Untrained teams under spotlight

GOOD PRACTICE: The General Dental Council wants tougher rules introduced about who is allowed to carry out teeth whitening.
GOOD PRACTICE: The General Dental Council wants tougher rules introduced about who is allowed to carry out teeth whitening.

HIGH street teeth whitening services have come under the spotlight after a national body raised concerns about their safety.

The General Dental Council (GDC) said it has had hundreds of complaints about the treatment being offered by people who are not registered dental professionals.

It wants tougher controls introduced and has already brought one prosecution against a non-dental professional who carried out teeth whitening treatments.

Dentist Graeme Tattersfield, of Thornhill Dental Practice in Dewsbury, said the law classed teeth whitening as a dental practice, which meant it should only be carried out by qualified professionals.

“The dilemma is that some beauty parlours and others are doing teeth whitening,” he said. “Even though whitening may appear a simple procedure, people need to ensure that the person is a trained dental professional.

“You might find in certain shopping precincts that it is qualified dentists doing it and that’s not a problem. It’s worthwhile checking that these people are GDC- registered.”

He said teeth whitening itself posed no risk when carried out properly, but could aggravate underlying gum problems that non-dental professionals might miss.

Sandra Sunderland, owner of the Tip Tap Toe salon in Mirfield, said the treatment had become popular with her clients.

“A lot of people ask about it and they want to know it’s not just any Tom, Dick or Harry doing it,” she said.

“We use a private company that offers teeth whitening and goes round different salons. They’re not allowed to treat anyone until their fully qualified. We’re always careful and if there’s any reason they think the treatment isn’t right for the client, we refer them back to their dentist for advice.”

A GDC survey found that 80 per cent of the 1,021 adults polled thought that teeth whitening should be carried out only by a registered, trained and qualified dental professional.

What do you think? Have you had a bad teeth whitening experience? Email dewsburyeditorial@ywng.co.uk or write to us at the address on the letters’ page.