GDC v Hill & PW Healthcare

S. Ramasamy, instructed by Field Fisher Waterhouse

These were the first prosecutions of companies and individuals for commercial tooth whitening.

The GDC had received a number of complaints from members of the public and dental professionals which raised concerns about tooth whitening treatment being provided by individuals who are not registered dental professionals.

The GDC regards tooth whitening as the ‘practice of dentistry’ (as defined by section 37 of the Dentists Act 1984) and submitted that if non-registrants offered or provided this treatment to others, offences including those under s.38 (practice of dentistry by laymen) and s.43 (body corporate carrying on the business of dentistry without a majority of GDC registered directors) of the Act were committed.

The GDC was concerned about the risk to the public posed by such potentially hazardous treatment being provided by those without knowledge of dentistry. It aimed to act in the public interest by prosecuting non-registrants for these offences.

After a series of hearings, guilty pleas were entered. The  Court imposed fines and costs of over  £13,000.

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