Hailsham woman prosecuted for illegal tooth whitening

A woman from Hailsham has been ordered to pay almost £3,500 by Hastings Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to offering illegal tooth whitening treatment.

Katie Ensell offered treatments through her business, KT’s Cosmetics, formerly Pearly Whites of Eastbourne.

Following the receipt of a complaint in March 2018, the General Dental Council (GDC) launched an investigation and on 18 July 2018, Ms Ensell held herself out to undercover GDC investigators as being prepared to practise dentistry, namely tooth whitening, using the Hollywood Whitening system.

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.

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 Ensell, we will, where appropriate, prosecute in the criminal courts.”

Anyone considering tooth whitening should first check the register of dental professionals on the GDC’s website to ensure the individual offering the treatment is qualified to do so.

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