How effective are "self teeth whitening" treatments?
I saw a beauty salon offering 'self whitening' as a teeth whitening treatment. It is marketed as 'a photocatalyst process, which happens when a safe blue LED light reacts with titanium dioxide, a safe inorganic compound used in foods and medical supplies such as tooth pastes and cosmetics, etc. The stains brought to the surface through this process can be easily removed by teeth brushing.' It is cheap as compared to teeth whitening offered at dental clinics. Is this process advisable?
Dental treatment that is offered in beauty salons and spas ,by non-dentists, is a topic that comes up quite frequently for discussion in my practice.
Beauticians, spa therapists and smile therapists who operate in salons and spas and even their own homes, have been known to offer a wide array of dental treatment, from photocatalyst teeth whitening ( which you have mentioned above), Radiofrequency teeth whitening, teeth whitening with organic chemicals that are "safer" than the peroxides used by dentists, smile makeovers using resin veneers and even dentures and braces!!
All these dental services offered by non-dentists are at a fraction of the cost as compared to similar services done in a proper dental clinic and are all touted by the beauticians and therapists to be safe and just as effective as those offered by dentists.
Why pay more to see the dentist when you can get the same treatment done at the salon or spa at a fraction of the cost and if its just as safe and effective?
The professional dental fraternity generally frowns upon non-dentists offering and performing dental treatment in a non dental clinic setting.
Beauticians and therapists are not trained in how to identify dental diseases and conditions, that may make it unsafe to proceed with teeth whitening.
They are also not trained to manage rare adverse reactions, allergies or complications should they occur.
They also do not have access to the array of professional dental equipment, tools and machines that dentists have in their clinics.
Lastly, the chemicals and dental materials that are available for dental use in salons and spas do not go through the same peer reviewed, randomized controlled trials and vigorous scientific testing by recognised dental professional bodies. Their short term efficacy, long term effectiveness and long term side effects have not been as vigorously tested as those offered in professional dental clinics by dentists.
The PMHC Act as meted out by the Ministry of Health is now undergoing a complete revamp and a new Healthcare Act will be rolled out soon. And one of the items that will be discussed is to change the law in Singapore to make it illegal for non-dentists to offer and perform dental treatment to their clients.
We maybe close to seeing the end of days for these beauticians and therapists who offer dental treatment in Singapore.
I hope my answer helps you to make an informed decision about which dental service provider you go to, to get your teeth whitening treatment done.
Dr Gerald Tan