- Regulated, prescription-only whitening gel that contains up to 6% hydrogen peroxide (or the equivalent of 16% carbamide peroxide) must be used. This is both safe and effective – legal over-the-counter products only contain 0.1% and are unlikely to give you the results you are after.
- Treatment is managed by your dentist so that in the unlikely event of any problems occurring, they are picked up before they become an issue. Some patients get temporary sensitivity during the whitening process and we, as dental professionals, can manage that using lower percentage tooth whitening gel or by recommending desensitising products.
- You will receive ongoing aftercare, including advice on keeping your smile whiter for longer.
If you aren’t treated by a registered dental professional:
- There will be no dental examination or medically informed decision on your suitability for treatment – it’s all at your own risk.
- You will receive treatment from someone with insufficient training, who buys their products direct from a supplier without always knowing about what’s in them.
- Illegal products that can contain up to 300 times the legal amount of hydrogen peroxide may be used, potentially causing damage to soft tissues and permanent tooth pain which may result in costly dental treatment being required.
- Generic whitening trays or ‘mould your own’ trays can cause bleaching gel to leak onto gums and allow saliva to neutralise the effect of the gel on your teeth as well as causing chemical burning of the gums.
- Results can be unpredictable ranging from uneven whitening and damaged enamel to swelling, burns and long-term pain.
- There is no aftercare if the treatment goes wrong.
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If you would like to book a tooth whitening consultation with one of our qualified dentists and have tooth whitening carried out safely and more importantly legally, please contact our reception team on [email protected].