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Tooth whitening prosecution success good for patients, says BDA

20 April 2011

The successful prosecution of a non-dental professional who has been providing tooth whitening treatments is good news for patients, according to the British Dental Association (BDA). The defendant in the case, a non-dental professional, pleaded guilty to providing teeth whitening services in breach of the Dentists Act.

The BDA agrees with the General Dental Council that tooth whitening constitutes the practice of dentistry and should therefore only be carried out by dentists or other dental care professionals who are registered to provide dental care. It also shares the concerns of the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products which has highlighted the potential dangers of non-dentists providing whitening.

Stuart Johnston of the British Dental Association said:

“This is a victory for patient safety. Patients having their teeth whitened need to know that they are completely safe and are being treated by fully-trained dental professionals. Non-dental professionals are not trained to consider a patient’s wider health and detect problems, such as gum disease for example, that impact on the suitability of an individual to have their teeth whitened. We’re also concerned that some non-dental professionals carry out whitening treatments using inappropriate and potentially dangerous chemicals.

“The success of the GDC’s criminal proceedings sends a clear message that patient safety is of paramount importance and reminds members of the public considering whitening to check that they are dealing with qualified professionals before going ahead with the treatment.”