An Essex beautician is the latest to pay the price for illegal teeth whitening in a crackdown to protect the public and raise awareness of the need to always seek treatment from a dental professional.

Chelmsford beautician, Kirsty O'Connor of Kiroco's Cosmetics in Chelmsford, pleaded guilty to offering illegal teeth whitening and has been ordered to pay over £3,000 by Chelmsford Magistrates' Court.

After receiving a complaint in September 2017 from Chelmsford City Council Environmental Health, the General Dental Council (GDC) launched an investigation. Ms O'Connor had previously been sent two warning letters by the dental regulator in 2015 and 2016 when Kiroco's Cosmetics was based in Braintree. The further complaint in 2017 led the GDC to launch an investigation which produced evidence that Ms O'Connor offered to provide the illegal treatment on 19 December 2017.

Under the Dentists Act 1984, and following the High Court's ruling in GDC v Jamous, the legal position in relation to teeth whitening is very clear. The treatment can only be performed by a dentist or a dental therapist, dental hygienist or a clinical dental technician working to the prescription of a dentist.

Francesca Keen, Head of Illegal Practice at the General Dental council, said: 'Our primary purpose at the GDC is to protect the public from harm. Illegal tooth whitening represents a real risk as those who carry it out are neither qualified to assess a patient's suitability for the treatment nor are they able to intervene should an emergency arise. The GDC takes reports of the illegal practice of dentistry very seriously and, where appropriate, will prosecute in the criminal courts.'

The regulator says anyone considering teeth whitening should first check the register of dental professionals on its website to ensure the individual offering the treatment is qualified to do so.

If you suspect illegal tooth whitening is being offered, you can report it via the GDC's website –