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Up From the Dentist's Chair
By: Leslie Benson
Posted: February 3, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.
With natural oral care ingredients on the rise, brands are also looking into offering more sustainable options in packaging. Sheffield Pharmaceuticals, for example, uses postconsumer recycled materials for cartons and master cases, which by their nature are recyclable. “Use of aluminum tubes is on the rise,” says Sheffield’s Ana de Oliveira, “and there’s a focus by tube manufacturers to offer postconsumer resin tubes.”
page 2 of 5While sensitivity is an issue, cost also affects consumer demand. According to Brad Stevens, founding partner, business operations and development, Whiter Image, a whitening procedure at a dentist’s office can cost from $600 upward. Non-dental chair-side vendors, on the other hand, charge approximately $75 for a 15-minute session—regulation and ingredients (8–12% strength hydrogen peroxide is utilized, compared to a dentist’s 30–35%, for example) are among the factors that impact cost.
Regulation also impacts the hands-on of the whitening professional. The majority of chair-side treatments must be administered by spa and salon clients themselves. “For instance, you can’t touch the person’s mouth, or it is considered dentistry,” Stevens says. These regulations also impact how these treatments can be marketed.
For spas and salons that are short-staffed and unable to opt for chair-side treatments, selling at-home whitening kits has become a secondary source of income. Such kits and similar products—whitening strips or mass retailers’ pre-filled whitening trays—such as Procter & Gamble’s Crest, GlaxoSmithKline’s Aquafresh and Johnson & Johnson’s Rembrandt—as well as the whitening toothpastes in these lines, gels and more unconventional products such as gum—add to the growing oral care segment.
“In the next five years, we anticipate a continuing demand for cosmetic teeth whitening treatments through beauty spas and salons in the U.S. and an increasing demand in developing markets around the world,” Eriksen says. “As disposable incomes rise, the demand for cosmetic treatments in general increases. However, even in established markets, teeth whitening for the beauty industry is still a relatively new concept for many spa owners, and there is still some hesitation that their customers will demand the treatment.”
For vendors in this segment, offering chair-side products, as well as products for continued maintenance after a session, ensure that all retail bases are covered. Beyond Dental & Health’s OTC products, the E-Bright Tooth Whitening Accelerator Home Edition and the Beyond Pearl White Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride Advanced Formula, are formulated to help maintain results from treatment. “It has really been this year that we have reached a critical mass of beauty professionals introducing teeth whitening as a service to their clients,” Eriksen says. “What we introduced to the market in 2006 has grown into its own segment and is sure to continue to grow in 2009.”