The Dentist Magazine.

Dental nurse removed from the register for dishonestly offering tooth whitening

Published: 24/02/2017

A dental nurse has been removed from the register for dishonestly offering tooth whitening treatment and using products up to three hundred times the legal limit, despite the terms of her registration not allowing her to do so.

Vivien Hassett, a registered dental nurse in Rochdale, appeared before a General Dental Council (GDC) Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on February 14, 2017, to respond to three tooth whitening related charges. Despite not attending or being represented at the hearing, the three charges against Ms Hassett were found proved.

The charges related to Ms Hassett’s actions between April and July 2015, during which she offered and advertised tooth whitening services on social media using materials that contained or released hydrogen peroxide in strengths greater than 0.1 per cent. Copies of advertising by Ms Hassett on Facebook via the page ‘Whitening Trays/ brighter smiles’ showed that she was advertising tooth whitening materials with a hydrogen peroxide strength of up to 35 per cent.

Furthermore, copies of the correspondence between Ms Hassett and the GDC during the investigation showed that she denied any connection to this page and the products it was promoting – a claim which later proved to be false. The PCC subsequently judged that Ms Hassett knew she was acting wrongly by offering these services to the public.

As a result of Ms Hasset’s dishonesty and the risk to patient safety, the PCC took the rare step of removing her from the register. Discussing their determination, the chair of the PCC, Geraldine Carroll, said, “Ms Hassett’s dishonesty and her having acted outside of her scope of practice raise a significant public interest issue. Furthermore, her willingness to offer tooth whitening materials in illegal strengths of hydrogen peroxide demonstrate that she poses a risk of harm to patients.” 

Following this decision Ms Hassett has 28 days to appeal. She has been immediately suspended from the register in the interest of patient safety and will be formally removed if no appeal is received in the four week period.