Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The General Dental Council to Stamp Out Illegal Tooth Whitening

While the argument continues as to whether or not over the counter tooth whitening products are both safe an effective, the UK’s General Dental Council have started their own battle against unlicensed and unqualified individuals offering tooth whitening services.

On the 26th October 2006 the General Dental Council (GDC) started their battle against individuals offering tooth whitening treatments when they are not qualified to perform the tooth whitening procedure.

It was stated that the GDC believe, in the interest of public safety, tooth whitening procedures or clinical advice about such treatments should only be offered by qualified dental practitioners. Any information passed to the GDC that might in anyway indicate that dentistry, cosmetic or otherwise, including any form of tooth whitening procedure, is being practiced illegally will be investigated.

It has been highlighted that under section 38 of the Dentists Act 1984 (as amended) it is a criminal offence for anyone who is not registered with the GDC (or, in exceptional circumstances someone who is registered with another dentistry body) to practise dentistry (which includes all work inside a person’s mouth) in the UK.

From the 31st July 2008 dental care controls are expected to tighten with no one being able to work in the dental industry, in the UK, including all dental therapists and dental hygienists as well as family and cosmetic dentists without being registered with the GDC.

Focus is also being placed on over the counter tooth whitening products in the interest of consumer safety. For many years ‘over the counter’ tooth whitening products such as tray based tooth whitening, tooth whitening strips and more recently home based laser whitening products have been recognised as cosmetic products in European directives. With new legislation in the offing the range of tooth whitening products offered within the European Community is expected to increase but with it comes the possibility of tighter controls over tooth whitening products that contain more than 6% hydrogen peroxide.

In the wake of such tighter controls will come the questions as to how dangerous are chair based tooth whitening procedures and what level of training is required to become competent in the tooth whitening industry. Also, will the ongoing increasing regulations restrict the availability of effective home based tooth whitening products in the future and will everyone in the UK have to fork out £500 a shot for the luxury of a whiter smile.

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