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Judge: NC dentists cannot control teeth-whitening business

Posted July 21, 2011

— A federal judge has determined that North Carolina's dental regulatory board cannot prevent non-dentists from providing teeth-whitening services.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission accused the state Board of Dental Examiners of improperly trying to shut down businesses like day spas and tanning booths that also offer whitening services.

The dental board then filed suit, alleging that a state law allows only dentists to perform teeth-whitening procedures and contending that the FTC overstepped its authority in trying to determine who can whiten teeth.

U.S. Chief Administrative Law Judge Michael Chappell ruled Tuesday that the dental board doesn't have the authority to order non-dentists to stop providing whitening goods or services, and he ordered the board to stop its anti-competitive practices.

Chappell gave the board 30 days to send letters to each non-dental business it previously warned against providing whitening services to notify them that it doesn't have any power to stop them.


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  • LuvLivingInCary Jul 21, 2011

    greedy dentists....orthodonics is another practice that a skilled person could do without years of dental school.

  • Dark_Horse Jul 21, 2011

    If you chose to go to someone other than a dentist for any oral cosmetic procedure then you deserve what you get.

  • carolinapatriot Jul 21, 2011

    Federal judges have no matter deciding this, and the FTC has no authority in it. If it is such an eggregious practice, then you should petition your elected state officials to do something about it.

  • hott4rotts Jul 21, 2011

    You can get your teeth "whitened" over the counter and in the mall kiosks, but if you want "bleach" you still have to get it at the dentist. Also what sterilization methods are being used for the cheapo whitening? None at the kiosks...no running water...duh!

  • DeerHeart Jul 21, 2011

    FYI--Many dentists do not even charge for bleaching if you're a patient and keep up with your cleanings. I think the dentists that want to restrict bleaching may actually have had a genuine concern for public health. The products used in dental offices are significantly stronger than what you can buy over the counter and have potential to cause your gums to burn and your teeth to be ultra sensitive.

  • kodac31 Jul 21, 2011

    The Federal Government has NO AUTHORITY in this STATE matter. This is the problem with this Country people! The Federal Governments Powers have gone unchecked for so long the States Rights are completely eroded and Federal Courts and Government can overturn and rule States as they please. The Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves in disgust at what has become of this nation.

  • readme Jul 21, 2011

    The OTC stuff isn't stong enough to really make a difference. The 30 minute job at the spa is strong enough but a little more risky. Do it at your own risk if you don't want to shell out for a dentist.

  • Tarheelfan13 Jul 21, 2011

    North Carolina is the most over regulated stated in the south with a board for everything that restricts peoples freedoms. It is good to see the federal government put a North Carolina board in its place. Personally, I'd rather go see a dentist to have my teeth whitened but in a free society people should have a right to go to a non dentist for a procedure such as this. Somebody needs to also explain to that board that even a federal FTC regulation trumps a state law when they conflict. Last time I checked it was not the Republic of North Carolina.

  • ddees Jul 21, 2011

    Dentist are wonderful to have when you need them. The unfortunate thing is that they over charge for their services which enable them to have several houses and cars and travel the world. They need to start accepting what insurance will pay for a particular procedure and get back in touch with the real world................

  • aspenstreet1717 Jul 21, 2011

    Dentist are like all the others in the medical field wanting to keep competition at bay to keep prices high.