Over recent years, teeth whitening has grown in prominence as more and more people seek a cost effective 'celebrity' smile. With tooth whitening products cheaply available in chemists, TV shopping channels and the internet and a number of beauty salons and mobile operators offering the service at low cost many people are starting to question whether it is necessary to see a dentist for the procedure.
The short answer is that it is very much necessary to see a dentist for teeth whitening and there are four main reasons for this:
- It's the law. The Cosmetics Products (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 came into force on 1 November 2012 and clarified the situation regarding teeth whitening. In particular, it set a legal maximum hydrogen peroxide concentration of 6% in the whitening gel (or, for carbamide peroxide, 18% concentration) and stipulated that these products may only be supplied to dental practitioners who must administer the first application of gels. Therefore, it is illegal for beauty salons to provide gel based teeth whitening (unless a dentist is undertaking the work) and many of the products sold on-line are also in excess of the maximum 0.1% hydrogen peroxide concentration permitted for non-dentists to supply.
- Dentists will assess your suitability for the process before undertaking it. This means that they will check that you are dentally fit and that the process is likely to give the results you are looking for. In addition, if a problem does arise during the whitening procedure, they will know what to do about it.
- Dentists use reputable dental suppliers for their whitening products giving you the peace of mind that the gels in use have been properly tested, are safe and are suitable for teeth whitening.
- The whitening products used by dentists actually work. The maximum hydrogen peroxide concentration permitted for over the counter products sold in chemists etc. is 0.1% and this is not sufficient to whiten teeth.