The desire to have a ‘celebrity smile’ has made teeth whitening one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the UK at present.
But should you scrimp on paying for a proper procedure by a qualified professional, smiling may be the last thing you feel like doing.
Recent research has suggested that many people are putting themselves at risk by choosing not to have the work carried out by a registered dental professional.
Instead, people are turning to unqualified beauty salons and therapists, who have seen the opportunity to cash in on the latest cosmetic trend.
According to a 5 Live Investigates report, The General Dental Council (GDC) has prosecuted 24 people this year – more than the entire of last year – for illegally offering teeth whitening services.
Unqualified to carry the work out themselves, some have been found to be selling teeth whitening kits – for as little as £50 – before talking customers through the procedure and allowing them to do it themselves.
Under the Dentists Act 1984, it’s illegal for anyone other than dentists or dental health professionals such as hygienists to carry out teeth whitening, and for very good reason.
Whilst the procedure is perfectly safe when carried out by a registered professional, as hydrogen peroxide is used to bleach teeth, permanent damage can be caused to teeth and gums, and chemical burns can be caused if mistakes are made.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has been clear in warning that anyone other than dental professionals won’t have the right training or knowledge, but with research suggesting that more than a third of adults have considered having their teeth whitened, more and more are making the mistake of not checking the legitimacy of those carrying out the work.
Those found to be breaking the law can, of course, face prosecution, and may be ordered to pay other costs including compensation to victims.
Unfortunately, through our work in supporting victims of dental negligence at Hudgell Solicitors, we all too often see how the dental profession is open to abuse by those looking to cash in on such trends.
We also see many patients who find themselves struggling to make claims for compensation following sub-standard treatment, as there is no legal requirement for dentists to have professional insurance.
We advise people to take great care and consideration when considering cosmetic dental work.
Firstly, make sure you choose a registered dentist, and ensure that they are qualified and have experience in the exact procedure you require (some take on procedures they have little experience in).
Most importantly, check that the dentist you use has insurance cover, as the pain will only be made worse by the possibility of having to foot the bill for any remedial work should anything go wrong.