Dental Association Highlights Potential Breaches of New Teeth Whitening Directive

From the Irish Dental Association website February 21st 2013

The Irish Dental Association has expressed serious concern that a number of businesses which offer tooth whitening services here in Ireland could be operating illegally.

The warning comes after four tooth whitening businesses failed to provide details on the gels they use for tooth whitening, while only one of the four said their clients were examined by a dentist.

A new European Council Directive places an outright ban on the use and sale of tooth whitening products which contain over 6% hydrogen peroxide – the chemical used in tooth whitening. Furthermore, products containing more than 0.1% and up to 6% hydrogen peroxide can only be administered in the first instance by a dentist, and thereafter on the prescription of a dentist. Tooth whitening is also restricted to those over 18 years of age.  Any course of tooth whitening has to be preceded by a full clinical examination to ensure the suitability of the case, in particular the absence of any oral pathology.

The Irish Dental Association’s Dr Tom Feeney: “We are very concerned at the latest revelations. The purpose of the new Cosmetics’ Directive was to properly regulate the whole tooth whitening sector and to put an end to unregulated operators, in the interests of patient safety.  Many of the tooth whitening shops claim rapid success in the bleaching process but are extremely reluctant to disclose the active ingredient in the gels they apply. This would raise suspicions that illegal concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are being used as rapid one visit tooth bleaching is not possible with legal concentrations”

Dr. Feeney also said that the IDA has serious concerns about the training and qualifications of many of the personnel carrying out the procedure. “Only one of the four businesses contacted said a dentist examined clients. We believe this is wrong and that a dentist must always examine the patient to determine whether tooth whitening is a suitable treatment option and to ensure the absence of risk factors in the mouth. In addition tooth whitening is not appropriate for pregnant women or heavy drinkers or smokers. When these new regulations were introduced last November we welcomed them as they ensure that qualified dentists are carrying out what is a dental procedure, that safe products are being used and that the treatment is restricted to those over 18. However the regulations must be enforced” Dr Feeney said.

Irish Dental Association Advice to the Public on Teeth Whitening:

1.      Only go to regulated professionals, i.e. dentists

2.      If in doubt ask for the Dental Council Registration Number

3.      Ask for the product used and its concentration

4.      If a light is being used ask why - it has no effect

5.      Any concerns: contact the Irish Medicines Board

Teeth Whitening at Crescent Dental Limerick

At Crescent Dental all whitening procedures are carried out by fully qualified and highly experienced dental surgeons. We use the market-leading Zoom! Whitening system. Our In-Surgery whitening procedure uses the Zoom! 18% carbamide peroxide gel (equivalent to 6% hydrogen peroxide) which is fully compliant with the new EU directive. Patients who undergo the In-surgery teeth whitening procedure at Crescent Dental will also be given a custom made tray along with Zoom! Nite White gel to use at home. The Nite White product uses either 16% carbamide peroxide or 10% carbamide peroxide and both products are fully compliant with the new rules.