First Prosecution in Northern Ireland for Illegal Tooth Whitening

29 April 2015

Author: Francesca Lowry
Practice Area: Healthcare
Sector: Healthcare


Following a raft of prosecutions in England by the UK regulator of dental practice, the General Dental Council (‘the GDC’) in relation to illegal tooth whitening, Northern Ireland has now seen its first prosecution.

On 14 April 2015, Samuel Irvine-Madine pleaded guilty at Belfast Magistrates’ Court to unlawfully holding himself out as being prepared to practise dentistry, contrary to section 38 (1) and (2) of the Dentists Act 1984. The offence took place on 7 November 2014 at HD Smile Clinic, 127 Shankill Road, Belfast, BT13 1FD. Mr Irvine-Madine, who has never been registered with the GDC in any capacity, also pleaded guilty to unlawfully using the title ‘dental therapist’, contrary to section 39 (2A) of the Dentists Act 1984.

Only dentists, dental hygienists, dental therapists and clinical dental technicians (working to the prescription of a dentist) are permitted to perform tooth whitening. It is, however, commonplace to see beauticians, spas and hairdressing salons offering this dental service.  Those who are interested in tooth whitening can, and should, check that whomever they are intending to attend for tooth whitening is appropriately registered by logging on to the GDC website.

 Mr Irvine-Madine was fined £500 (£250 for each charge) and ordered to pay costs to the GDC of £622. This prosecution marks the likely shape of things to come in Northern Ireland. 

For more information please contact Francesca Lowry from our Healthcare Team.