One of the biggest beauty trends of 2016 was undoubtedly the rise of at-home teeth whitening. From the custom kits created by your dentist for at-home application, to the over-the-counter lotions and potions promising to deliver whiter teeth. This has led to an increase in individuals over whitening their teeth against the advice of their dentist and irreversibly damaging their teeth.
Although the majority of these kits are safe for at-home use, there’s also the risk that the kit you are buying is marked as safe but actually contains very different components. There has been an increase in prosecutions against people selling dangerous tooth whitening kits online, so how do you know if they kit you are using is safe?
What is dangerous about tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening was discovered when dentists would use hydrogen peroxide on patient’s gums to numb them during procedures. A side effect of this numbing treatment was that the patient’s teeth would be bleached as a result. This practice was later developed for aesthetic use and modern teeth whitening was born.
Most modern kits work by placing a hydrogen peroxide gel to a gum shield and then fixing it in your mouth for a duration of time. The whitening effect develops in the hours and days following. This can get dangerous when the chemicals used aren’t properly marked, or are much stronger than they should be. It can also be problematic when your gumshields aren’t customised, as this can lead to product leaking onto your gums.
How can I tell if it’s safe?
If your tooth whitening kit came from your dentist and you use it as instructed, then it should be safe. Tooth whitening kits from your dentist will come with custom gumshields that will prevent the whitening product from leaking onto your gums and causing irritation. They will also contain safe levels of tooth whitening solution that won’t cause chemical burns.
Even if you have the treatment done in a spa or salon, you still can’t assume that it is safe. Only dentists are trained to carry out tooth whitening treatments, and there has been an alarming increase in cosmetic surgery negligence claims against individuals offering tooth whitening procedures. Unfortunately for these victims, few salons will have the correct level of professional indemnity insurance to cover a claim.
If you are keen to get your teeth looking pearly white for the New Year, the only safe way to do this is with your dentist. A dentist will be able to advise you if you are dentally fit for tooth whitening, and they will also be able to offer aftercare advice. The allure of whiter teeth isn’t worth risking chemical burns to your tongue and gums, or permanent sensitivity and brittle teeth.
About the Author: Rebecca Harper is a freelance beauty writer interested in everything from the latest beauty treatments to the future of health technology. She works alongside Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors to research the rise in cosmetic surgery.