Teeth Whitening: Mall Or Office
Have you seen the latest buzz going on at all shopping malls here in America?
Teeth whitening businesses are booming with mini 2-4 chair kiosks. They claim to use the same ingredients dentists use in their own offices, mainly hydrogen peroxide based bleaching gels.
Dentists have been using these products as a major marketing tool for cosmetic dentistry for many years now. And now that non-dentists are starting these businesses without a dental license, the questions remain, Are these safe?
Most state dental boards are looking into the subject as teeth whitening is becoming a multimillion dollar a year business. Similar to hair salons, nail spas, and massages, consumers are spending money regularly on their smile.
Is it good for the business?
Absolutely because if the product does work, they will continue to come back because the teeth darkening processes begins again the next time you eat or drink coffee. A consumable product like teeth whitening gel and the awareness that dark teeth equals ugliness both make this an ideal service to promote.
Is it good for you?
Teeth whitening is not an exact science. Though we would like to say that we can control all the problems that can occur with teeth whitening, it is impossible to do because we individuals are so different. Making promises like “We can take off x number of shades” is ridiculous, especially if we have to sacrifice comfort and days of pain for whiter teeth.
The problems with these teeth whitening booths are that they are manned with people not from the dental industry. They’re not used to putting their hands in other people’s mouth, not used to discussing possible side effects, and they don’t educate the patient well as a dentist or registered dental assistant. Most of these people get paid on their sales (a commission) so some will do whatever it takes to get the customer whitening.
Welcome to capitalism… where you need to be an informed consumer and be the true judge of what happens to you (and your teeth).
Since yellow teeth is not seen as a disease state, it will never be controlled by huge governing bodies like those for serious cancer treatments.
That being said, be careful when you go visit these teeth whitening booths. Go see a dentist to get controlled help, to make an informed decision, and to minimize the negative effects of teeth whitening.
I see teeth whitening getting more and more popular in malls. It is time for you to be more suspicious and do what your gut says.
I’m a San Diego dentist who has done plenty of teeth whitening procedures and knows what works well and what is safest for you. If you want, come and visit me for an evaluation.