Cosmetic Dentistry in Georgia Challenged
A federal lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia that challenges the Georgia Board of Dentistry’s monopoly on teeth whitening. It was filed by the Trisha Eck, an entrepreneur who had a successful teeth whitening business in Warner Robbins, Georgia, and the Institute for Justice, which is the national law firm for justice.
Eck sold over the counter teeth whitening products and showed customers how to apply the products on their teeth. She got a cease-and-desist order from the Georgia Dental Board earlier this month. They told her to shut down her business or else spend a maximum of five years in jail as well as $500 in fines for each customer.
Attorney Larry Salzman from the IJ and lead counsel on the case said that the Georgia Dental Board’s action was not about safety of the customers but to protect licensed dentists from having competition. The FDA has labeled teeth whitening products as cosmetics but dentists charge more than five times than what non-dentists entrepreneurs charge for the products.
Eck said that the products she offer is the same one people use at home daily. She said that it was unfair to be threatened for selling something that people can buy in stores and online. It is not just Georgia that is targeting non-dentists who sell teeth whitening products. According to IJ that since 2005, at least 14 states have changed their laws or regulations to exclude all but licensed dentists, dental assistants, or hygienists from providing teeth whitening services. 25 states dental boards have shut down teeth whitening businesses.
These restrictions have resulted to lawsuits throughout the United States. IJ is representing other teeth whitening entrepreneurs who are challenging the rules in Alabama and Connecticut. Last month, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a case filed by the Federal Trade Commission against the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners.
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