Dental nurse put patients at risk by carrying out teeth whitening

Dental nurse put patients at risk by carrying out tooth whitening 

 15 January 2016

For immediate release

A dental nurse from London has been removed from the General Dental Council’s (GDC) list of registered dental professionals for allegations of misconduct and dishonesty by providing tooth whitening and for falsely advertising her services.
Among the allegations Miss Samantha Simmons (Registration number:160091) faced was she carried out tooth whitening without the prescription (instruction) of a dentist or other appropriate registered dental professional, and advertised her services on social media.

This included taking an impression of the teeth, constructing mouthguards/bleaching trays and providing the tooth whitening agent (gel) when it was outside of her scope of practice as she did not have the necessary skills and training.

Some of the social media advertising included offering discounts. The Committee heard how by providing services which she was not qualified or registered to carry out, she made financial gain and her dishonesty brought the profession into disrepute.

As Miss Simmons did not attend the hearing, the Committee was unable to assess whether she appreciated the serious risk to patients of her actions and to ask her if she has since stopped performing teeth whitening.

The allegations were presented to the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) between 11 and 12 January 2016.

The Committee said: “Dental care professionals occupy a position of privilege and trust in society and must make sure that their conduct at all times justifies both their patients’ and the public’s trust in the profession.

“The Committee was of the view that undertaking tooth whitening treatment and offering materials that are of a strength above the legal strength for commercial purposes had the very real potential to put Miss Simmons’s patients at unwarranted risk of harm.” 

The Committee added: “By advertising, offering and providing treatment outside her scope of practice Miss Simmons did bring the profession into disrepute. By acting dishonestly, the Committee concluded that Miss Simmons did breach a fundamental tenet of the profession.”

On their decision to remove Ms Simmons from the register of dental professionals, the Committee said: “We had no information from Miss Simmons that she has taken any steps to remedy her conduct or that she has changed her practice of offering tooth whitening. Further, there appears to be no appreciation, {by Miss Simmons}, of the seriousness of acting outside her scope of practice and the risk to patients as a result of her actions as evidenced by her assertion that ‘everyone does it’. Additionally, her failure to maintain her knowledge as to what constitutes treatment outside her scope of practice gives rise to a real risk of repetition.”

Ms Simmons was suspended immediately but can appeal. Her name will be removed from the register if he does not appeal within 28 days which means she won’t be able to practise as a dental nurse in the UK.

Dental nurses can only carry out certain activities involved in whitening patients’ teeth, but only under the supervision of a dentist or other appropriate registered dental professional.

The GDC investigates matters when it is alleged that a dental professional's ability, behaviour or health may impair their fitness to practise.


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Notes to editors
Copies of the determination and charges are available from the press office.