Dental professionals have been urged to play their part in stamping out illegal tooth whitening by non-professionals.
The British Dental Association (BDA) renewed its call for dentists to help the General Dental Council (GDC) and Trading Standards organisations by reporting illegal whitening treatments if they are aware of them taking place.
In addition, dental professionals have been advised to ensure patients are aware of the risks involved with illegal tooth whitening. For instance, surgeries could include a warning about the possible dangers in dental welcome packs so that patients know to only have the procedure carried out by a professional.
Speaking at the 2013 British Dental Conference and Exhibition, Dr Stuart Johnston from the BDA said: “The BDA has long campaigned for the menace of illegal tooth whitening to be stamped out. I encourage dental professionals to play a full part in achieving that, both by reporting illegal whitening to the GDC and Trading Standards and by displaying the poster produced by the BDA in their practices.”
As well as the practice of illegal tooth whitening, dental professionals who carry out the treatment have also been warned against breaching regulations regarding teeth whitening.
Those who fall foul of a new law safeguarding patients who undergo the procedure will face heavy penalties, including a possible six month imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000, said Andrea James, head of healthcare regulatory with George Davies Solicitors.
It is therefore imperative that practitioners fully understand the new regulations surrounding tooth whitening.
Trading Standards will be responsible for pursuing criminal prosecutions for any breaches of the law and officers can legally enter and inspect a dental practice at any time to ascertain whether a breach has occurred.
The GDC will be working in conjunction with Trading Standards to monitor tooth whitening. Should it receive a complaint, it will be passed on to Trading Standards to investigate.
Furthermore, the GDC will consider fitness to practise – separate to any criminal proceedings – against any dental practitioner involved in breaching the regulations.