On 22 May 2019, Allison O’Connor of Retreat Beauty, Bromley, pleaded guilty to illegally offering tooth whitening and was sentenced to a Conditional Discharge of six months, and ordered to pay nearly £300 in fines and legal costs by Bromley Magistrates’ Court.
Following a complaint received in February 2019 from a member of the public, our criminal enforcement team launched an investigation.
Katie Spears, Head of In-House Appeals and Criminal Enforcement at the GDC, said: “Our primary purpose is to protect the public from harm. Illegal tooth whitening represents a real risk as those who carry it out are neither qualified to assess a patient’s suitability for the treatment nor are they able to intervene should an emergency arise. When we receive a report of illegal practice, we seek to educate those involved about the dangers and the law in relation to tooth whitening. Where our efforts are ignored, as in the case of Ms O’Connor, we will, where appropriate, prosecute in the criminal courts.”
Under the Dentists Act 1984, and following the High Court's ruling in GDC v Jamous, the legal position in relation to tooth whitening is very clear. The treatment can only be performed by a dentist or a dental therapist, dental hygienist or a clinical dental technician working to the prescription of a dentist.
Anyone considering tooth whitening should first check the register of dental professionals on our website here to ensure the individual offering the treatment is qualified to do so.
If you suspect any cases of illegal practice, report it here.