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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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Can you give me the definitive legal position of a non-dentist

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Can you give me the definitive legal position of a non-dentist offering a cosmetic teeth whitening service, using non-peroxide, approved whitening gels and LED light technology?

Teeth whitening, irrespective of the material used, is considered to be dental practice and non qualified persons may be prosecuted by the General Dental Council.

This was affirmed by the High Court in the case of Lorna Jamous, see here:,-High-Court-confirms.aspx

Only dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists working under a dental prescription may carry out tooth whitening, whether or not peroxide is being used.

Hope this helps
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I believe this is considered a cosmetic process, and not a dental procedure. From what I understand, the prosecution was successful due to the use of hydrogen peroxide gel, which ( as the GDC will no doubt affirm) may only be purchased by and administered by registered dental practices. The House of Lords deemed that teeth whitening is a cosmetic process, and the GDC have been against this, hence the prosecution being brought about.

Cosmetic procedures which do not involve hydrogen peroxide fall outside this legislation, therefore I requested definitive statement of law that prohibits the practice, where non peroxide treatment is administered to a client. There are many UK based companies offering training and services, which if illegal, would have been prosecuted; would have been prevented from purchasing and distributing non-peroxide (CE approved) gels and equipment.

Please provide accurate definitive law which might prevent this.


I am afraid I have nothing further to add and will opt out.
The issue here is not what material is used for teeth whitening I.e. Peroxide or non peroxide, the issue is whether any form of teeth whitening, whether for cosmetic purposes or not, amounts to the practice of dentistry, under the Dentistry Act 1984, as amended.The High Court in the GDC v Jamous case held that teeth whitening amounts to the practice of dentistry and as such can only be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Dentistry Act.See here used gels and lights for teeth whitening, although that is not the issue, the issue is that she was not registered under the Dentists Act to practice dentistry in the form of teeth whitening.I hope this clarifies.Just because unregulated people Re offering the treatment you are proposing does not mean that it is legal, I am afraid. The law may or may not catch up with them eventually, just as not all criminals are caught, some are, some are now.Sorry, I know this is not what you wish to hear but I can only advise you in accordance with the law. The House of Lords case seems to have been misinterpreted.
Just to follow up on my answers, the House of Lords ruling which is often quoted out of context appears here:

You will note that the ruling is about certain teeth whitening products being classed as cosmetics, it is not about the teeth whitening process which amounts to dentistry as per the Jamous ruling of 2013.

Hope this clarifies.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I appreciate your responses and I believe that the Dentistry Act is somewhat ambiguous in its definitions. This however does not alter the fact that the GDC appear to have a great deal of power due to this ambiguity.
My follow up question, based upon your learned answers is this:
In December of 2013 (this is of course post-judgement in the cited case) I was sold a package of training, equipment and advice by a company which assured me that the practice of teeth whitening was totally legal. This is because it was a cosmetic procedure and not dentistry. The whitening product, Sodium-perborate gel was legal to purchase and administer to prospective clients, because only dental practitioners could purchase and administer hydrogen peroxide gels.
Having understood your explanation that this practice is deemed illegal, would I have any grounds to seek reimbursement from the company which supplied me the package, under what would appear to be false pretences.
It is to me, a reasonably substantial amount, in the sum of £2,500.
Your thoughts will be very much appreciated, as I do not wish to embark on breaking this very ambiguous law.
I agree, the definition of what constitutes dentistry is ambiguous in the Dentistry Act and it is left to the courts to determine what practices constitute the practice of dentistry as occurred in the Jamous case where the High Court decided that teeth whitening is the practice of dentistry.

Yes, you would have grounds to seek reimbursement from the company which sold you the course under the Misrepresentation Act as you were misled into buying the course on the grounds that it was lawful for non regulated persons to perform teeth whitening, when in fact this was not the case in light of the Jamous ruling.

You would obviously need to convince the company that they were wrong and if they refuse to pay you the money, you may file a court claim against them. The easiest way would be to do so online at

As there is a court precedent I.e. The Jamous ruling, you should have an easy time getting a court to side with you and grant you judgement for the return of your money.

All the best
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