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envisage Happiness Blog: Smile Makeover

Tooth Whitening History + Safety

Tooth Whitening History + Safety

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Dr Celehte Fortuin in Smile Makeover (clinic: Emsworth)


Modern day tooth whitening is carried out using Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide. The effectiveness of these agents was discovered quite by accident. Dentists were using Carbamide Peroxide to aid with gum healing following surgery, and found that the teeth were being made whiter. Many other agents have been used but Carbamide Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide give the best long term results and most importantly are safe to the teeth.

So is tooth whitening safe? It can be, but it isn't always.

I would only advise that a suitably trained dentist/dental professional carries out tooth whitening. The General Dental Council agree and they have taken illegal tooth whiteners through the legal system.

Firstly the diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan needs to be made. You also need to be aware of the pros and cons of the system being recommended. Only someone with a thorough understanding of the anatomy and physiology of teeth and the soft tissues etc. can make this judgement.

The choice of tooth whitening product is important. It has to be safe, effective and give good results. Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide have the best track record (in both safety and effectiveness), however if the concentration is too low it will not be effective. The only people who are allowed to prescribe it in concentrations that are effective are dentists.

Warning: Some of the systems used by non-dentists give immediate spectacular results. Chlorine Dioxide for example makes teeth very white, but it is very acidic and strips the enamel from the teeth. It is NOT reversible. It damages the surface of the teeth such that they pick up staining very rapidly, and this is very difficult to remedy. They are left rough and often permanently sensitive.

I know a number of dentists who have asked at tooth whitening booths in shopping centres what they use, and have never had an answer. Some have even been escorted out by security! It concerns us greatly as a profession that people are allowing unknown chemicals to be applied to their teeth, by non-dental professionals.

Our enVisage dental clinic in Emsworth offers tooth whitening and has a wealth of experience in different systems. Our team have carried out post-graduate training in tooth whitening to ensure we can offer care which puts your health and well-being at the core of everything we do. Being a Gold Member of the British Dental Bleaching Society has helped me ensure that all those at my practice are providing treatment to high standards and treatment that the profession would consider to be best practice.

If you are interested in whitening or any of our services then do call our reception team on 01243 375588, or email on [email protected].

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