Court: N.J. Board of Dentistry to settle ‘whitening’ question

TRENTON – Just what constitutes the unauthorized practice of dentistry?

A state agency will have to decide.

An appellate court ruled this morning in a case brought by the N.J. Dental Association against an East Brunswick business, Beach Bum Tanning, that the state’s Board of Dentistry must decide whether the practice of “teeth-whitening’’ services constitutes the unauthorized practice of dentistry.

The N.J. Dental Association, which represents about 4,700 dentists, had appealed from an earlier decision dismissing its complaint alleging unfair competition.

The court today reversed that decision and handed the matter over to the state Board. If the state rules in favor of NJDA, then that association can pursue further claims in court.

The court stated that “NJDA attached to its complaint a copy of Beach Bum’s online listing, which advertised, ‘Teeth Whitening service now available. Don’t overpay at the dentist. One Hour service now available. Guaranteed 3-5 shades lighter.’”

According to the court, Beach Bum Tanning is a trademark owned by Salon Management USA, LLC, and the name has been licensed to independent salons in New Jersey and New York.

Also, the business pointed out it was not providing a service, “but rather was renting its customers an LED light in conjunction with the sale of a teeth whitening product, and that Salon modified its advertisements to delete the term ‘service’ shortly after filing its answer to the complaint on December 3, 2010.”

Court: N.J. Board of Dentistry to settle ‘whitening’ question