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Tooth Whitening And The Law The European Directive

The laws on tooth whitening changed on 31 October 2012. The legislation in regards to tooth whitening by the European Union shows a clear difference between the products that can be legally used for tooth whitening by dental professionals, and products that can be used by non-dental professionals.

The change follows a move in 2013 to revoke and replace the Cosmetic Products Regulations 2012, with the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013, commonly known as the EU Cosmetics Regulation.

For Each Cycle Of Use, First Use By A Dental Practitioner

There is a possibility that a patient that has not had the appropriate instruction on how to use their home kit could be at risk of swallowing excess whitening gel. The requirement that the first use of each cycle is done by a dentist, or under their supervision, will help to prevent this. This also means that whitening kits can’t be sold to patients at reception or through the post.

Hygienists And Therapists

The General Dental Council’s Scope Of Practice sets out the roles that each dental professional can carry out. It sets out that hygienists and therapists can provide tooth whitening under the prescription of a dentist, if they are trained and competent.

It is advisable that the dentist is on the premises when the first use of of the product is provided to the patient.

Patients Under 18

The Regulations and EU Directive state that the product must not be used on patients under 18. This can create an ethical dilemma for dentists who may want to act in the best interest of their patients but are prohibited from doing so by the Regulations.

Breach Of The Regulations

The maximum penalty for breaching the Regulations is a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months.

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