Alabama Businesses Take State’s ‘Restrictive’ Teeth Whitening Law to Court

An Alabama law that prohibits the administering of teeth-whitening procedures by non-dentists is being challenged for its constitutionality by businesses throughout the state.

According to a September 4 Birmingham News article, Keith Westphal, of North Carolina, and Joyce Wilson, of Guntersville, filed a lawsuit last year that was presented to Jefferson County Circuit Judge Elisabeth A. French earlier this month. French didn’t indicate when she would make a ruling on the case.

Westphal and Wilson’s lawsuit challenges the Alabama Dental Practice act, which only permits licensed dentists to perform teeth-whitening procedures. Violating this law can result in fines up to $5,000 and a year in jail, the Birmingham News reports.

Teeth whitening has become one of the most popular ways for people to improve the appearance of their teeth, as some 74% of American adults have reported that an unattractive smile can hurt one’s professional success.

And, according to the lawsuit, Alabama’s law is “overly broad, is in violation of due process, and unreasonably favors dentists,” according to the Birmingham News.

There is currently no evidence that in-office teeth whitening procedures cause injury to patients when administered by someone who isn’t a licensed dentist. Prohibiting non-dentists from performing the whitening treatment also drives up prices that consumers pay for the procedure; non-dentist salons typically charge around $100, while dentist’s offices may charge as much as $650 for the same service, according to an article from The Republic.

Throughout the United States, around 30 states have currently adopted measures to regulate teeth whitening services from non-dentists, the article reports. Georgia, North Carolina and Connecticut are also currently weighing similar lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of these regulations.