Tooth whitening and illegal practice
Tooth whitening is a dental treatment which can permanently alter the structure of your teeth. It should only be undertaken following a proper assessment by a registered dentist and on their prescription.
If you are considering having your teeth whitening, please read our leaflet about what to expect - Considering tooth whitening? - and speak to your dentist about whether you are suitable for it.
Your dentist can examine you, assess whether this is the best treatment option for you and outline the costs and risks of the treatment, so that you are properly informed about it.
If you have seen your dentist and they have prescribed tooth whitening treatment, they will either carry it out themselves, or a registered dental hygienist, dental therapist or clinical dental technician can provide the treatment on the dentist’s prescription.
No other types of dental professional can safely offer this treatment and anyone who is not on our register will be breaking the law if they do so.
What is illegal practice?
In order to work legally and safely in the UK all dental professionals must be registered with us.
Offering or providing dental treatments when you are not registered with the GDC is illegal practice. The GDC will investigate all allegations of illegal practice and potentially prosecute them in the criminal courts.
If you offer or provide dental treatments or advice without being registered with us, you may be committing a criminal offence. Information about who is legally and safely able to offer treatments is available.
We want to make sure that all dental treatments are provided legally and safely, so please let us know if you have been offered or had dental treatment by:
- someone who was on one of our registers but has been erased
- someone who is currently suspended from our registers, or
- someone who has never been on our registers.
To easily find out if an individual is registered with us you can search our registers.
The primary purpose of the GDC is patient protection. There is more information about how we or others can help you with illegal practice.
If you are interested in more detail around the law and policy in this area, you can find out more about facts and myths surrounding illegal practice