With the advent of tooth whitening becoming a more and more popular choice for patients compared to crowns and veneers, it is important to know the facts out safe tooth whitening.
People are turning to beauticians and salons for cheaper tooth whitening procedures, but what are the consequences of illegal tooth whitening?
As of 31st October 2012 the EU Council Directive 2011/84/EU came into force in the UK. The new legislation states who can legally whiten teeth and what concentration of tooth whitening product can be used.
Summary of the new EU legislation:
- Only those registered with the General Dental Council can perform tooth whitening (i.e dentists)
- They are only allowed to use a concentration up to 6% hydrogen peroxide (or 18% carbamide peroxide)
- The patient must be over 18 years old
- The patient needs to be examined before tooth whitening is started to ensure there are no risks or disease/pathology present
These new laws mean beautician parlous, salons, spas or “teeth whitening specialists” are now performing illegal acts and are subject to prosecution by the General Dental Council and Trading Standards resulting in hefty fines (thousands of pounds) and possible jail time.
Patients that have visited such places have left with chemical burns, poor long term results, teeth that are yellower than before and hyper sensitive teeth; resulting in them seeking help from dentists. Having tooth whitening provided by a dentist is not only safe, but also dentists hold responsibility for caring for your overall oral health.
Another problem area is tooth whitening kits; these are widely available to purchase over the internet. These kits are legally only allowed to contain 0.1% hydrogen peroxide which will have a very minimal effect on changing the colour of teeth, so they are in effect useless.
How often does tooth whitening need to be repeated?
Factors such as smoking, drinking wine, tea and coffee can increase the number of times whitening needs to be repeated.
Does tooth whitening destroy the enamel on your teeth?
Prolonged exposure to bleaching agents can cause the enamel on teeth to be damaged, which is why it’s important to whiten teeth professionally. As long as the correct EU guidelines are being followed then tooth whitening is safe and effective.
What about sensitivity?
A side effect of tooth whitening is sensitivity. However, its usually mild and the professional tooth whitening treatments are not painful at all. With the correct care, the sensitivity can be reduced or controlled. We use Enlighten Tooth Whitening at our practice, and as there are no lasers involved, we can significantly reduce the risk of sensitivity.
Brickfields Dental Care
Accredited Enlighten Tooth Whitening Centre