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Young mother warns of illegal tooth whitening dangers

Credit: PA

A mother is speaking out against illegal tooth whitening after being told the treatment she received had destroyed the condition of her mouth.

Speaking as part of an ITV Wales investigation into illegal tooth whitening, for current affairs programme y Byd ar Bedwar on S4C, Melonie Bray from Bangor explained how a desire to brighten her smile could cost her some of her teeth.

The 24-year-old searched online for cheap tooth whitening last April and discovered a beauty salon in Colwyn Bay called Skin Within, offering the treatment for just £89. However midway through the session she began feeling an intense pain in her mouth.

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

It was like a sort of shooting, zapping in my teeth, the pain was unreal. I started feeling worse when I was in town. I got back to my mums house and I took painkillers and tried to go to sleep but I couldn’t sleep.

– Melonie Bray

The procedure had burnt her gums, leaving them grey and weak. Melonie now receives regular dental checks but could still end up losing some of her front teeth as a result of the ordeal.

The emergency dentist who saw her a week after the tooth whitening

When she came to see us she was in pain, she had burnt the gums. The actual condition of her mouth had been destroyed at the front of her mouth.”

– Dr Catherine Dubourg, dentist
Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Melonie was advised to report the incident to the General Dental Council (GDC), who went on to prosecute Jane Taylor, the salon owner who carried out the treatment. Taylor pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawfully practicing dentistry and was given a 12-month conditional discharge, as well as being ordered by Llandudno magistrates to pay £1,609.

It is against the law for anybody who is not a registered dental professional to perform tooth whitening. However an ITV Wales investigation has discovered evidence of Welsh beauticians who are not registered with the GDC, advertising tooth whitening services online.

Undercover investigations at several establishments found evidence of beauticians offering advice and treatment despite not having the necessary qualifications.

This included one case where one claimed her product contained “30 per cent bleach.” Even for a dentist, the maximum legal limit is 6% hydrogen peroxide.

The GDC sent 300 warning letters in 2016 to unregistered individuals and companies carrying out tooth whitening across the UK. The GDC warns that without going to a registered dentist, the public has no way of knowing for sure if the treatment they receive is safe.

You can see the full investigation, with English subtitles available, on Y Byd ar Bedwar on S4C at 9.30pm on Tuesday.

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