Tooth whitening for the under-18-year-old patient

Key Points

  • Provides readers with a understanding of bleaching legislation in the United Kingdom.

  • Provide readers with an understanding of discolourations aetiology and management.

  • Provides readers with an understanding regarding bleaching protocols for adolescent patients.

  • Provides readers with key understandings of core bleaching concepts.


Following changes in the EU regulations, it became legal for bleaching to be undertaken by dentists and their trained team. However, restrictions remained on bleaching for patients under the age of 18. A revised position statement by the General Dental Council (GDC) determined that bleaching could be undertaken on these patients if it was wholly for the purpose of treating or preventing disease. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the safety, efficacy, indications and techniques for under-18 bleaching.

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Figure 1: a) Labial view of severely discoloured maxillary central incisors.
Figure 2: a) Labial view of teeth in occlusion demonstrating fluorosis discolouration of the dentition and existing composite restorations.
Figure 3: Labial view of teeth demonstrating fluorosis discolouration of the dentition.
Figure 4: A labial view of central incisors presenting with white markings along the perikymata.
Figure 5: a) Labial view of white spot lesions present on both maxillary central incisors pre-treatment.
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Greenwall-Cohen, J., Greenwall, L., Haywood, V. et al. Tooth whitening for the under-18-year-old patient. Br Dent J 225, 19–26 (2018).

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