Judge hears testimony in case against NC dental board

By DrBicuspid.com staff writers

March 14, 2011 -- Hearings continue in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) review of whether the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners is guilty of anticompetitive conspiracy in its efforts to keep nondentists from performing teeth-whitening services.

The FTC sued the dental board in June 2010, alleging that the board violated federal law by blocking nondentists from providing these services.

In November 2010, the board filed a motion seeking to dismiss the FTC's charges based on the state action doctrine. Then on February 1, 2011, the board filed a lawsuit against the FTC, accusing the commission of violating the U.S. Constitution in its attempts to keep the board from regulating teeth-whitening services offered by nondentists.

But on February 8, the FTC denied the board's motion to dismiss the FTC's complaint, unanimously rejecting the board's argument that the "state action doctrine" exempts it from antitrust scrutiny under the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Now administrative law judge D. Michael Chappell is hearing testimony from representatives of the ADA, the FTC, and other expert witnesses about who should and shouldn't be allowed to perform professional teeth whitening, and why.

Testifying before Chappell on March 9 and 10, Van Haywood, DMD, a consultant to the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, said he is not in favor of anyone bleaching their teeth without having a proper dental exam, according to an ADA News story.

Meanwhile, Martin Giniger, DMD, PhD, an expert witness for the FTC, said he believes the dental board "has sought to eliminate a teeth whitening alternative that is valued by consumers ... who want a speedy teeth whitening experience but would prefer not to pay the considerable sums that dentists charge for chairside bleaching," the ADA News reported.

At the conclusion of the proceedings, the administrative law judge will issue an opinion that the FTC will then act on, and further legal proceedings could follow, according to the ADA News.

Regular updates on the proceedings can be found on the FTC website.

Copyright © 2011 DrBicuspid.com

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