Unregulated Teeth Whitening Leads to Conviction

While teeth whitening may leave you with a pearly white smile, the recent prosecution of an unregulated practitioner has shown that it remains a grey area for some.

The case of the owner of a tanning salon in Hartlepool appearing in court for selling teeth whitening products has served a timely reminder that while it is a cosmetic procedure, it is one that must only be provided by a regulated dental professional.

The salon owner admitted carrying out unregistered dentistry, even though he did not actually administer any treatment and instead sold an over-the-counter treatment to a customer, believing that he would not be infringing any guidelines by doing so.

But the General Dental Council (GDC) is very clear in its stance – teeth whitening is a form of dentistry, therefore must be performed by a dentist or dental professional who is registered with the GDC.

If you are not registered with the GDC, you cannot carry out teeth whitening. To do so is illegal, and could lead in prosecution, as the recent conviction at Teesside Magistrates Court has shown. The tanning salon owner received a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £1,000 towards the GDC’s costs – a high price to pay for being unaware of the implications of selling a cosmetic service.

At Sintons Law Solicitors, we are one of the leading specialist dental legal advisers in the UK, acting for dentists in our native North East and far beyond. We work extensively in compliance and regulatory issues, and can help with GDC registration.

In a changing sector, we work closely with our dental clients to make sure they keep abreast of guidelines and legal obligations.

For advice on the legal situation surrounding teeth whitening or any other dental issue contact Amanda Maskery, Partner and Head of the Dental team at Sintons, and Chair of the UK’s Association of Specialist Providers to Dentists (ASPD) on 0191 226 7838 or Amanda.maskery@sintons.co.uk

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