I was looking for additional information on the North Carolina Dental Board Vs. the Federal Trade Commission and I came across this interesting piece from our friends across the pond in the U.K.
But if DIY is a worry, what about High Street salons offering teeth whitening as a cosmetic treatment performed by a beautician?The fact is, if the patient is considering teeth whitening, see your dentist - at least for an examination. You can do damage to yourself (financial or otherwise) and your teeth by either doing it yourself or going to a non-dental salon or mall kiosk.
In the past three years alone, the General Dental Council (GDC) has received more than 600 complaints about whitening procedures performed in salons and clinics by beauty therapists.
The organisation classifies tooth whitening as dentistry, and so says it is illegal for anyone not registered with the GDC to perform the procedure.
The organisation launches criminal proceedings in the High Court tomorrow against three individuals and two companies offering teeth whitening.
There are other concerns about tooth whitening — discoloured teeth can be a sign of a dental problem, says Professor Eder. Before teeth whitening, ‘one needs to be assessed as being dentally fit’.
‘While teeth may be stained on the surface, tooth discolouration may also be caused by more significant problems such as decay, or even an abscess,’ he adds.
And just as worrying, ‘Unfortunately, no one knows the long-term effects of many of the currently available bleaching products, whether designed for in-surgery or home bleaching, particularly on the tissues deep inside the teeth,’ says Professor Eder. ‘Teeth are porous, so whatever you put on the enamel, and especially on the deeper dentine, may have an effect deep inside the tooth over many years.’
The good news is occasional use of a home-kit should do no lasting hurt — if used for ‘short periods, as advised, with safe percentages of products’, says Professor Eder. However, avoid ‘repeated long-term use of anything acidic or abrasive, because over ten to 20 years this will cause enamel damage’, and possibly much worse.
Somehow, I am no longer so keen on teeth whitening, as my regular dentist, who had always been so pleasingly complimentary about my teeth, was now lamenting my thin enamel and receding gums. It could be that my bleaching habit has been the cause, although other possible culprits include an acid diet or too many fizzy drinks.
But for the big occasions? I suspect I’ll still crack open a whitening strip — though probably not for the school run.