Illegal Teeth Whitening – The Dangers

BBC report indicates that some illegal outlets are still offering this treatment.

A cosmetically enhanced smileAs many of you will already know, the teeth whitening procedure is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments currently available. There are several good reasons for this. It is very effective and fast acting, it requires no surgery and is also very affordable for many people.

Despite the apparent simplicity of the treatment though, there are things that can still go very wrong if it is carried out incorrectly.

We have written before about the potential dangers of attempting DIY teeth whitening treatments, but even using established methods can be dangerous if carried out by unqualified or inexperienced practitioners.

It is for this reason that the law now states that teeth whitening can only be carried out by dental professionals like those at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic who are registered with the GDC (General Dental Council) and is why most high street outlets that once offered teeth whitening are now no longer able to do so. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous outlets still continue to do so illegally.

What are the risks?

There are a number of possible risks if you opt to use an illegal outlet. It is very likely that the staff will not be sufficiently trained, if at all. There have, in the past, also been many cases of the incorrect strength of whitening solution being used, causing significant harm to the patient. Where the strength of the solution is too great, patients may well experience significant and possibly severe teeth sensitivity. This can be extremely painful and make eating and drinking many foods and drinks a real problem. There is also a serious risk of burning to the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth. If the solution is too strong, it is even possible that it can result in tooth loss.

Why do people choose to have it done illegally?

In all likelihood, many people that have their teeth whitened at these outlets are probably unaware that they are doing so illegally. Many will not know about the law that means that only dentists can carry out the treatment. In addition to this, many places operate under a general ‘beauty treatment’ heading and may perfectly legally offer other treatments too. Although the teeth whitening treatment offered by our Epsom dental practice is very affordable, it is also possible that, in these uncertain times, some people attempt to cut corners by using these, often cheaper, places. Saving a few pounds is not a legitimate reason to risk your oral health of course!

Finally, there may be some, perhaps inspired by reality TV, who want to have the whitest of white teeth, whatever the risk. Those that do this may well live to regret it unfortunately.

Getting around the law

There is a grey area of the law which some practitioners use to attempt to get around it, although usually with little success. The law states that only a dentist can carry out the procedure, but some attempt to get around this by not performing the procedure themselves but handing the equipment to the patient to do themselves, whilst providing ‘instruction and supervision’. In many ways, this is even more dangerous, and burnt soft mouth tissue is quite a likely result of this scenario.

Safe teeth whitening

Despite the cautions above, we would like to assure our Epsom patients that having your teeth whitened is safe if you chose to have it done professionally and legally. We will always ensure that your gums are protected during the treatment so that you don’t suffer burns as you might otherwise. Our cosmetic dentists use the Zoom2 system to whiten your teeth safely and quickly and are fully trained and experienced in this method.

Whilst the vast majority of patients experience no after effects, a small number may experience some tooth sensitivity, although this will be nothing like the level of sensitivity that can be experienced if teeth are whitened illegally. This more minor sensitivity will typically only last for a short time and most patients find it is easily manageable.

The results of this safe and fast acting treatment is that you can see the whiteness of your teeth improved by up to eight shades – indeed an excellent way to a great new smile!

Whatever you do, please avoid using an illegal outlet for this procedure. The Clock Tower Dental Clinic is here to offer a safe and effective way of providing you with more attractive and whiter teeth. We are always available to answer any questions or address any concerns that you might have and the best way to do this is to have an initial consultation with one of our cosmetic dental team. You can book an appointment for this by calling us on 01372 720136. We look forward to discussing the benefits with you.