The General Dental Council (GDC) says that illegal tooth whitening treatments have risen, even though the law now restricts tooth whitening practice.
The change in the law to restrict tooth whitening use by non-dental professionals is not new. The changes to the EU Law in October 2012, helped to clarify the position on tooth whitening and were brought into force by the European Communities (Cosmetic Products) Regulations 2004 to 2013.
The rules for carrying out tooth whitening in the UK are:
- Only registered dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists and clinical dental technicians, working to the prescription of a dentist, can perform tooth whitening.
- Dentists can legally use products containing or releasing between 0.1% and 6% hydrogen peroxide. No more than 6% is allowed for cosmetic treatments.
- An appropriate clinical examination is to be carried out before tooth whitening to check against risk factors or other oral health concerns – and patients must be over 18.
- The first use of tooth whitening in any cycle can only be carried out by dental practitioners (or under their direct supervision if equivalent level of safety is ensured); after which consumers may be given the product to complete the next cycle of use themselves.
- Only products containing or releasing less than 0.1% of hydrogen peroxide are safe for non dental professional use and these are available on the high street (e.g. toothpaste, mouthwash, bleaching/whitening products).
However, recent cases and investigations have shown that the use of tooth whitening agent over 0.1% by non-dental professionals (e.g. beauty therapists) is still happening and cases have risen. Indeed, there have been reports of whitening agents with concentrations well over the maximum allowed for dentists used by unqualified practitioners. BBC London secretly filmed someone using illegal levels of the hydrogen peroxide at a strength of 25% and reported on a case of someone receiving 35% hydrogen peroxide from a beautician.
Incorrect use of tooth whitening agent is dangerous and can cause tooth loss, burns and blisters.
Professional Tooth Whitening
Around 1 in 6 Brits now say they have had their teeth whitened and in the hands of a fully qualified dental health professional, tooth whitening is an effective and safe procedure. It can brighten the teeth for a much fresher look.
The advice for patients is to be aware of the law and choose a practitioner carefully.
Buyers’ Guide to Tooth Whitening
- If you are not sure that the treatment you are being offered is legal, do not go ahead
with it and ask your dentist for advice
- A qualified and registered dental professional will have a ‘GDC number’ from the
General Dental Council. You can check this at www.gdc-uk.org. If you want to check
that someone is legally allowed to carry out the treatment, go to this website first
- If the treatment says ‘peroxide free’, it still may not be safe or legal. Check that it does
not use sodium perborate or chlorine dioxide – these can be harmful
- You cannot get whitening treatments on the NHS. Private charges will vary from
practice to practice and region to region, so shop around for the best deal. If a friend
has had their teeth whitened by a dental professional, talk to them too
- Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, whitening toothpastes may be effective at removing staining, helping to restore the natural colour of your teeth
The Smart Clinics Dentistry, London
There are a choice of two highly equipped cosmetic dentistry studios in London:
Dentists also offer a full range of services from cosmetic and general dentistry to root canal treatment and implantology.
Members of our dentistry scheme benefit from:
- 2 dental examinations a year (including X-rays when necessary)
- 2 dental hygiene appointments during the year
- 20% off all dental treatments
- 50% off home teeth whitening kit
- £30 per month or £25 per month when taken in addition to medical scheme membership
For more information contact email@example.com.
Non-members are also welcome to access our services. Please contact us for a quote or more information.
Private Healthcare London
The Smart Clinics is a private healthcare company established in 2013, offering a membership-based alternative to NHS care for individuals and families.
The Company describes itself as:
London’s pre-eminent integrated healthcare clinics
The company offers patients a choice of two conveniently located and comfortably equipped clinics at Brompton Cross (South Kensington) and Wandsworth.
Telephone our team on 020 7052 0070.