A warning has been issued over beauty salon teeth whitening after a Coventry woman was hit with a huge court bill for operating illegally.
The General Dental Council say that only qualified dental health professionals can carry out the practice.
The body says that illegal teeth whitening can pose a serious risk to a person’s oral health.
A GDC spokesman said: “It is illegal for an individual to carry out any form of tooth whitening without being registered with the General Dental Council.
“We would advise anybody visiting a beautician to receive tooth whitening treatment to first check this person is on the GDC’s public register of dental professionals.”
They spoke out after self-employed Coventry beautician Kerrie Jackson, of Radford, pleaded guilty to illegally whitening teeth in a Coventry city centre salon.
The GDC took her to court because she had already received a warning letter but on a visit to the premises they found that she was continuing to do teeth whitening.
Speaking to the Telegraph Ms Jackson said she had no idea she had been breaking the law.
At Coventry Magistrates Court on May 4 she admitted a charge of unlawfully holding herself out as being prepared to practise dentistry, namely tooth whitening.
She received a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay the GDC’S £1,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Ms Jackson pleaded guilty to the charges but said that she was fully trained and had relevant qualifications and certificates.
“I have had my full training since 2012, and did it at Harley Street, so it’s not like it was with some back street off-the-grid company,” she said.
“Everything I have used when I’ve whitened teeth has been fine, but I didn’t know I was breaking the law by not being a dental practitioner.”
It’s a criminal offence for anyone other than a properly registered dental professional to practise dentistry or to offer to do so.
That law was challenged in the High Court in 2013 but senior judges confirmed that teeth whitening was a form of dentistry.
Ms Jackson claimed that she was only prosecuted because she placed a mouth guard containing whitening gel into her customer’s mouth, instead of the customer doing it themselves.
But a spokesman for the GDC said that it is illegal however the gel is administered, unless it’s done by a trained dental practitioner.
Ms Jackson received a visit from the GDC on February 3 of this year to Ruby Tuesday’s Hair Salon, in St Nicholas Street, where she was renting a chair. The hair salon had nothing to do with the GDC prosecution.
She said: “They just descended on me. I had nothing to hide though and they were in the room with me whilst I carried out the work.
“They were shown all my certificates and proof of training but that’s when they told me I was doing it wrong.
“I now run my own business and I won’t be practising teeth whitening on anyone from now on.
“I offer many more services that my clients know I can carry out to a high quality.”
The GDC spokesman added: “Ms Jackson was sent two warning letters by the GDC in March 2014 and in October 2015 which both set out the law in relation to who can and cannot legally provide the treatment and also set out the consequences of ignoring these letters and continuing to offer the treatment.
“As she did not respond to these letters and the GDC received a further complaint, an investigation was launched and this led to her prosecution.”
Source: Coventry Telegraph