A federal judge has ruled that teeth-whitening businesses in Connecticut can use LED lights that activate the peroxide used to whiten teeth, but customers must position them for themselves.
The March 28 decision by U.S. District Judge Michael Shea allows two businesses to reopen after being closed by the state, according to an Associated Press story.
But the judge ruled that the state may limit the practice of positioning the LED lights in front of a customer's mouth to dentists.
State Attorney General George Jepsen had relaxed rules on selling whitening products before the ruling. Customers now can get manufacturers' instructions, a place to use and dispose of teeth-whitening products, a shade guide, and a light available with a self-administered whitening product at the business site, according to the story.
The Institute for Justice, the public interest law firm, and the co-owners of the teeth-whitening business Sensational Smiles sued after a 2011 ruling by the Connecticut Dental Commission made it a crime for anyone but a licensed dentist to offer teeth-whitening services. The firm plans to appeal the portion of the decision preventing nondentists from positioning lights in front of a customer's mouth.
The group had sought to overturn Connecticut's regulations, claiming that they promote a monopoly for dentists. Nondentists who offer some whitening services can face felony charges and up to five years in jail or $25,000 in fines, the story noted.
The Institute for Justice said at least 30 states are trying to license teeth-whitening businesses, not because of complaints from consumers, but to protect dentists from competition.