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NC Dental Board Outlaws Teeth-whitening, FTC Says No Way

Posted: June 21, 2010

If your spa has experienced similar actions from dental boards in your state, it may also be out of line. Contact the FTC at the information available at the end of this story for more information and to report any questionable occurrences.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today initiated an action against the state dental board in North Carolina, alleging that it is harming competition by blocking nondentists from providing teeth-whitening services in the state. The FTC charged that the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners (the “Dental Board”) has impermissibly ordered nondentists to stop providing teeth-whitening services, which has made it harder to obtain these services and more expensive for North Carolina consumers.

According to the FTC’s administrative complaint, teeth-whitening services are much less expensive when performed by nondentists than when performed by dentists. A nondentist typically charges between $100 and $150 per whitening session, while a dentist typically charges between $300 and $700, with some dental procedures costing as much as $1,000.

Whitening services provided by nondentists are often available at spas, retail stores and mall kiosks. Dentists in North Carolina offer whitening services in their offices, and also provide take-home kits.

The Dental Board is a state agency created to regulate the practice of dentistry in North Carolina. It consists of eight members, including six licensed dentists, who collectively control the operation of the Dental Board. Any person who wants to practice dentistry in the state must be licensed by the Dental Board. The Dental Board also may ask a state court to deem a particular conduct an unauthorized practice of dentistry and issue an injunction.