A recent BBC report warns people to be aware of illegal tooth whitening after a number of beauticians have been found performing illegal teeth whitening procedures. Unfortunately this illegal practice is happening across the UK, and in Leeds too, so we recommend that you carry out some research, before you choose teeth whitening.
The BBC’s undercover reporting team even secretly filmed one rogue beautician providing treatment with Hydrogen Peroxide at illegal levels of 25%. This is much higher than the acceptable levels allowed at dental practices where dentists and dental hygienists have to be registered with the General Dental Council before they are legally allowed to provide teeth whitening in the UK.
The General Dental Council (GDC) has said that it has seen the number of illegal treatments rise and that they are concerned that peoples health is being put at risk.
Not only can unqualified and unregistered providers of illegal teeth whitening be putting peoples health at risk and causing irreversible damage, they are often causing excruciating pain for their clients who are receiving the treatment. It is not unusual for your teeth and mouth to feel raw and sore and for sharp pain to last for even days. People often think they are getting a good deal by getting cheap teeth whitening from a beautician or beauty therapist. What they don’t realise are the serious risks they are taking.
The GDC’s head of illegal practice, Francesca Keen, said: “If you’re seeing someone on the high street that’s attended a one day course and putting that into perspective – dentists attend a five year training programme in order to qualify – you’re putting yourself in harm’s way.”
To check if the person you are planning on getting treatment from is regsitered to provide it, you can search for them on the GDC Register. If they are not regsitered, you could choose to report them to Trading Standards.
At FHDC we have written a Free Teeth Whitening Guide if you are considering teeth whitening. This can help inform you before even visiting the practice. Not everyone is suitable for tooth whitening and if you are note sure we would always suggest booking an appointment with your dentist to have a chat about your suitability.
We offer two whitening options at FHDC…
Boutique Teeth Whitening is our recommended at home system where you will be provided with personalised ‘whitening trays’ which are similar to a gum shield and syringes of teeth whitening agent that is suitable for at home application.
If you would prefer a stronger whitening agent, this must be applied in surgery by either your dentist or dental hygienist. At FHDC we prefer the Enlighten Teeth Whitening system for in surgery whitening.
Crackdown On Illegal Teeth Whitening
Spas and salons carrying out dangerous teeth whitening have nowhere to hide, after a landmark legal case.
An MP has hailed the potential to finally target the lucrative high-street industry – with beauticians at risk of prosecution and heavy fines. And Sir Paul Beresford – a key player in the British Dental Bleaching Society – has unveiled a package of measures to ensure the crackdown is a success.
The move follows a victory for the General Dental Council (GDC), which won a legal battle to establish that anyone performing bleaching is carrying out dentistry.
In his ruling, on beauty therapist Lorna Jamous, Lord Justice Moss said: ‘The public is to be protected from treatment offered by those who are not qualified as professionals.’
A growing number of businesses are believed to be offering illegal teeth whitening in an industry put at £8 million a year in one estimate.
But Sir Paul, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on dentistry, said: ‘Now there will be nowhere to hide for these places. The GDC has proved, legally, that if someone does bleaching it is considered to be part of dentistry.
‘They have got the legal decision now, which means they are able to take this issue on with much more strength. And the whole profession is pulling together, including organisations such as the British Dental Bleaching Society.’
To ensure the momentum is kept up, Sir Paul, Conservative MP for Mole Valley, said the Society would:
- Allow dentists to report cases of damage from illegal whitening on its website, evidence which would be passed to the GDC
- Also urge dentists to send photographs of such damage, to be sent on to the GDC
- Press local authority trading standards officers to take action against anyone using illegal materials, or solutions above permitted strengths.
- Meet with department of health ministers and officials to push for Government help, probably in October.
- Press the GDC to write warning letters to businesses known to be bleaching. to explain the implication of the legal ruling, urge them to stop – or face legal action.
Sir Paul said the Society had already written to the GDC chairman on the last point, adding: “I had a positive response. In the past, the GCD has been remarkably slow in taking action, but now this case gives them the strength to do much more about it – and I hope they will.”
The GDC has already reported a worrying rise in complaints about whitening – up from 390 in the whole of 2012, to 700 in the first three months of this year alone.
If you would like to see a new dentist or dental hygienist, you can register with us online here.
Government and Trading Standards must step up and deal with the illegal practice of teeth whitening following the new European Directive
It is feared emphasis will focus on where the non-registrants obtained the product, rather than the fact it is being used and compromising patient safety.
Dr Stuart Johnston, (above) a member of the BDA’s principal executive committee, and chair of the Council of European Dentists’ Working Group on Whitening Products, speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dentistry also warned there were variations on how Trading Standards officers across the country interpret the Dental Act.
He added: “It also depends on where they place tooth whitening in terms of priorities, they are probably under resourced. What we have to try to do is raise the profile of tooth whitening higher up their ladder so it is an area they act on. There are some big players out there and, if we could get action against some of those, the example would be set and it would be much easier to deal with the smaller players then as they will see businesses ceasing.
“We will continue to work with the department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to try to get a solution. We want BIS to try to co-ordinate or lead with Trading Standards to get a uniform implementation. The legislation as it is, but we need getting co-ordinated action is needed.”
Dr Johnston also said action was needed to tackle supplies being sold online through Amazon and eBay as the companies would become liable as the provider and the internet was the only place products would now be available to non-dentists.
He told a meeting in Westminster that dentists need to be vigilant and report non-dentists offering tooth whitening to both their local Trading Standards department and to the GDC, and for both agencies to take robust action in response to such reports.
The comments coincide with the implementation of the European Council’s directive on tooth whitening products in the UK on 31 October. This legislative change means tooth whitening products containing or releasing between 0.1 and 6% hydrogen peroxide can now only be sold to dental practitioners and that their first use must be by a dental professional in a dental setting.
Dr Johnston added: ‘The transposition of the European Directive into UK law makes possible a new era of patient safety in tooth whitening. We must now make that possibility a reality. Dentists must be diligent in reporting any non-dentists performing whitening, and Trading Standards and the GDC must put safety first and take action to protect the public.
‘Often whitening by non-dentists is also performed using dangerous chemicals such as chlorine dioxide and sodium perborate which can result in severely burnt gums. It is time to put an end to unsafe, illegal whitening.’
The GDC fears that while the change should signal an end to non-dentists providing whitening treatments, the illegal practices on the high street will continue.
And Greg Stafford, from the GDC, said that while it takes the issue seriously and will prosecute, it is ‘hampered by a lack of powers’.
“We do not have powers to enter a property to see if the practice is going on, we can do it when they pop up in shopping centres but behind closed doors it is very difficult to prove. We need evidence of patient harm. We do not have a great deal of sanction we can impose.”
GDC solicitor Tessa Nejranowski, from the illegal practice team, said there was a trial next month and they were “committed and focused on protecting the public.”
Currently, fines of £5,000 can be imposed on non registrants carrying out whitening but the meeting heard how it was a derisive amount and the cash could be easily recouped through more whitening procedures.
The GDC was questioned as to why it could not use other laws to secure prosecutions instead of just the Dental Act which covers the illegal practice. Mr Stafford said that most people practising the illegal whitening would not believe they were going to cause damage.
The British Dental Trade Association is calling on the beauty industry to ensure its members – and those who train them – to leave whitening to those who can provide it both legally and safely.
By Anika Bourley, parliamentary correspondent