New research has found that the illegal tooth whitening industry is still alive and kicking, and is being driven by single adults in the UK.
The Oral Health Foundation carried out a poll that discovered thousands of UK adults admitting to having teeth whitening treatment by untrained and illegal providers. The figures show that on average 24% of single adults had undergone teeth whitening, but shockingly almost half of them did this using an illegal provider.
Potential Health Risks
Tooth whitening is a legitimate and beneficial treatment that is offered in the UK by specially trained dentists through their registered dental practice. Anyone considering having their teeth whitened are advised to do so not only correctly, but safely too through their own professional dentist. Most dental surgeries already offer a range of whitening treatments, but should your dental practice not offer teeth whitening, then your dentist will be able to recommend a fellow professional that can carry this out for you.
When done incorrectly by illegal or untrained providers, tooth whitening can lead to severe chemical burns and the possibility of tooth loss and permanent scarring. In some cases the adverse effects can be so bad that it can affect your breathing and ability to eat properly.
Illegal Treatments can be more Costly
Tooth whitening became illegal for anyone other than a trained dentist to perform back in 2011. While it may be tempting to have your teeth whitened on the cheap by an illegal provider, the long term costs and risks to your health may be more costly than choosing treatment from a qualified professional.
Yes, it may cost a little more to have your teeth whitened by your dentist, but you will be reassured that by doing so you are in safe hands. It may seem the convenient option to have the treatment done by beauticians at your local salon, especially if you are going there for other treatments at the same time, but you have to remember that beauticians are not qualified medical dentists.
Every year since 2011, the General Dental Council has brought about prosecutions for illegal treatments with 100% success rate. That just shows you how risky it is to place your health in the hands of untrained providers. But with the tooth whitening industry currently worth £40 million annually, and still growing, there are lots of unscrupulous people willing to take a risk with your health.
Safe Treatment from your Dentist
To have safe teeth whitening treatments from your dentist, you will need to make several visit over a few weeks. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to form a mouth guard. This is then used with a special bleaching gel that you use over a period of around two to four weeks.
An alternative option that your dentist may offer is laser whitening. Your dentist will paint on a safe bleaching product over your teeth and use a laser or special light to activate the whitening element. Laser whitening usually takes about an hour to complete.
If you are interested in having your teeth whitened, then it is best to book a consultation with your dentist. They will give you a complete oral examination and discuss your best option.