On 7 March 2019, Gemma Billington of Aesthetics HQ salon, Stockport, pleaded guilty to illegally offering tooth whitening and was ordered to pay nearly £1,500 in fines and legal costs by Stockport Magistrates' Court.
Following a complaint received in October 2018 from a member of the public who suffered painful, sore gums and an infected Crown after the illegal treatment was carried out by Ms Billington, our criminal enforcement team launched an investigation.
Katie Spears, Head of In-House Appeals and Criminal Enforcement at the GDC said: "Our primary purpose at the GDC 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. The GDC takes reports of the illegal practice of dentistry very seriously and, where appropriate, will 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.