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Tooth Whitening: How to get it right

9 January 2017

Tooth Whitening: How to get it right

While demand remains high, tooth whitening has become a great source of confusion in recent years. The legalities and ethics of providing this treatment modality have been questioned repeatedly and any issues have been very much brought into the limelight.

As you’ll know, the EU Council Directive 2011/84/EU came into force in October 2012 in the UK. It stated that only dental professionals could use whitening products containing or releasing up to 6 per cent hydrogen peroxide, following an intraoral examination of patients of 18 years or older. While this seems simple on the surface, there are many grey areas still to be contended with, such as the level of supervision required by the dental professional during the first application.

Founder of the Bow Lane Dental Group, author of the best-selling book Brush, Past-President of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD) and renowned UK dentist James Goolnik comments:

“The regulations are confusing and have a level of ambiguity around them. For example, what is the "first application"? Some clinicians think you need to monitor a patient for the whole hour they have the whitening tray in their mouth. What a waste of clinical chair time to watch a patient with a whitening tray containing 10% carbamide peroxide.

“Other questions that regularly still come up include what percentage and what type of gel should be used for what application? Does the gel need to be refrigerated? How can a patient buy top-up gel? When does the prescription run out?”

Despite these uncertainties, when performed correctly, tooth whitening is an effective, safe and lucrative treatment option for dental practices to offer their patients. Modern societal perceptions place much emphasis on appearance and as such the demand for whiter smiles is unlikely to slow any time soon. What’s more, tooth whitening is a great adjunctive or add-on treatment that can help to perfect the smile by adding the finishing touches after orthodontic treatment. Thus, tooth whitening could serve to increase patient satisfaction while encouraging additional revenue for the practice.

An authoritative figure on the subject of tooth whitening, James Goolnik will be discussing “How to legally and ethically offer your patients whiter teeth” at The Dentistry Show 2017.  About his session in BACD Aesthetic Dentist Theatre, James comments:

“There is lots of confusion in tooth whitening with new products being launched at every conference. I will cut through the hype to help delegates understand what is important and what patients really care about. The lecture will give you the tools to ensure you can legally whitening your patients’ teeth and integrate whitening into your practice.

“I believe EVERY dental practice should offer some type of tooth whitening. I still have many patients visiting me to whiten their teeth, even though they have been loyal to another dental practice for years – which either does not offer tooth whitening or has not promoted the fact that they offer this service to their existing patients.

“To prevent the latter, it is important to have teeth whitening visible on the website and to get the dental hygienists excited and talking about this minimally invasive treatment options with their patients.

“Whitening is a gateway service to other cosmetic work, plus, it can help your patients take more interest in the health and appearance of their teeth. Once the smile is whiter, patients will often ask, unprompted, "what do you think about this filling"? Whitening is a very cost effective, non-traumatic way of improving someone’s smile and it is important for all practices to take advantage of this.”

James will be one of several globally renowned speakers in the BACD Aesthetic Dentist Theatre, which will be chaired once again by Elaine Halley. The full speaker line-up includes Jameel Gardee, Christopher McConnell, James Russell, Andrea Shepperson, Dipesh Palmer and Richard Field and topics will cover everything from tooth whitening to digital smile design, composites and minimally invasive techniques.

Additional theatres will offer even more learning opportunities and verifiable CPD for all members of the dental team, with the PerioLounge, EndoLounge, Short-Term-Ortho Lounge, Facial Aesthetics Theatre and ADI Implant Theatre catering for each specialist discipline as well. Further still, delegates will have the chance to discover more about the very latest products, materials and technologies to reach the UK dental market throughout the 400-strong trade exhibition.

James adds:

“The Dentistry Show offers a vast array of CPD in bite-sized chunks for the whole team. You can take the entire team for a valuable day out, helping to enthuse them and remind them why they chose dentistry as a career.”

The Dentistry Show and DTS 2017 will be held on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th May at the NEC in Birmingham.

For further details visit call 020 7348 5270

or email

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