Sunderland dentist warms against ‘damaging quick fix’ teeth whitening

Dr Ken Harris
Dr Ken Harris
Have your say

A TOP cosmetic dentist from Wearside has warned that teeth whitening treatments being carried out at beauty salons could cause serious damage.

Dr Ken Harris, who runs Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry in Sunderland, has highlighted the dangers facing those looking for a “quick fix” teeth whitening – including people using kitchen scouring power and liquid toilet cleaner.

Under the regulations set out by the General Dental Council, teeth whitening and bleaching procedures can only be legally performed by qualified dental professionals.

That means non-qualified practitioners offering laser and bleaching procedures on teeth could also face prosecution because they are breaking the law.

Dr Harris, who has more than 30 years experience as a dentist, believes rising demand for a quick result has led to an overwhelming number of beauty salons and back-street, tooth-whitening parlours carrying out treatments illegally.

“Laser bleaching and other whitening procedures need to be very carefully carried out,” he said.

“These procedures, while perfectly capable of giving people the results they want, can cause serious damage to teeth if not performed correctly.

“Over time our teeth darken as a result of the dentine beneath our enamel getting tougher, at which point teeth whitening procedures can help to brighten your smile.

“However, more often than not, poorly-performed procedures can cause more harm than good.”

Dr Harris is worried that people buying home treatments from the internet or having them carried out at the hairdressers or a beauty salon, could be leaving them, at best, spending money on something that doesn’t work, or at worst with a whole host of problems.

“Wild claims are made for all kinds of tooth-whitening products, but only compounds of hydrogen peroxide will actually bleach teeth,” he added.

“Anything else will just not work despite claims that they do.

“The safest compound is Carbarmide Peroxide gel at a 10 per cent concentration. Higher concentrations do not make teeth whiter and will damage teeth, although concentrations of up to 50 per cent are available on the internet and can cause real problems if used.”

Anyone considering tooth whitening can talk to a dentist or check with the General Dental Council at