Issue: Non-dentists providing certain teeth-whitening procedures at salons, spas, and shopping malls.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) believes that teeth whitening constitutes the practice of dentistry and that dental services should be delivered by dental professionals who have been educated to perform procedures in the safest manner possible.
The following potential issues that may occur when teeth-whitening is handled in malls and salons by non-dental professionals:
- Every patient should have an exam and have dental plaque and calculus removed by a professional prior to whitening. Non-dental professionals may not advise patients about this before offering these procedures.
- Inability to prevent or treat tooth sensitivity due to bleaching.
- Failure of non-dental professionals to diagnose decay, periodontal disease, and other common dental diseases.
- Inadvertent treating with bleaching chemicals of teeth that are decayed close to the (pulp) nerve system, which could result in permanent problems including eventual root canal or extraction.
- Bleaching should not be done without consulting a dentist first for post-bleaching treatment planning. Planning is key to avoid a potential mismatch of teeth colors that could likely occur with fillings, crowns, bridges, or veneers on any front teeth.
- Non-dental professionals do not have the appropriate training to be suspicious of and diagnose, or refer for diagnosis, many systemic diseases that have oral symptoms, e.g. diabetes.
- Since some of those who use the mall or salon services will not or do not routinely see a dentist, there is a real risk of failure to diagnose serious and possibly life threatening oral diseases in "patients" who might otherwise have gone to a dentist and been able to get their disease diagnosed and treated.