Essex Smiles owner prosecuted for offering illegal tooth whitening in Milton Keynes

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Jack Sellick pleaded guilty to offering illegal tooth whitening at Essex Smiles on Upper Fifth Street in Milton Keynes and was ordered to pay almost £4,500 last week by Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court.

Following a complaint received in September 2017, the General Dental Council (GDC) launched an investigation, and on 9 March 2018 Mr Sellick held himself out to undercover GDC investigators as being prepared to practise dentistry, namely tooth whitening, illegally.

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 GDC said: “Our primary purpose 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.

“Where 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 Jack Sellick and Essex Smiles Northampton, we will investigate and where appropriate prosecute in the criminal courts.”

Anyone considering tooth whitening should first check the register of dental professionals on the GDC’s website to ensure the individual offering the treatment is qualified to do so.