Whitening treatment at salon leaves mum with painful burns

Mailonline health reporter Vanessa Chalmers describes 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.

Áoife Wills, from Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland, fears she has ‘permanent damage’ and will need a gum graft because of the beauty salon treatment.  It is now becoming more widely understood that teeth whitening should always be done by a dentist because they are qualified to do it correctly. Ms Wills claims the salon – which hasn’t been named – did not use a protective gel.

Photos showed Ms Wills’ blackened skin around her top teeth after teeth whitening.  They were captioned by Aoife:  ‘Just a warning to people!! On Saturday I went to a beauty salon in Monaghan to get my teeth whitened.  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 being damaged.  I am very lucky.

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!’

Aoife pleaded with anyone eriously anyone looking to get teeth whitened to please go to a dentist and get it done correctly!

Tooth whitening is a procedure which uses bleach powder or gel to lighten enamel on teeth by several shades.   According to the NHS website, tooth whitening is a form of dentistry which should only be carried out by qualified professionals.  If carried out in beauty salons by staff either untrained or lacking the correct dental qualifications, it is illegal. 

Risks include an ill-fitting mouthguard, which may cause bleaching gel to leak onto gums and into the mouth, causing blistering and sensitivity.   It can also discolour the skin because the soft tissue is damaged by the bleaching agents and chemicals in the product.   

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, the NHS say. 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.

DIY home teeth whitening kits also carry risks, as well as being less effective. The mouthguard provided may not fit properly so some of the bleaching gel may leak out onto the gums and into the mouth, causing blistering and sensitivity.

The British Dentist Association say that some home-kits contain dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide – more than 33 per cent. High level bleaching gels can cause mouth infections, blistering and burns to gums, damage to nerves and tooth enamel, and gum-shrinking.  

You can only have your teeth whitened on the NHS if there’s a medical reason for it. 

Aoife added: ‘Thank you everyone for your comments and shares. Lesson learnt – only ever let a dentist near your teeth.’

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