Teeth Whitening 101

. Posted in General Dental

Everyone wants a whiter, brighter smile and everyone is looking towards teeth whitening for a dental miracle. With the popularity of teeth whitening soaring, there are a few questions that are often asked. Who is allowed to do perform teeth whitening? What are the dangers involved if someone who isn’t properly qualified treats you?

Let’s start with the basics… Is it dangerous?
According to The British Dental Association (BDA) Teeth Whitening is perfectly safe if carried out by a registered dental professional. However, the BDA warns that someone who does not have the right training and knowledge could cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums. For example, if the mouth guard containing the bleaching gel does not fit properly over one’s teeth, the gel may leak and cause painful chemical burns. In extreme cases, swallowing the bleaching product has resulted in illness. The BDA also states that beauticians, who aren’t properly trained, may not be able to determine if someone is suitable for teeth whitening based on their medical history.

Who is allowed to do it?
Under the Dentists Act 1984, it’s illegal for anyone other than dentists or dental health professionals, such as hygienists, to carry out teeth whitening.

What about home kits?
While only dental professionals can provide a teeth-whitening service, it is perfectly legal for someone to treat themselves with an over-the-counter kit, provided it contains less than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, which may not even contain enough whitening product to even be effective.

A dentist on the other hand, can legally use 6% hydrogen peroxide, to ensure successful whitening. This is a preferable concentration to achieve good results and minimal sensitivity. The British Dental Association says that often products bought online or from High Street shops fail to declare the precise chemicals used, so it is very difficult to assess their level of safety.

Some Teeth Whitening kits have been known to contain sodium perpetuate, which can cause infertility and fetal abnormalities.

Should I rather go to the dentist?
Yes, your dentist will be able to assess the state of your oral health and determine if Teeth Whitening is viable for you (this would include a cancer screen). In minutes, a dentist can mold a bleaching tray to a person’s mouth and prescribe a bleaching gel to go with it. When your dentist is involved, you minimize the risks—and you’re more apt to get quick treatment if any trouble develops.

What should I be using?
The 10% carbamide peroxide solution with a custom-fit tray is the only take-home teeth whitening treatment that the ADA feels comfortable recommending. Here’s the reason why: a lot of research, including a 2004 study from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, has shown that customized mouth guards help ensure that the bleach stays in contact with the teeth for maximum whitening, while minimizing the amount of potentially irritating bleach that can dribble onto the gums and soft tissues of the mouth. (In contrast to the one-size-only trays sold in drugstores.)

Still want that white smile? Come in and speak to us about our Dental O So Gentle Take Home Teeth Whitening System.

For more information go to our Teeth Whitening page or call us on (08) 6254 3770.

Sources: The British Dental Health Foundation, British Dental Association, General Dental Council and NHS