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Teeth-whitening Legislation

By: Lauren Williamson
Posted: March 26, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
tooth with a padlock

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In February 2009, the judge determined teeth whitening falls within the scope of dentistry and should be performed only by a dental professional. Markos and the teeth-whitening supplier lost their appeal in October 2009.


Violating teeth-whitening regulations could lead to hefty fines. Some spa owners are beginning to question whether the service adds value to their business, while others believe that it does.

Teeth whitening was initially popular when Jana Gwin, owner of One Eighty Wellness Spa in Auburn, Alabama, added the service, but soon the demand decreased. “It was kind of OK when Alabama banned it,” she says. Gwin received a few calls from clients after she stopped offering teeth whitening, but otherwise, it didn’t have much impact.

Although teeth whitening isn’t hugely popular at Serendipity Boutique & Day Spa in Kansas City, Missouri, spa manager Crystal Taylor says she would miss the opportunity to perform the service if Missouri’s legislation passes. “We’re here to make people look and feel better,” she says. “It’s a great form of beautification.”

Teeth whitening is one way Melanie Vasseur, owner of Vasseur Skin Salon & Spa in San Diego, makes her spa a little more full-service. “We’re doing treatments on clients’ faces and styling their hair, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to leave with yellow teeth,” she says. “Everyone drinks coffee and red wine. Does everyone get tooth whitening done? No. Should they? Yes.” Vasseur’s found that the best way to market teeth whitening is to offer a discount. Clients will then combine teeth whitening with other services they receive during their visit to the spa.

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