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Rise of tooth whitening kiosks next.

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14 August 2009


The Australian Dental Association (ADA) supports the AMA’s stance to stop the partnership between a pharmacy chain and nurse practitioners to open 150 walk-in clinics which the AMA states will pose a serious threat to the quality and safety of health care in Australia.

“We see a parallel here with the proliferation of tooth whitening clinics being established on street corners and shopping centres. Just as a nurse practitioner plus a pharmacist does not equal a doctor, a tooth whitening kiosk operator does not equal a dentist”, said Dr Hewson, ADA Federal President. “Currently the issue of bleaching by others than dental practitioners is before the courts. The new National Registration Scheme must ensure such operators are clearly rendered illegal and unable to practise.”

“Tooth whitening and bleaching causes irreversible changes in teeth and so is the practice of dentistry which should only be performed by dental practitioners who are appropriately trained, qualified and registered to do such treatments. Dentists’ primary responsibility is the health, welfare and safety of their patients.”

The ADA warns the public that if you go to a kiosk operator to have your teeth whitened then you do so at your own risk. “You have to ask yourself. What is their infection control protocol? Are the bleaches safe - is the strength of the bleach going to permanently impair my teeth? What training do the operators have? For the user of the service it’s really a step into the unknown as they and the provider just do not have an appreciation of what they are doing,” said Dr Hewson.

It's important to note that not everyone is a candidate for whitening. People with tooth decay, chipped or cracked teeth or gum disease are not good candidates. So follow the Safety Tips for Your Teeth below.

 Always have your teeth and gums checked by a dentist before whitening so preventing sensitivity for teeth and gums and other complications.  Remember that strong bleaching solutions require gum protection. If a facility is talking about using a strong solution on your teeth, it should also offer protection for your gums.  Fillings, veneers or crowns do not bleach and may not match your teeth after whitening and

so need to be replaced.  Finally, know that bleaching results vary from person to person and doesn't usually work on grayish teeth.  “White” teeth do not equate with healthy teeth.

Pharmacists have a vital role in health care in dispensing medicines and their role of cross checking other health practitioners’ prescriptions is an essential part of ensuring safety in health care. This role is now even more important with more categories of practitioners gaining prescribing rights and must not be compromised by pharmacists becoming consultative and prescribing practitioners.

Media contacts: Dr Neil Hewson - President - 03 9455 0111/0419 344 587 Mr Robert Boyd-Boland - Chief Executive Officer - 02 9906 4412/0417 677 607

The Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA) is the peak national professional body representing about 10,000 registered dentists, who are the vast majority of dental care providers. ADA members work in both the public and private sectors. The primary objectives of the ADA are to encourage the improvement of the oral and general health of the public and to promote the ethics, art and science of dentistry and to support members of the Association in enhancing their ability to provide safe, high quality professional oral care.