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TEETH WHITENING

Teeth whitening is an increasingly popular procedure. It can lead to serious complications with your oral health if not administered by a professional.

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WHAT IS TEETH WHITENING?

Teeth whitening is a procedure which uses bleach to whiten teeth. An amount of bleach is placed in fitted trays (upper and lower) and left for a period of time, making the teeth whiter. There’s no guarantee they will ‘perfect white’ however it can lighten your current colour by several shades.

WHO CAN ADMINISTER TEETH WHITENING?

Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should only be carried out by a dentist or another regulated dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or dental technician. They all require a prescription from a dentist.

Some beauty salons offer teeth whitening but this is illegal if there’s no dental professional present. It is also detrimental to your oral health and a risk that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You can buy DIY home teeth whitening kits online but these may also carry risks.

The long and short of it is you must seek professional advice. This is your body and you do not want any long term effects arising from a bad decision.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING TEETH WHITENING?

The dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make a bespoke mouthguard tray. You will be given instructions on how to use it combined with a bleaching gel. Using your mouthguard at home, you will apply the gel for a specified period of time agreed by your dentist to reach the desired shade.
You can use the trays every few months with some top up bleach to maintain your chosen colour.

CAN ANY DENTIST WHITEN TEETH?

Any dentist can whiten teeth as long as they’re registered with the General Dental Council. Registered dental therapists, dental hygienists and dental technicians can also carry out teeth whitening with a prescription from a dentist.

To find out if a dental professional is registered with the GDC you can check the online register or call 0207 167 6000.

WILL TEETH WHITENING WORK ON FALSE TEETH?

Teeth whitening doesn’t work on dentures, crowns, fillings or veneers.

WHAT IF I'M NOT HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS?

If you’re concerned that teeth whitening by a dental professional has harmed you, contact the Dental Complaints Service on 0208 253 0800. This is an expert, free and independent service that can help if you have a complaint about private dental care.

If you think your teeth whitening has been carried out illegally (that is, by someone not qualified or registered to perform it) contact the General Dental Council on 0207 167 6000 or email illegalpractice@gdc-uk.org.

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