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7 Things you didn't know about tooth whitening

Posted by Robert Pilcher

TOOTH WHITENING. Not that old chestnut again! Every man and his dog seems to be doing these days. Beauticians, Hairdressers, buy it off the internet. Well the law changed November 2012 as to who can do what to whom.

This latest information has been released by the British Dental Association (www.bda.org/whitening).

1. Whitening is safe. If carried out by a trained dental professional, whitening is perfectly safe. Based on their knowledge of your oral health your dentist will discuss with you the options available, decide if tooth whitening is appropriate for you and develop an overall treatment plan that gives the desired result. (At Abbey Dental Practice, your Dentist will carry out a cancer examination, a gum disease examination, and a decay/filling/crown examination to ensure that there are no underlying problems. Do you know what infection control procedures are in place at the Beautician's etc. There are very strict and monitored procedures for Dental Practices, with severe consequences for breach by Dental Practices - GDC, CQC, and the Department of Health publication - HTM 01-05)

2. Only Trained Dental Professionals Can Whiten Teeth. It is illegal for anyone other than dentists or their teams to carry out teeth whitening. Anyone else offering teeth whitening (e.g. beauticians, hairdressers, and salon staff) won't have the right training and knowledge, could permanently damage your teeth and gums and can't help when something goes wrong.

3. The Preferred Option. Whitening won't remove the surface of your teeth or change their shape. It's often a better option than alternatives, such as veneers, because it doesn't involve permanently altering the tooth's structure and is easy to look after.

4. Selecting the Right Product for YOU. Your dentist is trained to know what whitening products will be safe for you teeth and gums. Products provided by non-dentists often do not have enough safety data and evidence to support their use; this can result in burned gums and/or blistered lips or even more serious consequences. Using products that are not appropriate for you will produce poor results.

5. How it works. A carefully-controlled concentration of bleach is applied to your teeth using specially made trays that fit in your mouth. Your Dentist will be able to discuss with you the level of whitening you want and give you an idea of how many treatments you may need to achieve the shade you're after.

6. What to expect. You may experience some sensitivity for a short time during your treatment but this is normal and will soon fade away after completion.

7. Over the counter kits may not be safe. The products you can buy online or from high street shops often fail to declare the precise chemicals used so it's very difficult to assess their safety. Because of this they should not be considered safe. These products won't produce the same good results you can expect by visiting your Dentist.

Every month The General Dental Council is prosecuting individuals who practice illegal tooth whitening.

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