Illegal teeth whitening is one of the most common issues the General Dental Council (GDC) has to deal with. The practice counts as dentistry, and according to UK law all dentists must be registered with the GDC in order to practice. This has led to several people being handed fines for breaching the ‘Dentists Act’.
This has become controversial recently, with one case in particular standing out: that of Janet Johnstone, who lost a total of £4,500 for carrying out teeth whitening without being qualified. She has since hit back at the GDC and accused dentistry as a whole of being greedy for more money.
Ms Johnstone was caught in an undercover sting. She had been providing teeth whitening services for Simply Chic, a business in Walken, despite not being registered with the GDC. An investigator posed as a customer and caught her providing the service illegally.
Her solicitor advised her to plead guilty rather than go up against the resources of the GDC, which she did. As a result, she was fined £1,750 and ordered to pay a £200 victim surcharge. along with costs to the GDC of £2,500.
She told the Manchester Evening News: “During the time I was there I never had any complaints and had three doctors, nurses, and police officers as customers. When trading standards came to see me they said I wasn’t doing anything illegal. But once the GDC got involved they didn’t want to know. This was all about money. Dentists want to be richer.”
She also accused dentists of “thinking they are god”. However, her points of view have been countered by Dr Shah Begum, a Manchester dentist whose clients include boxer Amir Khan and Manchester United players Marouane Fellaini and Nick Powell. She put forward a counter-argument explaining why the job should be counted as dentistry.
Dr Begum told the Manchester Evening News: “I had six years of training. Tooth whitening is an element of dentistry. There has to be a clinical assessment first. If you have bleeding gums, or other conditions, whitening should not be done, it could be dangerous. It is not just a matter of blindly putting on gel.”