UK: Dental Brief - Latest Tooth Whitening News

Last Updated: 3 June 2013
Article by Jenin Khanam

In GDC v Lorna Jamous, the High Court has just held that tooth-whitening is a treatment that is "usually" performed by dentists and therefore cannot lawfully be carried out by unqualified people. The court overturned the earlier ruling of a magistrate after considering evidence from GDC witnesses who spoke of the danger and complications of such treatment. The High Court ruled that the public had to be protected from treatment by those not qualified to give it, and held that the defendant, a "beautician", should be convicted of contravening the Act. The maximum sentence if convicted at the Magistrate Court is either a fine of £5000 or 6 months imprisonment.

Exam Results

Many dental students will soon be receiving their exam results. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to challenge decision made by higher education institutions, for example by appealing. Students need to act quickly if they want to challenge decisions, because time limits usually apply. Any problems during the exam itself should be notified to the invigilator before leaving the examination room. For further information about how we are able to assist, please contact Rachel Warren on by email at

Closed Company Loans Loophole Closed – a note for corporate dental practitioners

Draft legislation has been published regarding the closure of an effective tax loophole where a company could avoid the payment of a tax charge of 25% by repaying the loan made to any individuals who have an interest or shares in the company within 9 months of such a loan. Changes may also prevent refunds of the 25% tax already paid where the loans are redrawn shortly after. A copy of the draft legislation can be found on the following website

New Guidance On Sharps Disposal Published The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance on the forthcoming Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 which are to apply from 11 May 2013. The Sharps Regulations require the following risk control measures to be put in place:

  1. Avoid as far as "reasonably practicable" the use of unnecessary sharps.
  2. When sharps have to be used safer sharps are to be used when reasonable practicable to do so.
  3. Needles are not re-capped/resealed after use unless a risk is effectively controlled by use of a suitable appliance.
  4. Sharps are disposed of safely – written instructions available and clearly marked in secured containers.

The full outline of the HSE regulations is available at the following website

CPD Points Approximately 40,000 dental care professionals ("DCPs") will come to an end of their first five year cycle of CPD on 31st July. By this date they must have completed 150 hours of CPD. This is a legal requirement and registrants will have until 28 August to have completed the CPD hours or risk losing their GDC registration. In the meantime, the GDC held a consultation between October 2012 and January 2013 regarding concerns over the quality of some of the CPD offered to DCPs and issued a detailed statement which included the following:-

a) All who provide CPD to dental professionals to ensure they robustly assure their CPD products and services and have an effective feedback mechanism in place. Quality control is a current legal requirement of verifiable CPD.

b) The Dental CPD Institute is to be proactive in working together to develop industry led quality standards to give DCPs assurances about their products and services.

c) All registrants to make careful choices about investing time and money in CPD products and services and to obtain advance assurances as to the quality and value for money.

Direct Access to DCPs

The GDC voted on 28 March 2013 to remove its barrier to direct access for some DCPs and from 1st May 2013 patients can book directly with dental hygienists or dental therapists who offer a direct access service. How this will affect existing dental practices will remain to be seen.

NHS Worcestershire Withdraws 111 Advice Lines

A NHS telephone advice line has been withdrawn in Worcestershire after concerns over patient safety. The 111 non emergency service faced criticism since a trial was launched in parts of England last month. Some callers were said to have been left on hold for hours. Wayne Bartlett the project's regional director said there were "significant" problems and the service has been withdrawn in Worcestershire to ensure patient safety was not compromised.

And finally ...

A heritage blue plaque has been placed on the childhood home of Lillian Lindsay the first woman dentist to qualify in Britain and the first female BDA president. It was unveiled on 17 April 2013. The site is in Islington where she lived from 1872 to 1892.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Jenin Khanam
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