On last week`s edition of BBC Watchdog, the consumer programme highlighted the issue of illegal tooth whitening, including the concerns around non-dental (non-GDC) practitioners offering the service, the composition and percentages of ingredients used in some of the whitening products, as well as the training courses being offered freely to anyone willing to pay, including one training course provided by Skype video call!
Teeth whitening is the practice of dentistry
In the program cosmetic dentist Dr Uchenna Okoye, Clinical Director of the London Smiling Dental Group is shocked at the ease with which the researchers were able to get hold of illegal whitening kits (containing banned carcinogenic ingredients) and carry out training over Skype. The training providers did not appear to be dental professionals themselves and even new they were breaking the law.
Francesca Keen, Head of Illegal Practice at the General Dental Council was also interviewed by Anne Robinson. By law, only registered dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists and clinical dental technicians working to the treatment plan of a dentist can perform tooth whitening. Francesca concluded with a key message and said: "If you are doing teeth whitening and you are not qualified, STOP. If you want your teeth whitened, go to your dentist."
If you missed the Watchdog report - you can watch it on the BBC website here.
Safe whitening by professionals
Tooth whitening is a safe and effective way to brighten your smile when preformed by a dental professional. I was one of the very first dentists in Edinburgh to perform tooth whitening services back in 2001 and have treated thousands of patients including many celebrities.
The illegal practice by by non-dental professionals seeking to make quick cash by offering such services cheaper carries huge risks:
- They are unable to spot tooth decay which needs correcting before whitening
- They are unable to spot complications in your mouth which may lead to pain
- They are unable to understand the cause of your teeth discolouration - not all causes can be fixed by tooth whitening
- They are not professional trained in such treatments and could cause burning and blisters to your gums
- They often use illegal agents or concentration which could be dangerous
- They are not medically trained and unable to assist should an emergency occur during the procedure
If you want to whiten your teeth we have many safe and proven whitening solutions for you available at our clinic provided by dental professionals - simply arrange a consultation. However, if you don't want to use us then I would encourage you to discuss the option with your dentist. Whatever you do - stay safe and use a dental professional.