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Appeals court upholds teeth-whitening rule

July 27, 2015

By Craig Palmer

Hartford, Conn. – A federal appeals court July 17 upheld a Connecticut State Dental Commission regulation that only licensed dentists were permitted to provide certain teeth-whitening services.

"The Connecticut State Dental Association appreciates the appellate court's support of the State Dental Commission's ruling that the use of LED [light-emitting diode] lights during tooth whitening procedures should be limited to licensed dentists," said Dr. William Nash, CSDA president.

"The court rightfully recognized that 'there are several rational reasons for limiting the use of teeth-whitening LED lights to licensed dentists.' Restricting the use of these lights during teeth whitening procedures is in the best interest of the patient, as licensed dentists are better equipped than non-dentists to determine whether tooth whitening procedures are advisable, or to treat oral health complications that may result from teeth whitening procedures," Dr. Nash said.

"All we hold today is that there are any number of constitutionally rational grounds for the Commission's rule, and that one of them is the favoring of licensed dentists at the expense of unlicensed teeth whiteners," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said in the Docket No. 14-1381-cv opinion.