Tooth whitening is a dental treatment which can permanently alter the structure of your teeth. It should only be undertaken following a proper assessment by a registered dentist and on their prescription.
Our Tooth Whitening Position Statement (64KB, PDF) sets out how tooth whitening can safely be administered by registered dental professionals in line with the law.
If you are considering having your teeth whitening, please read our leaflet about what to expect - Considering tooth whitening - what you need to know (2 MB, PDF) - and speak to your dentist about whether you are suitable for it.
Your dentist can examine you, assess whether this is the best treatment option for you and outline the costs and risks of the treatment, so that you are properly informed about it. Our Smile (502.5 KB, PDF) leaflet can also give you an idea of what you can expect from a consultation with your dentist.
If you have seen your dentist and they have prescribed tooth whitening treatment, they will either carry it out themselves, or a registered dental hygienist, dental therapist or clinical dental technician can provide the treatment on the dentist’s prescription.
No other types of dental professional can safely offer this treatment and anyone who is not on our register will be breaking the law if they do so.
If you are considering offering tooth whitening and you are not on our register, you are likely to be breaking the law and you are putting yourself at risk of prosecution in the criminal courts.
The GDC is keen to engage with, and provide accurate information to, those who may have been misled into believing they can legally provide tooth whitening treatment. Please do not ignore our warning letters if you have received one, do get in touch to discuss your position with our Illegal Practice team.
If we receive complaints that someone who is not on our register has offered or provided tooth whitening treatment, we take these very seriously because of the risk this poses to patient safety. We will investigate all complaints in line with our Prosecution Policy (541.6 KB, PDF) and, where appropriate, we will prosecute them in the criminal courts. These cases carry an unlimited fine in the England and Wales and the courts have shown that they take them very seriously, sometimes fining individuals thousands of pounds. Details of our previous prosecutions can be found in our press section .
If you are concerned about tooth whitening products that you have seen on sale, we have more information to assist you.
We have put together some answers to some questions that we are frequently asked about tooth whitening treatment: