The General Dental Council (GDC) has successfully prosecuted a woman for whitening people’s teeth without having first been trained as a dentist.
Hayley Wilding was found guilty of unlawfully practicing dentistry, contrary to Section 38 (1) and (2) of the Dentists Act 1984. She was also found guilty of unlawfully carrying on the business of dentistry, contrary to sections 41 (1) and (1B) of the Dentists Act 1984.
In total, Ms Wilding was fined £1,350 and made to pay a £135 victim surcharge and £1862.64 in costs to the GDC. This may seem harsh, however it serves as a potent reminder to many businesses that teeth whitening is not a procedure for beauty salons. It is a dental procedure, and as such should only be performed by dentists.
In fact, it was ruled in May by the UK High Court that tooth whitening came under the category of ‘the practice of dentistry’, and is therefore legally only allowed to be performed by qualified, registered dentists.
The only exceptions are for dental hygienists and dental therapists if they are working to the prescription of a dentist. Ms Wilding had been providing tooth whitening at Vanity Salon on Ulswater Road in Ridge, Lancaster. Her customers were therefore obviously not under any impression that they were visiting the dentist.
Therefore, another issue has been raised, namely that many dental patients who would like their teeth whitened may not be aware of the fact that the service can only be provided by dentists. In fact, many might not even know that their dentist provides the service at all.
It may seem silly, but the logic is there. After all, teeth whitening seems a lot like a beauty procedure, not a clinical one. If you want to inform your patients otherwise, it might be a good idea to invest in some dental posters.
Hanging these in your practice is a good way to make sure your patients know exactly what treatments you can offer them, so they do not resort to visiting beauticians instead. If you are worried that posters will not go with the decor of your practice, then a range of canvases are available as well.