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a blog by Chris Barrow

Tooth Whitening – more

There are some comments that are clearly worthy of a wider audience and this is one of them: Chris – I’m not the slightest bit surprised that this action has originated from my part of the world. When the dust settles I imagine that we will find that it is proactive East Riding of Yorkshire Trading Standards, rather than neighbouring Hull Trading Standards that have initiated the action. They share manpower/facilities in any event. East Riding Trading Standards have been running a fairly conspicuous campaign about the illegality of >0.1% gels for about 3 years. This has included press releases and coverage on the local BBC and also newspaper articles asking for patients who have had their teeth whitened to come forward to talk to them. I was unfortunate enough to have had a worrying letter from them about a specific case around 3 years ago – and subsequently suffered the interview process. I spent a Christmas holiday period seriously worried that a criminal prosecution would follow. In the event it did not – but I know I have been watched very carefully since then. Other local practices suffered a similar thing – including a practice who had an unannounced visit from Trading Standards wanting to examine Zoom equipment for signs of use. This has lead to an unfair trading situation around here – we have those practices who have received attention from Trading Standards who have had their cosmetic practice activities very severely limited, other practices that have been carrying on with tooth whitening promotion and procedures seemingly without attracting attention (until now), and the hairdressing/beauty therapy sector who seem unchallenged and unaffected and as far as I know. All very unsatisfactory – especially since the local Trading Standards web site places an emphasis on maintaining level playing field trading conditions as a high priority. I have a comment about your video piece from BDA Conference – from my own difficult dealings with East Riding Trading Standards people, I think practices will find that Trading Standards will not think the use of >0.1% gel any less of a criminal offence if it is offered as part of a well constructed and consented comprehensive treatment plan than if it is offered as a “Whitening Wednesday” stand alone style offering. If prosecution is taken forward and won, it will have a massive impact on the practice of cosmetic dentistry in virtually all its aspects. It’s a dark day indeed (pun intended!). Regards,

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