A NUMBER of clinics advertising teeth-whitening services online are breaching new safety regulations.
A survey by the Irish Dental Association involved an anonymous check with different clinics to find out whether they were adhering to the new rules governing the use of hydrogen peroxide, the chemical used in tooth-whitening products.
Tooth-whitening products containing more than 6pc hydrogen peroxide are now illegal and their sale is prohibited. The procedure has also been restricted to those who are aged over 18.
The undercover checks revealed:
• One service is offering tooth- whitening in the clients' own homes. It is described as "surround white cosmetic teeth whitening" – a treatment which involves no elements of dentistry.
• A second service, involving clinics in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast, was offering "completely natural gel" but was unable to say what was in it.
• Another business was unable to say what was the component in the whitening gel that it was using. The treatment is carried out by technicians, rather than dentists.
Tom Feeney, who represents the Irish Dental Association on the Council of European Dentists, pointed out that every first cycle of whitening must be carried out by a dentist.
"In the clinics contacted by the investigator, the common denominator seems to be the reluctance to disclose the active ingredient," he said.
"This, together with claims of rapid successful bleaching, would raise suspicions that higher-concentration hydrogen peroxide is being used, although this remains to be proven."
The findings are to be published in the 'Journal of the Irish Dental Association' later this month.
The Irish Medicines Board, the policing body for the new regulations, said no prosecutions had arisen to date.
Mr Feeney said: "If someone wants to have their teeth whitened, they will have to have a clinical examination and first treatment by a dentist to determine whether tooth-whitening is a suitable treatment option and to ensure the absence of risk factors in the mouth.
"After that, the patient will be able to continue the treatment by him or herself."