In just over a week’s time the rules regarding teeth whitening are changing – how clear are you on the impact of these changes, how will it affect you, and how are patients and surgeries going to be affected?
There is certainly no doubt that teeth whitening needs tightening up. We’re all aware of just how many rogue companies there are going around offering teeth whitening services which are very often putting patients’ welfare and health at risk, all for the sake of making a fast buck.
There are also a frightening number of home and DIY teeth whitening kits available on the market which really shouldn’t be. Not only do many of these kits include chemicals which are far too dangerous to be used in teeth whitening, or contain hugely dangerous proportions of such chemicals, but in many cases the patients simply don’t know exactly how they should be using them.
In some cases patients have been provided with these kits by those same companies offering teeth whitening that is highly questionable, but the rules have been vague, ill defined and unsuitable for far too long.
Finally the EU has thrown something our way which is actually of real benefit, and will help to save patients’ welfare, health and teeth. But the new rules haven’t been widely discussed, and a worrying number of people don’t seem to have much idea about when the rules come into place, what they mean, and what the penalties are for non compliance.
So Here’s A Brief Rundown Of What These New Teeth Whitening Rules Are And How They Will Be Helping To Protect Patients In Future.
The first thing to know about these new teeth whitening rules is that they will be coming into effect on 31st October. Now that might be a date normally associated with scary witches on broomsticks, a character not typically associated with perfect white smiles, but Halloween or no, these new rules will come into force just as your pumpkin is starting to sag in the warmth.
The first main change to be aware of is that from 31st October teeth whitening products must not contain, or release, more than 6% of bleaching products such as hydrogen peroxide.
This means that any tooth whitening product must either have no more than 6% bleaching product present, or must not have more than 6% of the agent released. Some currently used products contain up to 16% carbamide peroxide, but generally only a third of this is actually released, which means that it will still come in under the 6% maximum allowed.
But there is a further restriction on this, and that is that any tooth whitening product which contains more than 0.1% bleaching agent cannot be issued to a patient without having first been administered by the dentist or dental professional.
This is to make sure that not only is the treatment administered correctly, demonstrating to the patient how it should be done, but if there are any adverse reactions the dentist can stop the treatment and help safeguard the welfare of the patient before any damage is done. Furthermore no such products are to be made available to under 18′s in future.
New Rules Clamp Down On Advertising
At the moment there are a number of dental surgeries offering ‘power tooth whitening’ or ‘fast tooth whitening’, but from the 31st October not only will such treatments no longer be available, since they usually exceed the new limitations in terms of the amount of bleaching agent present, but any advertisements will be considered to be in breach of the law.
Any breach of these new regulations will result in a criminal liability under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, with a maximum prison sentence of six months.
It is good news that these new rules will not only help to safeguard patients, but will also pull back the control and administering of teeth whitening treatments to dental professionals, severely limiting the proliferation of non professional teeth whitening service providers and the supply of unsuitable home kits.