As teeth whitening becomes increasingly popular (especially among the under-35 age group), we’re asked more questions pertaining to its safety. The answer to ‘is teeth whitening safe’ isn’t a straight one and that’s because there are two variables: the whitening product in question and the person administering it.
At Randwick Smiles we are committed to ensuring a safe and effective whitening experience for all of our patients, but for the purposes of today’s blog topic, we’re going to look at the bigger picture and the broader public debate about the safety of teeth whitening.
How Safe Is Teeth Whitening?
It probably comes as no surprise to hear that our selfie-driven lifestyle really has put the spotlight on whiter teeth and whitening products abound in response to that demand. The Australia Dental Association pegs 2016 as the year that really saw competition amongst providers intensify, bringing with it an onslaught of over-the-counter products as well as whitening services that were not administered by dental professionals.
The Question Of Product Quality
While we know that professional-grade whitening products like Zoom and Opalescence are safe because they have been tried and tested, and they have a reputable track record, cheaper brands do not offer the same level of assurance.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening products have tried to undercut one another in an attempt to offer the cheapest teeth whitening to the consumer – and the price point has been the focus of the product, not the safety factor.
In order to whiten teeth safely, a whitening product must protect the tooth enamel and should offer remineralisation during bleaching.
Sometimes, brands claim to be natural or to offer whitening alternatives that don’t include hydrogen peroxide. Products containing citric acid should be avoided, because this can soften and erode your tooth enamel. Exposing the dentin can cause it to turn yellow. Products containing chemicals like sodium perborate and sodium chlorite can also react with acids, affecting the enamel of your teeth.
The Dental Board of Australia and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have regulated the administration of teeth whitening products in an effort to improve safety levels. According to Section 121 of the National Law it is an offence for anyone who is not a registered dental or medical practitioner to administer teeth whitening products that contain more than 6% hydrogen peroxide or 18% hydrogen carbamide.
The Responsibility Of The Provider
The restrictions placed on teeth whitening have made a positive contribution because, research from the ADA has revealed that many consumers are self-administering the whitening products and are largely unaware of the risks they face. This is evidenced by the fact that many of them are whitening too often or leaving the bleach on their teeth for much longer than recommended.
It has also been revealed that a portion of patients who get take-home whitening kits from their dentists are also leaving the product on their teeth for too long, in the hopes of achieving a whiter smile, or getting results faster. This may be despite receiving instructions to the contrary.
The issue of whitening advertising has also been brought to the fore, with the ADA claiming that some dental and non-dental providers may be using misleading imagery or text to sell a shade of white that may not be attainable by every patient. As such, the ADA has reminded practitioners to familiarise themselves with the Australian Consumer Law, in order to ensure compliance.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
At Randwick Smiles we protect our patients by ensuring all of our patients must have a pre-whitening assessment and professional clean. This is to ensure your teeth are strong enough and free of decay in order to benefit from whitening. It also ensures that you have some guidance and intervention from a professional – and this always makes for a safer experience.
We only work with reputable brands like Zoom and Opalescence because they are safe and their results are predictable. There are lots of options out, and many of them might be cheaper. At Randwick Smiles we know that cheaper is not always better and we prioritise quality and safety over cheap teeth whitening products.
We ensure that our patients are informed and educated about whitening before they go home with a kit. We will reiterate the importance of sticking to your schedule and managing the duration of each bleaching session accurately.
You do not need to take any risk when it comes to teeth whitening if you whiten with Randwick Smiles. If you’re still wondering is teeth whitening safe, it’s time to speak to a professional. Please give us a call: (02) 8188 4625.