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Smile Tech Ltd. Dental Body Corporate, a Leading UK Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Provider Reveal the Truth Behind Illegal Dentistry

Here we uncover the shocking truth surrounding ‘illegal tooth whitening’ in the UK.


The GDC (General Dental Council who are a body that regulate dental professionals in the UK) recently started a campgans against ’illegal teeth whitening operators’, reporting to BBC news that there need to be tighter controls on non-professionals who are carrying out teeth whitening treatments. But are all of these companies really perating illegally? Or are the GDC just protecting the interests of their dentists and keeping the price of this treatment as high as possible?

The GDC have stated in a recent interview with the BBC ( that teeth whitening providers who operate in shopping centres do not use registered Dentists to undertake whitening treatments and that shopping centre providers ‘believe the treatment is cosmetic’. Evelyn Gilvarry, CEO at the GDC also implies that there are large cost implications involved in performing teeth whitening treatments safely. This would imply that shopping centre operators charging a third of the price of a Dental practice cannot be doing the procedure correctly or safely.

Let’s first look at the issue of public safety, one of the main issues raised by the GDC in their BBC interview. Are shopping centre operators offering the treatment for £100 really putting people at risk?An article recently published in the British Dental Journal (Jan 2012 shows an interesting table of statistics on side effects of teeth whitening. The study ‘Contemporary dental practice in the UK 2008: aspects of direct restorations, endodontics and bleaching’ comprised of a questionnaire of 18 questions and out of the 1,000 Dentists it was sent to 662 gave useable responses. Of these Dentists, 32% (208) indicated that they provided in-house teeth whitening services at their practice. Of the Dentists who provided in-house bleaching, a massive 40% (or 84 / 208) reported problems with the side effects of soft tissue inflammation and, in addition, an enormous 77% of these Dentists (161/ 208) reported the side effect of sensitivity with teeth whitening at their practice. This means that, in this study, almost half (40%) of the Dentists that provide in-house bleaching, report a problem with soft tissue inflammation.

Smile Tech, one of the UK’s largest cosmetic teeth whitening providers who operate in shopping centres, gives their reaction to these findings;‘Having whitened the teeth of over 20,000 clients in the last three years - Smile Tech is clearly not experiencing problems of soft tissue damage at a rate of anywhere near 40% as these Dentists have reported in the above named study. It is only in extremely rare cases that we experience any problems due to our safety guidelines being so stringent. All of our clients undergo a full and thorough consultation with the Dentist pre-treatment, and we turn away hundreds of people every year who are proven unsuitable for treatment following the consultation. During set-up we take great lengths to completely and totally isolate the teeth prior to applying the whitening gel, in addition, we use a de-staining agent and de-sensitizer- in this way we offer our clients the safest and most comfortable experience possible whilst still maintaining a great result. This study would suggest that perhaps some Dentists in practice could benefit in learning from the methodology involved with our teeth whitening treatments, so that they too can achieve a positive client experience in 99.9% of cases.’

Another claim made by the GDC in their interview with the BBC is that shopping centre operators are not using Dentists to undertake the treatments. Smile Tech responds below;‘Smile Tech has always structured itself as a Dental Body Corporate with expert clinical directors with over 26 years experience between them, who always put client safety at the centre of all of our treatment procedures. We are in complete agreement with the GDC that teeth whitening treatments are safer when performed by a registered Dentist who has undergone the full treatment training and we currently employ over 20 registered Dentists to undertake our treatments on site. It could be argued that the GDC are acting irresponsibly by lumping all teeth whitening providers in shopping centres together and branding them unsafe and un-professional.

We have made every effort to engage in conversation with the GDC, even inviting them to our offices in January this year to discuss this very issue. The lack of communication on the part of the GDC and broadcast of this misinformation could be very damaging to our business - we have heard nothing from the GDC since our invitation in January. It seems to an absurd way for a governing body to operate and might suggest that the GDC are not in fact working in the interest of client safety at all, but instead trying to protect the interests of Dentists who want to charge the consumer £600 for teeth whitening services, and keep the service high end, luxury and expensive rather than accessible and affordable for all. If there are shopping centre operators who are acting unsafely and illegally we hope that the GDC will deal with them appropriately, but we at Smile Tech should not be associated with these operators. We employ Dentists to provide high quality, professional, safe treatments at an affordable price to the consumer and that is why we have over 20,000 happy customers on our books to date.’

So it seems that there are companies out there offering a proper, safe and professional service at half the price and they are in complete agreement that it is certainly safer to use a registered Dentist when performing teeth whitening treatments. However, it is unlikely that this can be said for all providers in shopping centres and thus the furore that is now surrounding this issue is coming to a head.

The best advice would be to make sure that your provider, whether a Dentist in practice or a specialist teeth whitening provider in a shopping centre who employs Dentists to undertake the treatments, has the correct qualifications and training and gives you a full consultation pre-treatment. In addition, it might be a good idea to read any customer reviews and testimonials on the practise or the specialist company to see if they had any issues with the treatment, the result, or any problems with soft tissue inflammation or sensitivity. Also, beware of any operators who do not employ Dentists and who do not have a good track record or long company trading history – what will become of these providers remains to be seen. What is for certain, is that the GDC will have to start differentiating between the shoddy operators and those who are operating professionally -and that there will be much more to come on this issue.


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