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Everything you need to know about safe teeth whitening

Teeth whitening (also known as Teeth Bleaching) is now one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the UK and can work wonders when it comes to making over and rejuvenating your smile. But did you know that teeth whitening can’t be offered by just anyone? Never pop into a beauty salon and have your teeth whitened; cosmetic teeth treatments should only ever be performed by a GDC-registered dental professional.

Why is this? Let’s take a look.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth using a product, usually containing hydrogen peroxide. Here at Harwood Dental Care, we use Enlighten tooth whitening and Zoom! home whitening, both of which are leading teeth whitening systems that use custom-made trays to apply professional products to your teeth.

Does teeth whitening have any risks?

The British Dental Association feels that teeth whitening is a safe procedure when carried out by a GDC-registered dental professional with the right training and knowledge.

In untrained and inexperienced hands, it can be a different story. Teeth whitening by unqualified individuals has been known to cause permanent damage to the teeth and gums. Usually, this is if you are given a poorly fitting mouthguard that lets the bleaching gel leak, causing chemical burns and even vomiting.

Who can safely whiten your teeth?

As we’ve mentioned above, cosmetic teeth treatments can only legally be carried out by GDC-registered dental professionals, such as dentists and hygienists. Worryingly, a recent investigation by BBC’s 5 Live found dozens of beauty therapists illegally offering teeth bleaching in their salons. The problem is that beauty practitioners may not have sufficient training in teeth whitening or be able to determine whether or not someone is a good candidate for the procedure.

Under the Dentists’ Act 1984, it’s also illegal for anyone who’s not a registered dental professional to give ‘treatment, advice or attendance’ about cosmetic teeth treatment. Some non-dental practitioners have attempted to get around this legislation by offering home bleaching kits or whitening treatments that don’t use hydrogen peroxide or similar products.

Why are home teeth kits legal?

You can buy over-the-counter teeth bleaching kits and use them at home. These typically contain less than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, which means the products may not actually be effective. Other home kits do not declare what chemicals they contain, making them hard to assess.

The recent 5 Live investigation showed that the investigators were able to buy teeth whitening kits containing sodium perborate, which is banned for use in cosmetic products by the EU because it’s been shown to cause infertility and foetal abnormalities.

Why visit a dentist for teeth whitening?

When you choose an experienced dentist to carry out your treatment, you are also choosing peace of mind. We understand how to safely use professional teeth treatment systems to rejuvenate your smile and give you much brighter, healthier-looking teeth. Professional teeth whitening systems have an excellent safety record and record of results. We can also help prepare your teeth if they are prone to sensitivity.

To find out more, call us on 01204 304568 and book a free initial consultation in Bolton at Harwood Dental Care

You can also read up on why people get their teeth whitened in one of our other blogs.

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