Monday, 26 November 2012

Teeth whitening - the end of in-surgery 'power' whitening?

Now that home whitening kits are fully legal, does this mean the end of in surgery whitening?

Prior to 31 October 2012, teeth whitening gels containing more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide were technically illegal.  However, many dentists offered in surgery power whitening using far stronger gels on the basis that the treatment was non-invasive and therefore in the best interests of the patient (the alternative - veneers - requires removal of part of the underlying tooth structure and is non-reversible) and this situation was largely tolerated by the relevant authorities.

On 31 October, the law was changed to permit whitening gels up to 6% hydrogen peroxide to be supplied by dentists.  This concentration is sufficient to give very good results when used for one hour a day over a two week period as part of a home whitening kit but is not strong enough to give the near-instant results expected from in-surgery whitening. 

Following the change in the law, most suppliers have withdrawn higher concentration gels.  Philips, who manufactured the popular 'Zoom' system wrote to dentists advising that they would no longer be supporting their stand mounted light which had been used to boost the gels during in-surgery procedures and Enlighten, another manufacturer of whitening kits has introduced a buyback scheme for redundant whitening lights.  Therefore, the clear indications are that, now we have legally available & effective whitening kits which give good home results, supplies of stronger gels will be impossible to obtain from the majority of providers.

So, if in-surgery whitening is a thing of the past, is the change in the law a good thing?  In a word, 'yes': it has clarified what was previously a very confused subject, it has legalised gels at a concentration which is sufficient to provide effective treatment and it has ensured that gels may only be supplied through dentists who have the necessary expertise to ensure that the patient is suitable for whitening.

At AllClear, we offer the Colgate MaxWhite Professional whitening kits for home use.  Before supplying the kit, we undertake a visual check of your teeth to ensure that you are dentally fit and that the treatment is likely to have the outcome you are seeking.  For further information or to book an appointment, please call in, phone 020 8688 3869 or see our website.

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