Conn. dental board bans whitening at malls

The Connecticut State Dental Commission has ruled that tooth whitening is dentistry and can no longer be performed at spas, salons, and shopping malls unless it is done under the supervision of a licensed dentist, according to a story in the New Haven Independent.

The commission based its ruling on testimony from the state's dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants who all spoke against nondentists providing whitening independently.

They warned that the diagnosis of the cause of tooth discoloration requires professional assessment and that the agents used in whitening can be harmful.

The commission's ruling does not ban over-the-counter whitening strips commonly sold in pharmacies and supermarkets.

In a similar case last year in North Carolina, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged the State Board of Dental Examiners with an anticompetitive conspiracy that violates federal law when the dental board approved similar restrictions on teeth whitening. The FTC said that the North Carolina dental board's actions had decreased competition and harmed consumers. According to the FTC, teeth-whitening services are much less expensive when performed by nondentists than when performed by dentists.

And in February of this year, the North Carolina dental board filed a lawsuit against the FTC accusing it of violating the U.S. Constitution in its attempts to keep the board from regulating teeth-whitening services offered by nondentists.

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