Tooth whitening is a safe and effective way to give your smile a boost – but only when carried out by a qualified dental professional, otherwise it’s illegal.
The popularity of tooth whitening has made it an attractive venture for illegal providers, says principal dentist, Malcolm Harbour from Harbour Dental Care. This means that unsuspecting people are being put at risk from serious and permanent damage to their mouth.
The UK’s leading dental charity, the Oral Health Foundation, has put together a definitive guide on unscrupulous tooth whitening. The following points will enable everybody to protect themselves from dangerous providers and products, and get a pearly white smile without any risk to their health.
- Only qualified dental professionals can perform tooth whitening. This is a dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist. If a local beauty parlour or hairdresser is advertising tooth whitening and they are not a dental professional, they are breaking the law.
- Ignorance is not an excuse. Many providers may not even be aware they are breaking the law as they have been told by a ‘trainer’ (or possibly a person selling the tooth whitening kit) that what they are doing is legal. This is incorrect and they are still liable.
- Fines for illegal tooth whitening are unlimited in Britain and every case brought against illegal providers has been successful. Illegal providers are putting their livelihood and reputation on the line if they provide these treatments.
- In Europe, it is illegal to supply bleaching material containing more than 0.1% peroxide (or the equivalent in carbamide peroxide) to anyone other than a dentist, or direct to the public. If an illegal provider is offering whitening products stronger than this, you are at serious risk.
- The laws are in place to prevent chemical burns being caused by peroxide. Without the proper procedures in place and used incorrectly it can cause serious and permanent problems to your mouth, lips, gums and tongue.
- It may not work and could leave you in constant pain. When used incorrectly whitening is not effective and can even leave your teeth incredibly sensitive when eating or drinking.
- If you think somebody is offering illegal tooth whitening, you can report them to the General Dental Council who will investigate and look to protect the public.
For further information please visit www.safetoothwhitening.org or call the Dental Helpline on 01788 539 780 for expert, free and impartial advice.
For professional tooth whitening, trust Harbour Dental Care. Our door is always open to new patients, so please feel free to pop into our lovely, welcoming dental practice on Ipswich High Street.