In 2017, a nationwide poll revealed that single adults were in part responsible for the popularity of illegal tooth whitening. They were putting themselves at risk by having whitening treatment carried out by untrained, unregistered providers in the UK.
The poll results showed that twice as many single people have had their teeth whitened than those who have partners, and half of those did so illegally.
Not only are many people unaware of the dangers, but they are also attracted to what is a cheap option. However, since 2011, it has been illegal for anyone outside the dental profession to undertake tooth whitening treatments.
In spite of this, advertising is still taking place, which convinces people it must be legal if carried out by beauticians and salons.
There is good reason to avoid these tempting offers, given that the outcome may be very different indeed from what the patient expects. Severe chemical burns, permanent scarring, tooth loss and even impaired ability to eat or breathe, and all the pain that goes with these conditions. The cost to health could far exceed the supposed savings on treatment.
Given that tooth whitening is one of the fastest growing cosmetic procedures in the UK, driven by the quest for the ‘perfect’ smile, it is vital that patients consult their dentists, who will explain just how crucial it is to have professional treatment. There is a need for a full examination first, to make sure there is nothing going on in the mouth which – at least initially – precludes whitening.
It is important to note that every case of illegal whitening which has been brought by the General Dental Council has resulted in prosecution. Whilst it is recognised that some of the offenders don’t even realise that what they are doing is illegal, ignorance of the law is no excuse, even when they believe they have been trained by what turn out to be unscrupulous manufacturers.
The fines are unlimited, which means that illegal providers could face very serious financial consequences.Anyone who is considering going for a whiter smile should ask their dentist about Boutique Whitening.