20 July 2018

Ruling in his absence, District Judge Taafe of Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court ordered Derby resident Colin Vernall (also known as Vern Collins) to pay over £7,300.

In March 2018 the General Dental Council (GDC) received a complaint, referral from Derby City Council Trading Standards. The complainant reported feeling a sharp pain in her teeth during the illegal procedure, to which Mr Vernall replied that it was a normal effect of tooth whitening.

In ruling, District Judge Taafe said: "I take a serious view of [illegal tooth whitening] cases, because of the obvious risk to public health by unlicensed individuals who practise for financial gain. He was warned on numerous occasions by the GDC yet proceeded to carry on for commercial gain. I believe there needs to be a substantial deterrent for other people who act in this way.”

Under the Dentists Act 1984 and following the High Court’s ruling in GDC v Jamous, the legal position in relation to tooth whitening is very clear in that the treatment can only be performed by a dentist or a dental therapist, dental hygienist or a clinical dental technician working to the prescription of a dentist.

Katie Spears, Head of Illegal Practice at the General Dental Council said: “Our primary purpose at the GDC is to protect the public from harm. Illegal tooth whitening represents a real risk as those who carry it out are neither qualified to assess a patient’s suitability for the treatment nor are they able to intervene should an emergency arise. When we receive a report of illegal practice, we seek to educate those involved about the dangers and the law in relation to tooth whitening. Where our efforts are ignored, as in the case of Mr Vernall, we will, where appropriate, prosecute in the criminal courts.”