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What are the risks of using teeth whitening products?

A dazzling set of pearly whites is often viewed as the pinnacle of a winning smile, but teeth whitening can lead to a dental negligence claim.

Evenly spaced, white teeth are something that many want but have to pay to achieve.

For those looking for a ‘Hollywood smile’, teeth whitening is the first port of call.

While teeth whitening, on the whole, is a safe procedure it can be very dangerous if it is carried out by someone who is unqualified or doesn’t take the proper precautions when administering the treatment.

Whilst there are over-the-counter teeth whitening kits available, you should always try to have a registered dental professional carry out your treatment.

There are two main reasons for this. The first and most important is that you will receive treatment from a trained professional, ensuring higher levels of safety.

The second is that you may not get value for money if you buy an over-the-counter-kit. In order for a tooth whitening kit to be legally sold over the counter, it must not contain more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, this can result in substandard results and in some cases they may not work at all.

However, dental professionals are legally allowed to use 6% hydrogen peroxide when whitening teeth, meaning you are more likely to get the desired level of whitening that you may be looking for.

Another aspect to bear in mind is that products used by dental professionals will be more tightly regulated compared to those on offer in chemists or online.

For example in 2015 a BBC investigation discovered that a product they bought online contained sodium perborate which is banned for use in cosmetic products in the EU as it has been linked with foetal abnormalities.

Whether you decide to use the services of a dental professional or buy a teeth whitening kit to use at home, there are several risks and side effects that you should be aware of.


One of the most damaging and painful side effects of having your teeth whitened is burns to gums.

While it may be uncommon, it has been known to happen. One woman developed third-degree burns as a result of a whitening procedure.

The treatment was also carried out by a beautician who was administering the treatment illegally. Always ensure that the person you choose to treat you is a registered professional.

Sensitive teeth

Undertaking a teeth whitening procedure can leave you with sensitive teeth. If this is something you already suffer with, it may be a better option to consult a dental professional before you have any treatment.

Excess hydrogen peroxide

If too much hydrogen peroxide is used it is possible that you may end up swallowing some of it.

Should this happen, it could lead to severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and blistering lips, which could ultimately make you eligible for a dental negligence claim.

What gets whitened?

If you are expecting a teeth whitening procedure to whiten every part of your teeth you may be disappointed.

Whilst it will whiten your natural teeth, the whitening substance will have little to no effect on any fillings, crowns or veneers you may have had.


If you do decide to pursue some form of teeth whitening treatment, make sure you do your research.

Sit down with a professional dental practitioner to discuss your options. Find out what the risks are, how you can benefit and if they are legally eligible to provide you with the treatment.

However, if you have already had teeth whitening treatment at your dentist and have suffered unnecessary pain or damage to your teeth as a result of the treatment, you may be entitled to compensation and we can help.

We offer a free initial interview in order to review your specific circumstances and assess the viability of your dental negligence claim.

Our nationally renowned personal injury team includes highly experienced dental negligence solicitors specialising in dentist negligence and dental compensation claims.

To speak to one of our specialist team call us now on FREEPHONE 0800 1979 345, or complete our simple online enquiry form and we can call you back at a time to suit you.