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GWarren For Business & Nonprofits
GWarren For Business & Nonprofits, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 355
Experience:  30 yrs Counsel, AVP Corp Governance Fortune 100 finance/ins, Nonprofit Bds, law firm. OH NJ license
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In what states is it legal to operate a teeth whitening company

Customer Question

In what states is it legal to operate a teeth whitening company that does not require you to be a dentist or ADA certified?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  GWarren For Business & Nonprofits replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for contacting justanswer.

As you indicate the law is changing regarding commercial teeth whitening services. While in some states the practice is currently "legal" by individuals other than dentists or those under supervision by a dentist or within guidelines of state dental licenses, the American Dental Association is actively introducing legislation to prohibit the practice by other than dentists or those under that licensing process. Kiosks, for example, are being closed in many states. The law, therefore, is subject to change in many states due to recently introduced legislation. While the practice may not be currently prohibited by other than licensed dental practitioners in the following states; Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois and Missouri, legislation has been introduced.

In Virginia, the Virginia Board of Dentistry has written in its Bulletin, the following, which may be an indication of its further views regarding teeth whitening agents by those who are not dental personnel:

"Whitening lights are within the scope of the practice of dentistry and should be used under the direction of a dentist and that dentists are prohibited from practicing in commercial and mercantile establishments."

D.C., Nevada and Tennessee appear to have policies prohibiting the service by individuals other than dental personnel. Ohio, however, appears to permit the distribution of teeth whitening agents as long as no commercial individual positions the agents for the consumer or places their hands in the customer's mouth. Court cases in Tennessee and West Virginia, according to the Hawaii legislation, have decided that kiosk practices have been banned as the practice of dentistry.

According to the ADA website, policies are pending or have been adopted in Oklahoma, Louisiana, North Carolina and Georgia.

The other 38 states may not have specifically addressed the issue at this time.

Following is a direct public domain link to the ADA website that addresses states that have or are currently addressing legislation governing commercial teeth whitening services:

http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=3469

The concern to anyone considering a kiosk or other commercial teeth whitening service who is not a licensed dental professional could be that if not currently prohibited as a practice by non-licensed dental personnel, given the ADA's active efforts to bring the practice within and to enforce licensure requirements, there may be a business risk. There have also been significant concerns expressed by the public on blogs regarding such kiosk services that may attract the attention of legislators and regulators in states that do not currently prohibit the practice by non-licensed or non-regulated personnel.

I hope this is responsive to your question. If you would like further clarification, please let me know.