Whitening treatment at salon leaves mum with painful burns

Mailonline health reporter Vanessa Chalmers disclosed the unfortunate and painful experience one mother suffered from teeth whitening when her gums were left ‘severely burned’ after treatment at a beauty salon in 2019. Here is a summary of Vanessa’s report:

A young mother is looking at possibly having to endure a gum graft as a result of tooth whitening treatment given by a beauty salon. In the UK, only dentists and licensed professionals in dental practice can provide whitening treatment because they have the qualifications to carry it out both safely and effectively.

Some images were published showing the result of the beauty salon treatment – blackened gums above the top teeth. The victim of this treatment had this to say:   “I put my trust in these people to do their job correctly!  However, I have now been left with my gums severely burnt and in serious pain!  I had to go to the dentist today to get them checked and get an X-ray.  Thankfully my teeth haven’t been damaged.  I am very lucky.” She said that she wanted to warn people not to make the same mistake that she had. She continued:

However, they don’t yet know what way my gums are going to heal after this! Dentist explained that there should have been a protective gel put on the gums before the procedure which did not happen, it has nothing to do with my teeth or gums!

Tooth whitening involves the use of bleach in powder or gel form which aims at lightening the enamel of the teeth by various shades. The NHS website alerts people to the fact that only qualified professionals should give the treatment. Beauty salons and people working from their own homes may well have attended an online course, but this doesn’t mean that they have any understanding of dentistry, nor of the underlying problems which may prevent people having the treatment at all.

The mouthguards which are used by dentist are custom made to avoid leaking onto gums or into the mouth. Apart from discolouing the skin, there may be blistering and even internal damage if the leaked product is unintentionally swallowed.

The NHS states: “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 therapist, on the prescription of a dentist. If carried out in beauty salons by staff either untrained or without dental qualifications, the cosmetic procedure can put oral health at risk and is also illegal.”

It should be mentioned that DIY home teeth whitening kits are not only risky but also less effective. The mouthguard provided is unlikely to fit properly. Also, the product is much weaker because the stronger product used by dentists cannot be sold over the counter. Despite this, the British Dental Association revealed that some home whitening kits contain dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide, much higher than dentists themselves are allowed to use.

High level bleaching gels can cause mouth infections, blistering and burns to gums, damage to nerves and tooth enamel, and gum-shrinking as well as discoloration.  

The young mother who brought this to the public’s attention concluded: ‘Thank you, everyone, for your comments and shares. Lesson learned – only ever let a dentist near your teeth.’

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