A recent report in The Times has thrown light onto a number of dental practitioners who are setting up as ‘cosmetic’ dentists, despite having no formal training1.
They are ruining lives and appearance and coining in the cash.
Jonathan Green, Director of Fitness to Practise and the GDC says, “General dental practitioners (dentists) are trained to carry out cosmetic procedures such as crowns, bridges, tooth whitening or veneers as part of their undergraduate training.”
“Any individual carrying this out without being a registered dental professional would be a matter for our illegal practice team.”
Negligence claims resulting from cosmetic dental surgery have risen by 80% in the last five years2. Treatments can range from £900 for teeth whitening to £5,000 for teeth straightening. So not only are victims of cosmetic dental negligence often left disfigured and in pain, they are out of pocket as well.
What can go wrong?
In their desire for money and with total disregard to the needs and well-being of the patient, illegal or negligent providers of cosmetic dental surgery often pressure people who come in for a teeth-whitening treatment to buying veneers, cosmetic crowns, Invisalign braces and many other complicated improvements. Without the required training, skills and experience, practitioners can leave patients with faulty implants, rotten bridges and even collapsed jaws.
It is then left to professional, registered dentists to fix up the mess, sometimes at great expense, both physically, emotionally and financially to the victim.
Katie Spears, Head of Illegal Practice at the General Dental Council advises that, “Anyone considering tooth whitening treatments should consult the list of registered dental professionals on our website3 before doing so and to report, to us, any individual you believe may be illegally offering dental treatment.”
Celebrity smile at a price
Hollywood stars are famous for their gleaming white smiles. Even the Duchess of Cambridge, whose teeth underwent a rapid transformation before her wedding, is said to have undergone cosmetic dental surgery. She reportedly placed herself in the hands of a pioneering French dentist who specialises in what is called “harmonious asymmetry”4.
Royalty and celebrities have the money and contacts to seek out the most experienced and qualified cosmetic dentists available. However, for the average person, reliance must be placed on the claims of the particular dental practice. Worryingly, the dentists’ regulatory body, the General Dental Council (DGC) has been accused of putting patients at risk by ignoring serious concerns reported about a string of repeat offenders.
Is this accusation fair? The GDC has successfully prosecuted a company and two individuals in August 2016 alone for tooth whitening offences.5
In one case a man from Ilford was hauled before the Magistrates’ Court for carrying out tooth whitening illegally. Gagandeep Singh pleaded guilty to offering tooth whitening treatment on 21st April 2016 without being on GDC’s list of registered dental professionals at Snow Teeth Whitening. Mr Singh admitted that he had been illegally carrying out tooth whitening for 2.5 years treating around 2,500 patients in that time.
The GDC had previously received other complaints about Mr Singh and sent him two previous warning letters which he ignored.
Ms Spears said, “The GDC’s primary function is public protection and we are aware of the risk posed to public health by illegal tooth whitening. The illegal practice team are working hard to prosecute individuals guilty of this and recently prosecuted a limited company. So far this year, the GDC has a 100% success rate in the eighteen cases it has prosecuted for illegal dental practice. The GDC is clear in its duty to protect the public and are fully committed to continuing our work in prosecuting illegal practitioners who pose a risk to public health”.
A beautiful smile should not come at any cost
At IBB, our personal injury team, led by Malcolm Underhill, has the expertise and knowledge to advise and represent you if you wish to make a claim for botched or negligent dental treatment or any other medical negligence incident. To talk about how we might be able to help, please phone our personal injury and dental negligence solicitors on 0333 123 9099, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form. Any discussions you have with us will be in the strictest of confidence.