While authorised medical practitioners regularly give warnings about the dangers of home teeth-whitening kits, high street establishments giving consumers the chance to achieve the bright white smile of their dreams have been on the rise in recent times.
Although the facilities are a low-cost option for cash-strapped patients, a lack of qualified practitioners in this sector means members of the public are putting their health at risk by undergoing the procedures in an unsafe environment.
However, this could all be about to change thanks to a landmark legal case.
The General Dental Council (GDC) recently won a battle to establish that any practitioner that is performing teeth bleaching is in fact carrying out dentistry. This means the public will be protected from treatment offered by those who are not qualified professionals.
Hailing the case, Conservative MP Sir Paul Beresford unveiled a range of measures aiming to ensure the crackdown will be a success.
As part of his role in the British Dental Bleaching Society, the official vowed to allow dentists to report cases of damage from illegal whitening, with details then being passed to the GDC.
In addition, the body pledged to press the GDC to issue warning letters to businesses that are known to be providing bleaching treatments in a bid to explain the implications of the legal ruling – and urging them to stop providing such procedures.
The measures aim to address the issue, which has seen a growing number of companies offering low-cost teeth whitening.
Commenting on the aims, Sir Paul 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.”
Qualified dentists could promote the importance of certified teeth whitening procedures through dental marketing posters and leaflets, giving clear information to patients about the potential dangers.