Although it may appear to be obvious to most people, teeth whitening procedures – which use stronger whitening gels than are found in home whitening kits – should only be carried out by a dental professional. But some people in the United Kingdom are going to places other than a cosmetic dental clinic to receive teeth whitening and some other cosmetic dentistry treatments.
According to the General Dental Council (GDC), there have been several reports of beauty salons based in London which recently carried out this procedure; this treatment is unlawful if carried out by anybody other than a suitably trained dental professional.
The beauty salons in question are ignoring UK law by allowing their staff to carry out these types of risky and potentially dangerous tooth whitening treatments. In some cases, there were reports of unsafe chemical substances being used as tooth whitening gel which could cause severe burning to the gum tissue if the procedure is carried out incorrectly.
Some of the offending beauty clinics have been found to be using inappropriate chemicals to whiten teeth such as Chlorine Dioxide – which is a chemical more often present in industrial detergents. It is extremely acidic and could cause permanent damage to the enamel surface of the tooth. Furthermore, some clinics which unlawfully carry out teeth whitening procedures have been found to use hydrogen peroxide gel which is many times above the legal limit allowed by UK law. There have been many cases where the person receiving the treatment were left with chemical burns or damaged gums.
Dentists and other dental professionals study for many years to gain the correct graduate and post-graduate qualifications to be able to be in a position where they can provide a wide range of dental treatments. Beauty therapists, who at best attend a 3-day course and receive and unrecognized qualification – and in the worst cases receive no training what so ever – have been found to be illegally carrying out teeth whitening procedures in the UK. The number of clinics unlawfully offering teeth whitening has vastly increased over the past few years, as a result of which the GDC has taken steps to restrict the practice.
The GDC has ruled that it is illegal for individuals that are not qualified dental professionals to carry out any type of teeth whitening procedure. It also constitutes a criminal offense for people who are not registered with the GDC to carry out or provide advice on tooth whitening procedures. The GDC is focused on safeguarding the general public through investigations and prosecutions of individuals that are not registered performing such procedures.
It is highly improbable that any individual involved with unlawful teeth bleaching – working from a beauty salon or a providing the service at customer homes will be covered by any kind of public indemnity insurance policy, due to the practice being illegal.
Although it is against the law such individuals to perform teeth whitening on a customer it is completely legal for anyone to take a teeth whitening kit home and carry out the treatment on themselves; although home teeth whitening is strongly advised against by many dentists. Some people speculate that this loophole in the law could have contributed to the number of non-dental professionals unknowingly carrying out illegal procedures.
As the teeth whitening products may exacerbate pre-existing dental problems including gum disease, an oral examination should always be carried out prior to any treatment taking place. Such examinations can only be carried out by GDC registered dentists and any dental examination carried by an untrained individual would be illegal.
By choosing to undergo teeth whitening treatment at a dental clinic, it is the only way to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the procedure. Such clinics use accurately constructed molds – whilst providing protection to the gums and lips – and use advanced technology such as a medical laser to activate the bleaching gel. This ensures the most effective results through teeth whitening treatment which is carried out under highly controlled and regulated conditions.