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The cost of obtaining a Hollywood smile

View profile for Kate Sweeney
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The cost of obtaining a Hollywood smile

Everyone wants that perfect smile which is why in recent years teeth whitening procedures have become more accessible and people are paying to have a whiter, brighter smile. Indeed it’s estimated that over 100,000 people in the UK undergo such treatments in the hope of obtaining that “Hollywood smile”.

Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter and it’s a procedures not without issues and complications. It can even leave users with devastating permanent damage and should only be carried out by a dentist or another regulated dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or dental therapist, on the prescription of a dentist.

Despite this legal requirement, many beauty salons and hairdressers offer teeth whitening procedures, but it’s illegal to do this if there’s no dental professional present. Often referred to as “budget bleaching” many people opt for this cheaper option, not realising that it is in fact illegal and likely to be extremely risky to your oral health.

And having a go yourself at home with a “DIY” kit can also be very risky, as some of the home kits don’t contain enough of the whitening product to be effective. Probably the cheapest option, but also the most likely not to work.

One of the most common problems is an ill-fitting mouth guard. It is essential to ensure the mouth guard that is used during whitening fits properly, so as to minimise the risk of the bleaching gel leaking out into the gums and mouth, causing blistering and sensitivity. There is also a risk that the bleaching agent could damage the tooth’s enamel.

However, even if you go to a regulated dental professional, this procedure still carries the chance that following treatment you may experience increased sensitivity, particularly if you have sensitivity issues before. So it’s very important when contemplating this treatment, that you are fully aware of all the risks involved and the fact that it isn’t in fact a permanent procedure and lasts from six months up to three years. 

So if you are looking for a brighter smile, speak to people who have had it done and seek out recommendations, ensure you go to a regulated dental professional for the treatment and ask simple questions about what whitening treatment they use, if it’s guaranteed for a period of time, and what the risks are for you as an individual. And if you are not happy, seek out a second opinion.

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