08 Sep

Dentists issue warnings over DIY whitening kits

Dentists in Australia have issued warnings over the safety of using DIY tooth whitening kits. 

Tooth whitening is one of the most popular and sought-after cosmetic dental treatments in the world. While many patients go to their dentist to undergo professional whitening treatment, there has been a surge in the demand for DIY kits. In response, dentists have urged members of the public to avoid DIY solutions, which could potentially do more harm than good.

Laurie Walsh, a member of the Australian Dental Association and a professor at the University of Queensland, explained that there are several potential risks linked to DIY dentistry. When people whiten their teeth using at-home kits, they face risks ranging from discolouration and increased sensitivity to chemical burns, according to Professor Walsh.

Bleaching kits can cause uneven results and discolouration in patients who have fillings or staining, and they can also contribute to heightened sensitivity and a risk of chemical burns affecting the lips, cheeks and gums. 

A recent survey indicated that 1 in 5 Australians had their teeth whitened in 2020, with less than 50% of patients undergoing professional treatment administered by dentists. More than half of products were purchased from supermarkets or online pharmacies. More than 60% of adults surveyed by the Australian Dental Association had no idea of the potential dangers of home bleaching. 

The primary reason DIY tooth whitening is so popular is the cost. The average price of an over-the-counter home whitening kit is around seven times less than professional at-home treatments. In-chair treatments can cost up to $260 per tooth (approximately £140). 

Prof Walsh urged patients to explore professional treatments to ensure the best results and enhance safety. There is a risk associated with home treatment, which has not been approved for use by trained dentists and it is also alarming that anyone can access bleaching kits. If patients see a dentist, they will undergo an examination and consultation to make sure that they are a suitable candidate for treatment.