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Dentists who breach tooth whitening law could go to prison

Posted by Allie Wright

Dentists could face a fine or imprisonment if they breach regulations regarding tooth whitening, solicitors have warned.

Those who fall foul of the new law 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.

Products containing or releasing less than 0.1 per cent hydrogen peroxide remain freely available to consumers.

Products containing or releasing more than 0.1 per cent and up to six per cent  hydrogen peroxide (or other compounds or mixtures that release hydrogen peroxide, e.g. zinc peroxide) are now permitted for use.

Products containing or releasing more than 0.1 per cent and up to six per cent hydrogen peroxide must only be sold to dental practitioners and must be used for the first time in any cycle by dental practitioners only, or under the supervision of a dental practitioner.

They may then be provided to consumers to complete the cycle of use but must not be used on any person under the age of 18.

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 General Dental Council (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.

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