The North Carolina dental board will appeal a judge’s ruling.
Administrative Law Judge Michael Chappell recently ruled that the dental board broke a law by banning people other than dentists from whitening teeth. The claim was that the dentists engaged in behavior that was anticompetitive and was in violation of a federal law. The judge also ruled that the dental board had no right to make a ruling in something that was not involving dentists.
The decision went on the side of the Federal Trade Commission, which filed the complaint against the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners in June 2010.
Noel Allen, an attorney representing the dental board, said the board will take the case until it goes all the way to the US Circuit Court of Appeals.
This dispute goes deeper than teeth whitening because it also involves a struggle of power between federal and state agencies over who can regulate businesses that are under the jurisdiction of federal and state laws.
The whitening services began to appear in day spas and kiosks at malls. The dental board believed the services should only be performed by dentists and wanted the nondentists to stop performing the whitening. The reason was that the dental board did not believe nondentists took the proper measures to ensure the patients’ safety.
The FTC didn’t believe the dental board was correct when the dental board claimed that state law makes them exempt from federal antitrust laws.