Last week we had a patient who came to see us after having tooth whitening carried out at her beautician.  She was distressed because her teeth and gums had been very sensitive since the treatment and she’d noticed white patches on her gums.

Thankfully we could reassure her that no permanent damage seemed to have been done to her teeth this time, but it highlighted to me that there are still people out there who are carrying out illegal tooth whitening and patients are really suffering. 
Part of my job is to ensure that I do the best for my patients and I just thought I’d take a moment to give you all some advice about the benefits of having your teeth whitened by a dentist.

Its Legal
The law says that tooth whitening is a ‘dental procedure’ that should only be offered and carried out by qualified dental professionals.  To check your dentist is qualified ask for their GDC number and check on
All dentists and their practices must adhere to strict cross infection and decontamination guidelines. By having your teeth whitened by your dentist you can be confident of the highest standards of cleanliness. Meaning no risk of person-to-person transmission of infections.
Bespoke Treatment for Your Needs
Your dentist can tell you honestly whether tooth whitening will work for you and your teeth. Crowns, veneers and bridges do not whiten with tooth whitening products.  Your dentist can advise you on the best way to achieve a whiter smile when you already have crowns and veneers.

The law says that tooth whitening products containing or releasing more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide can now only be sold to a registered dental professional.  This means that you can be confident the products your dentist is using will have noticeable and long lasting whitening effect on your teeth.  Tooth whitening products or kits bought over the counter or on the internet do not release enough hydrogen peroxide to have a noticeable effect on your teeth.
You can be confident your dentist will be using tried and tested methods of tooth whitening with good clinical data to back them up. Please be aware of people who are not dentists offering ‘peroxide free’ tooth whitening treatments, some contain sodium perborate or chlorine dioxide and these can be very harmful. I’ve even heard of people using swimming pool chlorine to bleach their teeth – scary!
Because your dentist is the only person legally allowed to carry out tooth whitening, they will have insurance to cover this and all your other dental care.  Unfortunately if your whitening treatment is carried out by someone illegally they will have no insurance cover to protect you if they cause any damage to your teeth or gums.
For more information on safe tooth whitening please go to

Please stay safe if you’re considering whitening your teeth, and if you have any questions about whitening treatments please call us on 01236 421103, or email

There’s also information and patient videos about tooth whitening on our website