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DIY Dentistry – Know The Risks

It goes without saying, having beautifully white teeth really improves your appearance. It makes you look younger, healthier and more attractive – what more could you want, right? We have an increasing obsession with achieving the perfect grin but with some people turning to ‘do it yourself’ kits bought over the internet, is this really a healthy obsession?

In the UK, the rules are very clear, “only registered dentists may carry out teeth whitening” but this does not extend to home whitening kits. So, what are the pros and cons of home whitening? Why go to the expense of getting it done by a qualified dentist?

It is true that over the counter whitening products are cheaper, appear easy to use and are easily available. Unfortunately, they are not the bargain they appear to be. According to the BDA (British Dental Association)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.”

Too strong and you risk damaging delicate gums and more often the case, to make them safe enough to use by an unskilled person,  they are too weak, therefore not capable of producing a good effect. An over-the-counter kit must contain less than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, whereas a dentist can legally use up to 6% hydrogen peroxide.

Part of the whitening process at the dentist involves taking an impression of your teeth to create a mouth guard. This is essentially a custom made tray to put the whitening product in. If you buy a home kit, the tray will not be designed for your mouth shape and you risk leakage.  Not a pleasant thought when you consider this is hydrogen peroxide spilling into your mouth! I like my cocktails bitter – but this is a step too far.

Tooth whitening at the Dentist is a safe practice. It does not change the surface of the teeth like some cosmetic procedures and is easy to look after. It does, however, rely on your highly trained Dentist’s understanding of your teeth and the product being used. If you use a home whitening kit, you lose that reassurance.

So, the simple answer to this is steer clear of the quick fix. You wouldn’t do your own root canal, so why would you try to perform a whitening procedure? Bleaching your own hair is risky enough, bleaching your own teeth, a recipe for disaster. Stick with the professional and you really will be smiling, with added sparkle.