A request for more whitening products

When a patient asked for for extra tooth whitening gels without having been assessed, the DDU helped clarify the situation for the dentist involved.

Earn CPD by reading this dilemma and the sidebar resources and then taking the quiz linked below.

The scene

A dentist DDU member contacted the advice line when a patient asked to be supplied with more tooth whitening gel. The patient had not been seen recently and the member was concerned about giving them additional whitening products.

The member asked colleagues in the practice for advice and was told that bleaching compounds are prescription only medicines (POMs). Our member found this confusing and called us for clarification.

DDU advice

Tooth whitening is an area where we are often asked about current guidance and legislation, and our member was right to ask for clarification. The dental adviser discussed the scenario with the member and signposted several issues.

Dental bleaching products are not POMs; they are classified as cosmetic products, and regulated under the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013 (commonly known as the EU Cosmetics Regulation). The adviser highlighted the relevance of this legislation, and specifically the term "cycle of use" in relation to a patient who has not attended for some time.

The regulations state that for each cycle of use, the first application is to only be carried out by dental practitioners, or by dental hygienists, therapists or clinical dental technicians under a dentist's supervision. A dentist should be on the premises when this happens.

The adviser explained that when starting a new cycle of whitening, the member could be open to criticism if they did not re-examine patient to assess oral health, the suitability for further whitening, and the fit of any existing whitening trays. It would be for the dentist to decide on the length of a cycle and whether any request for whitening product had been made after the end of a cycle of whitening.

Our adviser also discussed that if the dentist was planning on referring the patient to a hygienist, therapist or clinical dental technician for tooth whitening, then the treatment would be under their prescription. They would also need to be assured that the dental care professional was trained and competent to carry out the treatment.

The outcome

After this conversation, the member was happy to explain to the patient that they would need to re-attend for an examination and to have their trays checked before they could be supplied with new tooth whitening gels.

Calling the DDU for advice enabled the member to successfully provide advice and treatment to the patient in line with current guidance and legislation.

Get verifiable CPD

If you've read this article and the advice linked in the sidebar, you'll be ready to complete our assessment and get 45 minutes of verifiable CPD.

To get your CPD certificate you'll need to score at least 80% on the assessment. You'll also need to add your name, DDU membership and GDC registration number so they're included on your certificate.

Click here to take the CPD quiz.

Not a member?

Join us today and become part of the DDU. We provide reassurance and peace of mind to UK dental professionals.

To get your verifiable CPD certificate, simply provide your contact details when asked and then score at least 80%. One of our dental liaison managers will then get in touch to discuss your requirements and provide you a quote for DDU membership.

This page was correct at publication on . Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.