BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) - Virgina based, Institute for Justice and two business owners announced a lawsuit challenging a provision made to the Alabama Dental Practice Act in 2011.
Currently, under Alabama law, anyone who performs a teeth whitening procedure who is not a licensed dentist could have up to one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine for each count.
The Institute for Justice, Joyce Osborn Wilson, Guntersville, Al and Keith Westphal of North Carolina, argue that the law is unconstitutional.
Joyce Osborn Wilson owns and operates a salon/spa in Jasper. Wilson is also the maker of Bright White, a whitening solution she used and sold before receiving a cease and desist letter from the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners in 2007.
Wilson says as a result of the injuction from the courts, she was forced to let go of several employees.
Keith Westphal, owner of Natural White LLC N.C., was looking to open an additional business in Huntsville. Westphal says, "it turned out Alabama's laws were just as restrictive as North Carolina's."
Susan Wilhem, Executive Director of the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners says the board of was created to regulate the practice of dentistry in the state of Alabama and after a through review of teeth whitening procedures, Wilhelm says it was decided that the services wall within the scope of the practice of dentistry, which is defined in detail, in §34-9-6 of the Alabama Dental Act.
Wilhelm adds that the regulations are for the health and safety of the public.
The whitening procedures performed in dentist offices and other businesses often involved high concentrations of whitening solutions, compared to typical over the counter whitening kits. The procedure also includes special lights to accelerate the bleaching process.
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