Teeth whitening is booming in the UK, and with it, the number of whitening products and services available. Type ‘teeth whitening’ into any search engine and you’ll get pages of results. Some of which are companies offering home teeth whitening kits or whitening procedures in salons, and even your own home.
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic treatment. But it’s not like having a manicure or a facial. Just like cosmetic surgery, the only way to guarantee you get appropriate, safe treatment is to see a professional.
In May 2013, the High Court ruled that teeth whitening is the practice of dentistry and should only be carried out by dental professionals, such as:
Teeth whitening by anyone else (e.g. beauticians) is against the law. Hundreds of people complain to The General Dental Council (GDC) about illegal teeth whitening every year. And, where there is enough evidence, the GDC prosecute unregistered practitioners.
The law is there to protect all of us. Having teeth whitened by someone who is not properly trained and regulated means a risk of permanent damage to teeth or gums.
In Europe, it’s illegal for whitening kits to have greater than 0.1% peroxide. This percentage is too low to have much effect on the colour of teeth. Kits from other countries might contain more peroxide. But they can also include harmful ingredients.
Teeth whitening kits from your dentist are custom made to fit your teeth. This means teeth are uniformly exposed to the bleaching agent and your gums are not. Your dentist will check your teeth are suitable for whitening before you start the treatment. And they will ensure your teeth are clean and free of plaque, so you get the best results.
Whitening toothpastes can’t change the colour of your teeth. But they can remove stains and reveal their natural colour. Overall, whitening toothpastes can help improve the appearance of your teeth. And they can help teeth stay white after professional whitening.
It’s best to look out for the approved British Dental Health Foundation logo on the packaging of any oral-care products. The logo shows that an independent panel of experts has scientifically and clinically checked what the product claims to do.
If you’d like to know more about teeth whitening, contact our friendly team at at Fulham Dental Centre for more information.