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Ulcer and burns warning over DIY teeth whitening kits

London: A leading cosmetic dentistry body today warned that some DIY whitening kits may cause chemical burns and ulcers.

As a result the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD), the professional body that represents UK cosmetic dentistry practitioners has issued its Whitening Safety Guidelines, to ensure patient protection and satisfaction. Earlier this year, the BACD published a survey that revealed over a quarter of Britons have had cosmetic dentistry treatments, whitening being the most popular.

Leading dentist and BACD Board member James Goolnik says: “Time, smoking, tea and coffee are just a few of the things that cause your teeth to yellow and discolour. Whitening is a bit like a facial in that it helps to unlock pores in your tooth so that stains are gently removed leaving teeth cleaner and brighter. Whiter teeth can take years off your appearance, and the effects, depending on your lifestyle, can last up to ten years. But just like people’s mouths, all whitening techniques are not created equal.”

The length of time whitening can last will depend on whether or not the person smokes or how much tea, coffee and red wine they drink. Although the teeth themselves will whiten, any fillings or crowns will remain the same colour and may need replacing to match the new lighter colour of the rest of the teeth.

Dr Goolnik comments: “All whitening is based on a hydrogen peroxide solution; the only difference in the hundreds of systems out there is the concentration and the way the solution is applied to your teeth. Not all of them are safe and it is essential people consult their dentist, as some whitening kits bought over the counter or abroad can cause permanent damage.”

Dr. Goolnik recently saw a patient, Tamara Morris, 27, who suffered painful mouth ulcers resulting from a whitening kit bought at a high street pharmacy.

Tamara, who works in a beauty salon said: “Although it burned my mouth slightly when first I used the gel, I thought this was normal. Afterwards, it hurt when I brushed my teeth, or when I drank anything hot. When I went to the dentist he discovered I had sores on my gums resulting from the treatment.”

According to the BACD, there are two main ways of ‘properly’ carrying out tooth whitening:

1. Tray based. The gel is placed in a custom made night-guard which is worn from one hour to overnight for 7-10 nights depending on the gel, provided by your dentist.

2. Surgery based – otherwise known as laser or power bleaching. Here, more concentrated gels are applied directly to your teeth and accelerated with heat or light (laser/power). Usually a one-hour appointment is needed with maintenance provided with top-up trays.


No whitening is permanent. Maintenance is needed to keep that bright smile.
Only a dentist can get your teeth to the maximum whiteness.
See a dentist first to check teeth are healthy before starting. Teeth and gums can become permanently sensitive if they are not healthy first.
There is no evidence that whitening toothpastes can actually whiten your teeth.
Whitening kits can at best do nothing and at worse some of those bought abroad or over the internet can actually harm your teeth as they contain acids/abrasives that can cause permanent damage.

About the BACD –

The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is a not-for-profit, inclusive organisation for the advancement and ethical delivery of cosmetic dentistry, open to all dental professionals including dental technicians and hygienists. Their aim is to create a dynamic, active group of members from all areas of the dental team. The BACD, which has over 400 members, is affiliated with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the world’s largest organisation for cosmetic dental professionals.

Professional bodies

These professional bodies have dentists and cosmetic surgeons as members and can assist with references:
American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
American Dental Association

European Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry

Dentists & Cosmetic Dentists

Harley Street Dental Studio, London, W1

Renowned cosmetic dental surgeon, Dr Mark Hughes has recently launched the new Harley Street Dental Studio in London.

The studio has state of the art equipment and the latest techniques are performed in a stylish and fashionably holistic spa environment.

The range of treatments available at the Harley Street Dental Studio is vast and covers all aspects of reconstructive and cosmetic dental work. Mark and his team use the latest practices to give you the smile you want.

As one of the only dental surgeons in the UK using Di Vinci Veneers, Mark and his experienced team can ensure teeth are corrected and aligned to give the most beautiful smile. These ultra-thin shells of ceramic material are bonded to the front of teeth with little or no anaesthetic to mask discolorations, brighten teeth, and to improve your smile.

When fitting veneers, the Studio offers a bespoke service; patients can choose the shade and size of teeth that suits them and their face the best.
Mark personally works with a patient to ensure that they get the most attractive and natural smile.

Facial rejuvenation is also offered at the Studio and is the dental equivalent of a facelift. The procedure replaces worn or missing teeth, improving bone structure and having a dramatic anti-ageing effect on facial appearance.

In addition to using the latest dental techniques, the Studio also offers the ultimate lifestyle experience: a plasma screen showing a DVD of your choice, complete with Bang and Olufsen surround sound, ensures your time in the Studio is as comfortable and soothing as possible. For those who areshort of time, or simply want the ultimate pampering experience, a manicure or pedicure can be carried out whilst you have your teeth whitened – all within your lunch hour. The Harley Street Dental Studio uses Zoom 2 whitening products from California, which achieve results in just 40 minutes.

Dr Hughes is dedicated to clinical excellence and has built a reputation as one of the finest aesthetic dentists in London. He is well known in the industry for his impeccable standards and for working closely with patients to provide outstanding quality in dental and aesthetic treatments to create the most natural looking teeth and the best results.

Escaping the busy street and stepping into a Zen-like zone with crisp, sleek interiors and exotic flowers gracing every table, the Harley Street Dental Studio removes any fears you may have about visiting a dentist. All of the finer details have been carefully thought out – from the carefully positioned Buddha’s that provide serenity, to the many bowls of crisp green apples that remind you of where you are.

About Harley Street Dental Studio:

London Centre For Cosmetic Dentistry T: +44(0)20 7722 1235.
Consultations for cosmetic surgery are free of charge.

The London Breath Centre
93 Haverstock Hill, London, NW3 4RL
T: +44(0)20 7722 1235 or +44(0)20 7586 7237

Other useful commercial websites:

These are professional bodies who can give you unbiased advice about practitioners:


British Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry
Suite 152
84 Marylebone High Street
London W1M 3DE

British Dental Association
64 Wimpole Street
London W1M 8AL UK
T: 44 (0)20 7935 396

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
American Dental Association


European Academy of Esthetic Dentistry