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Last update07:25:39 AM GMT

GDC stance on tooth whitening gets European backing

In recent issues of Your Expert Witness we have highlighted the on-going issue of unqualified people carrying out illegal tooth whitening – and the efforts being made by the General Dental Council (GDC) to bring offenders to book. Since the last issue highlighted a case in Wales there have been prosecutions in Orpington, Salford and London.

At the end of last year the legal position on tooth whitening of the GDC received the backing of the organisation that brings together all European dental regulators. FEDCAR – the Federation of European Dental Competent Authorities and Regulators – published a statement endorsing its approach as the one to be used across Europe.

The statement said: “In the interests of high standards of oral healthcare, and irrespective of the chemical products used, tooth whitening should only be provided under the supervision of a dental practitioner.”

According to the GDC: “This statement goes some way to supporting the legal position in the UK, established in the High Court case of GDC v Jamous in 2013, that tooth whitening is the practice of dentistry and therefore can only be performed by registered dental care professionals. The General Dental Council has successfully prosecuted a number of illegal tooth whiteners since the High Court decision.”

The FEDCAR statement creates a European position on the issue – which it is hoped will improve patient safety across Europe.

Victoria Sheppard-Jones, interim head of illegal practice at the GDC, said: “This is great news for the dental profession and patients. It endorses the UK legal position that tooth whitening is a complicated and potentially risky procedure and as such can only be undertaken by a qualified dental professional.

“As always, we encourage anybody who is considering tooth whitening to check the register to ensure that the individual is legally allowed to do so before proceeding.”

In the latest case a woman from London was ordered to pay more than £2,000 after pleading guilty to a charge under the Dentists Act 1984. In that case, where the offender provided tooth whitening treatment to an individual in south east London, the individual concerned immediately experienced discomfort and 'shooting pains' during the treatment and suffered with inflamed gums for a week afterwards.

Ms Sheppard-Jones commented: “Our first successful prosecution of 2017 shows that we are continuing to tackle illegal dentistry in order to protect the public from dangerous and potentially harmful work.

“For anyone considering tooth whitening, we urge you to check our online register to make sure the individual offering the treatment is a registered dental care professional. This way you can be confident that the person offering the treatment is legally allowed to do so.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 12:07